Christmas Mixes To Combat Decision Fatigue


Originally, all Xmas music came from this elephant. Central Press/Getty

This post has been updated for 2013!

What holiday coffee should I order? What gifts should I buy? What holiday treats should I bake? All those little choices add up, depleting your ego and leaving you incapable of tackling bigger problems in your life. It's called Decision fatigue and it sucks you dry.

So just as I advised you on Halloween mixes to combat decision fatigue, I thought I'd dish out some Christmas choices as well.

Because, look, you can build your own Christmas playlist for office parties and tree trimmings, but you'll spend so much brain juice making it and -- spoiler -- the results are bound to disappoint. Leave it to a professional, honest-to-god DJ instead.

But not "DJ Instead." That guy's rubbish.

Here's what I recommend...

Dr. Rubberfunk's Funky Christmas Vol.4

First up, the good Dr. Rubberfunk is back with a fourth volume of funky Christmas tunes. You'll hear the likes of "Xmas Done Got Funky" By Jimmy Jules & The Nuclear Soul System, "Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects" By Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and several holiday tunes from Rubberfunk's own co-produced Olympic Cyclone Band. You can listen to Funky Christmas Vol.4 on Mixcloud, along with volumes 1-3. But to give you a taste of what to expect, here's a sampler of the Olympic Cyclone Band's holiday album:

DJ Irk's Christmas Attack Zone

If you're something of a Christmas cynic and/or want a little more groove and comedy in your holiday mix, then enter DJ Irk's Christmas Attack Zone. As per usual, the two-time Solid Steel Mix of the Year Award winner drops a solid hour of hip-hop and funk, spliced with comedic scratch skits. So this mix delivers holiday samples from "30 Rock," "Christmas Vacation," "Monty Python," "Trailer Park Boys," "Bad Santa" and "The Thick of It" among others. And as far as the tracks are concerned, you'll hear everything from Method Man and Blackalicious to Jimmy Radcliffe and Al Green.

You can stream or download the mix over at Irk's Soundcloud Page, but it should publish this Friday as well over at Solid Steel (with track list). There's a tad too much profanity in it for me to embed it here, but here's a taste from the mix: Irk's Jurassic 5-infused take on Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting's classic (and sexually ominous) "Baby Its Cold Outside."

The Paris DJs Option

If you like a little globe-trotting variety in your mixes, then the Paris DJs podcast really should be your jam. Their 2012 mixes alone delivered jazz, funk, blues, afrobreat, soul, Bollywood, Latin, Eastern Bloc funk, hippie folk and Thai. They also deliver a little holiday cheer, as you see from these 13 Xmas mixes, all available for direct download. For instance, how about "Captain Detendu & Djouls - Are Molesting Santa?" For 2013, they put out two mixes from Jan Kohlmeyer in promotion for "Santa's Funk & Soul Christmas Party." Let's have a listen to some of those tracks:

The Coldcut Option

Ah, but what if your tastes in holiday music tend more toward the classics? Well you're in luck, because legendary UK DJ duo Coldcut released a new Christmas mix this year, loaded down with the likes of Johnny Cash's "Little Drummer Boy" and "Christmas Island" by The Dinning Sisters. Plus, they throw in a few less-known tunes like Brenda Lee's "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus." It's fun, chill stuff for the entire family:

The SomaFM Option

Commercial-free Internet radio station SomaFM offers not one but three separate holiday channels this year: Christmas Rocks (indie/alternative), Christmas Lounge (chill/groovy) and Xmas in Frisko (weird/wacky). You're kind of playing Russian roulette with potentially annoying holiday music on Rocks and Frisko, but the lounge channel is pretty solid. Plus, in addition to their awesome paid Android/iOS app, SomaFM also offers a scaled-down free version just for streaming holiday music.

The Hearts of Space Option

Finally, if you want a more ethereal, choral choice in your holiday listening, Hearts of Space offers all their holiday specials for streaming. It's paid content, but you have several pricing options to choose from (including a $3 three-day pass) -- and the music is ambient and angelic, just as you'd expect. Read more about it at the HOS blog. Current episodes (streaming for free on Sunday) are also holiday-themed.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.