Doesn’t it seem like time speeds up as we get closer to the holidays? Skidding and sliding through a winter wonderland, as it were. While it’s usually a busy, joyful time for most—packing up boxes to ship or to pile under the tree, or even packing up ourselves to land dutifully on our childhood doorstep—who couldn’t use a breather from the high pitch of expectation this time of year?

Take a beat and press play on this Spire on Spotify playlist from Senior Designer Tyler Fonville called Vol. 51: Kringle Jingles. Handcrafted to slow us down and keep us company, these songs celebrate the mellow, understated beauty and even—dare we say—the melancholy of the holidays.

Tyler, what is the name of your album?

The name of this album is Kringle Jingles, a playlist that showcases an alternative, more grounded side to the holiday season with indie artists and delicate, smooth melodies.

How would you describe this mix?

A mix of trending indie artists with soft strumming chords and delicate vocals builds the fire for this playlist! Across the board, the time signatures are roughly similar, as well as the tonality of the playlist, which is ideal for having something on in the background that doesn’t sound too repetitive. It’s over three hours of mellow Christmas dinner music or setting a holiday mood in your headphones while you finish up work on a Friday afternoon.

You’ll recognize several titles of the old classics, covered by artists who have mixed in their own sweetness, like Mindy Gledhill’s “Patapan/O Come, O Come Emmanuel” or the achy cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” by The O’Pears. The lilting lullaby “Edelweiss” is a loyal tribute by Aaron Espe. If the haunting rendition of “I Heard the Bells” by Beta Radio doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, I don’t know what will.

What was the inspiration behind it?

I wanted a holiday playlist that wasn’t the same 50 songs we listen to every year. And I wanted something that wasn’t pop or sourced from the 1940s. That research led me towards mostly indie artists! Of course, I loved this because I’m a millennial, so I dove right in to decorate this Spotify tree of a playlist.

What is your favorite song, and why?

“Christmas in Dallas” is my favorite song because of how I found it. I dig the sound, too, don’t get me wrong—it’s a little lonely, a little cheeky. I love the pitched twang mixed with the Tex-Mex vibe. It just brings up some of my childhood memories visiting family in Texas.

If your playlist was a brand, what would it be and why?

If my playlist were a brand, it’d probably be closely related to “Brimfield,” one of the oldest antique flea markets in the country! You know when you walk into an antique store, or when you’re walking the aisles at an outdoor flea market and everything sort of smells dusty, and it’s crowded with wooden things and random pieces of jewelry? That’s pretty much the vibe of this playlist! Without the dusty smell, of course…

Any specific memory that comes to mind when you listen?

What comes to mind are the annual trips to Texas my family would take during my childhood. Usually, everyone got up super early to get on the road; it was always dark, cold, and rainy, and since we were headed there from Arkansas, it felt like we drove through an endless number of trees! It wasn’t until we crossed the Texas border that we could finally see the horizon at the end of our trip.

What makes your playlist unique?

I think what makes it unique is that it’s not the usual cheery, peppy, fluffy kind of music that’s overplayed this time of year. I also included some songs from local Texans! So, that’s cool. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the ride—the sleigh ride, that is!

Who’s ready to make merry with some off-the-beaten-path holiday tunes? Thanks to your playlist, Tyler, we’re ready to kringle and jingle through the holiday season. Stay tuned to the Spire Blog and Spotify Channel for the release of our next playlist.

Tyler Fonville is a Senior Designer at Spire, named the 2023 Agency of the Year by the D/FW chapter of the American Marketing Association.