One of the most important — and often most neglected — part of home owning (or renting) is entertaining those who step across your threshold. And along with entertaining comes a soundtrack. Whether it’s pouring a cup of tea for a friend or throwing a catered soiree, music literally plays an integral part in the overall milieu of your abode. You wouldn’t want Leonard Cohen warbling in the background while you host your 8-year-old nephew’s birthday party; nor would you want to expose your great aunt Sadie to "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails while catching up over coffee. A good host or hostess also must be a considerate DJ, that is unless silence is required. 


Holiday parties are no different. While in your home, guests will want to feel merry, comfortable and nostalgic but may decamp en masse if you put Trans-Siberian Orchestra on a loop. And no, the Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas album is not acceptable unless you want spiked cider-fueled mutiny on your hands.


Below are six holiday albums sure to keep houseguests filled with the holiday spirit. And if you decide to rock the iPod and are in need of a dock, check out the Vers2 line of handcrafted iPod sound systems. The speakers provide sound sure to please any audiophile while the system itself is made from sustainably harvested wood and is less toxic and more energy-efficient than standard iPod sound systems.


"A John Waters Christmas"

Although Baltimore’s one and only John Waters is primarily known for his censor-aggravating films from the '60s and '70s, the “Prince of Puke” makes a darn fun Christmas compilation, too.






"Christmas with the Beach Boys"

Not the most likely musical group to evoke a winter wonderland, but the B' Boys still work their SoCal-inspired magic. Sure to please even the most bah humbug-afflicted houseguests.






"Ultra Lounge: Christmas Cocktails Part One"

The ideal soundtrack for a swanky, sexy, martini-heavy holiday fete. Includes Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Billy May and many more classic crooners.







"Erran Baron Cohen Presents: Songs in the Key of Hanukkah"

The brother of Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Borat) composed this infectious collection of Hanukkah songs both traditional and original using an eclectic mix of musical styles.






"Maybe This Christmas"

A fitting musical accompaniment for a mellow Gen X gift swap. The roster of artists includes adult alternative mainstays like Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Ben Folds and Vanessa Carlton.






"Wham! Last Christmas"

This Christmas ditty by George Michael and Andrew Ridgley is one of the best holiday pop songs of the 1980s. Don’t even think about throwing a party without it. And if a guest protests, send 'em packing.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.