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Playlist: 10 songs to set the mood for the holiday season

Courtesy of Island Records
Courtesy of Island Records

It's that time of year: The weather is cooling down, baking goods are going on sale in supermarkets, students are preparing to go home for Thanksgiving and all the retail stores are preparing their Black Friday ads and displays. The State Press has put together the perfect playlist to help you get into the holiday spirit and appreciate your upcoming family time and this beautiful weather.

1. "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes

"Home" is the musical equivalent of a slice of pumpkin pie. It leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy and it reminds you of what's important. "Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my ma and pa, but not the way I do love you / Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake and Jesus Christ / Ain't nothin' please me more than you / Home, let me come home / Home is wherever I'm with you." Look at that — the song even mentions pumpkin pie. If you can't be home this Thanksgiving, spend it with someone you love because, like the song says, home is wherever the loved ones are. Plus, I dare you to listen to this song and not smile. Seriously.

2. "Thanksgiving Theme" by Vince Guaraldi (from "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving")

This song is a classic and very Charlie Brown-esque. Turn it on while you're cooking up your turkey, tofurky, stuffing and whatever else you might eat on Thanksgiving. It's sure to add that special holiday feel to your home.

3. "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel is always a nice throwback artist to throw into any mix. In "Homeward Bound," the artists long for their home, so it'll be a contrast to "Home." The chorus goes, "Homeward bound / I wish I was homeward bound / Home, where my thought's escaping / Home, where my music's playing." It reminds everyone, once again, of the importance of family and loved ones during the holiday season.

4. "With a Little Help From my Friends" by Joe Cocker

Speaking of the importance of loved ones, nobody sings about the greatness of friends quite like Joe Cocker in "With a Little Help From my Friends." This track isn't particularly seasonal, but it's a fun little ditty to throw into the mix.

5. "Zombie" by The Cranberries Hello, the band is called The Cranberries. The song has absolutely nothing to do with anything fall or holiday related, but come on — the band is called The Cranberries! Don't you love cranberry sauce with your turkey? That can't just be me. Also, this song is a winner at any time of the year.

6. "Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg

I don't know about you, but when the weather starts to turn like it is these days, I enjoy finding warmth indoors inside of coffee shops. Not a lot beats the serenity of getting lost in your favorite warm beverage while reading a new novel, surfing the internet or even just sitting there, enjoying your thoughts and taking a brief break from the chaos of life. You might not find the love of your life at a coffee shop this season, but you'll find something to fall in love with.

7. "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" by Billie Holiday

Just like the last track, this is a great one to listen to as the temperatures outside continue to drop. Already have a special someone? Play this song and dance together. Or, hey, listen to Landon Pigg's song and go to a coffee shop. Try a new drink together and keep each other warm.

8. "Winter Winds" by Mumford and Sons

I promise that this is the last track about the cold weather. Why is this song special enough for the playlist? I don't know. All I know is the title fits and the band is awesome. What else do you really need for a good playlist?

9. "Black Hole Sun" by The Section Quartet

OK, this song has even less to do with anything fall or holiday related than "Zombie," but there is a method to the madness. After Thanksgiving, the masses get up earlier than they would any other day and go spend a bunch of money at Black Friday sales. So, Black Friday? "Black Hole Sun." See what I did there? This version by The Section Quartet is also particularly great for this playlist because it's purely instrumental. You can add it to your Thanksgiving dinner playlist, and there aren't any lyrics to distract from the dinner conversation. It's also a fresh change from traditional classical music.

10. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" by Johnny Mathis

Finally, the playlist finds a Christmas song. You had to know it was coming. As soon as Thanksgiving hits, the radios start playing holiday tunes left and right, so this song was the perfect addition to round out this playlist. Plus, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn't it? The stores are putting up decorations. Starbucks started putting their hot drinks in red cups. It's not 100 degrees outside anymore. If that doesn't scream holiday time, I don't know what does!

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