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Listen to CBC Music's Marvin's Room Christmas stream

Amanda Parris

Christmas is my favourite time of year. Hands down. I love every cheesy, ridiculous thing about it. From the red and green wool knit of hideous Christmas sweaters to the over-the-top light shows that adorn boring suburban streets. However, I live in a house filled with people who hate Christmas.

Each year I am forced to endure their lectures about the over-commercialization of the holiday while I put up the tree. I tune out their speeches about the complete waste of money that is gift-giving, while I wrap presents and hang the lights, ignoring their complaints about the exorbitant price of electricity. And yet, in the midst of all their protestations, every year, without fail, when I play Otis Redding's "White Christmas" or Boyz II Men's "Let It Snow," those same Scrooges are suddenly quiet. Their eyes are closed, their heads are nodding, their fingers are snapping and the only sound I hear is the hum to a melody that has touched their cold Grinch heart. Music has the incredible power of bringing people of different perspectives together and in this year of intense loss, tragedy and division, I feel the need for it even more than usual.

This Marvin's Room Christmas Stream is a collection of R&B and soul songs dedicated to the holidays. The great thing about R&B is that it can take the corniest moments in life -- from the sappy sweetness of first love, to the humiliation of heartbreak -- and somehow find a way to make all of it incredibly sophisticated and deeply soulful. This stream is a curated selection of music that somehow has the power — in the midst of the red, green and glitter — to make Christmas undeniably cool.

With a hint of funk and a heavy dose of soul, a sprinkling of the blues and a dash of hip-hop, this stream is a healthy mix of Christmas classics alongside remixed carols. From Motown to Mariah and James Brown to Justin Bieber, the Marvin's Room Christmas stream is my holiday gift to you.