'Tis the season… to spend each and every day listening to all of Ariana Grande's Christmas songs on repeat. Yep, it's post-Thanksgiving, which means that if you haven't already broken out your holiday music, well, you're behind. And while I know that technically Mariah Carey is the Queen of Christmas and she'll never be beat, I can't help but think that it's about time someone crowns Ari as the princess.
At this time of year, there are a lot of listening options. And a lot of them are really, really good! As discussed, there's Queen Mariah's contributions. "All I Want For Christmas" is iconic, so much so that Fifth Harmony even recorded their own cover of the track back in 2014. And, okay, I pretty much melt all over again each time I hear Justin Bieber's original song, "Mistletoe," no matter how I feel about the Biebs now. Not to mention the fact that Sia just came out with a whole holiday album packed with 10 festive tunes. But nothing can compare to Ari's instant holiday classics (yeah, yeah, Mariah blah blah blah. I said it once, I'm not going to repeat myself every time. Just go with it).
When Ari dropped "Santa Tell Me" in 2014, it changed our whole holiday music game. She'd done Christmas covers before — I'm particularly obsessed with her version of "Santa Baby" with Liz Gillies, and even a few other originals for her 2013 EP, Christmas Kisses. But when "Santa Tell Me" dropped, it made quite a splash. And then came the music video, with Ari and all her friends rolling around in PJs and festive sweaters, feeding each other popcorn and dancing with presents in front of a beautiful tree. It was legendary, and if you told us in that moment that I could only listen to one Christmas song for the rest of my life, I probably would've picked that one.
But then Ariana Grande gave us Christmas & Chill.
It was a new EP, this one with six new songs from Ari. Not covers, but all unique to Ari herself. I was in holiday heaven, blasting "Wit It This Christmas" and "True Love." But one of my favorites of all time has to be "Winter Things." It's not like other Christmas music, and that's because of the singer's Florida and Los Angeles ties. The former Nickelodeon star was born and raised in Florida, and she moved out to the West Coast when she started working on Victorious. For pretty much her whole life, her Decembers have been unseasonably warm and suspiciously absent of any snow. And I can relate, because I grew up in Los Angeles and I've lived here most of my life. "Winter Things" is all about dreaming about that snowy Christmas and cuddling up by the fireplace because, well, sometimes it's just too hot for it to be anything but a dream.
"Ain't no ice or no chills, no snowmen to build, most of our friends at the beach," Ari sings — and yeah, I've been to the beach in December. I've laid outside in a bikini in December. Growing up, I never had those Christmas movie style holidays. Sure, you can go ice skating and drink peppermint hot cocoa regardless of the weather — there will always be ice rinks and air conditioning. But it's just not the same as a real, snowy "ice cold holiday."
I'll always love Maria's, JB's, and Kelly Clarkson's Christmas music, and I'll always look up new holiday originals. But for me, nothing has topped Ari's tracks, and I'm pretty sure nothing ever will. Heck, I'd listen to these songs in actual July, not just feels-like-July winter weather. For me, it's not Christmas without the music. And it's just not a holiday playlist if it doesn't have some Ari. So you can keep your "Drummer Boy" ft. Busta Rhymes (no matter how sick that collab is). I'll just be over hear blasting "Santa Tell Me" and "Winter Things" over and over until January. And, even then, I just might keep listening until it's December once again.
Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Ari has maybe the most generous heart in Hollywood. So there's that, too. Merry Christmas!