Hot for Christmas: why are there so many sexy seasonal songs?

The hottest holiday songs for the longest, coldest night, including gems from Johnny Reid and Katie Kadan, Steel Panther, Luther Vandross and more.

The hottest holiday songs for the longest, coldest night, including gems from Steel Panther, Luther Vandross

Sexy Christmas music is a much beloved sub-genre of the season. Trim your tree with 14 of the best. (Getty Images)

Let us soundtrack your holidays with 13 playlists, including Classical Holidays, Seasonal Favourites, Pop Christmas, Marvin's Room Christmas and more. Access them all via CBC Listen's Holiday Playlists.

Trim your tree, ring those bells, and deck that hall! 'Tis the season to get down.

Maybe it's all the mistletoe, or the overwhelming emotional highs and lows, or the sugar rush from test-baking a bunch of gingerbread men. Whatever the reason, sexy Christmas music is a staple of the season; seductive Santa jams, naughty-makes-nice duets and illicit, ice-melting melodies are everywhere.

In 2021, we said that only a few songs truly rise above the risqué and deliver the goods. Well, we found a few more, and this year we're updating our list of naughty-can-be-nice songs. From chimney play to festive flings, these are some of the hottest holiday songs to get you through the longest, coldest nights.

'My Kind of Christmas,' Johnny Reid feat. Katie Kadan

Reid's 2019 smoking-hot holiday original was one of the inspirations for this list last year (scroll down to check it out). Now he stokes the flames into a three-alarm blaze thanks to the addition of acclaimed vocalist Katie Kadan. As a solo number, the song smouldered and sizzled. But as a duet? Reid and Kadan are an inferno. Maybe by the song's next iteration, they'll be looking for a third. 

'Two Queens in a King Size Bed,' girl in red

Sleigh bells and sweet entreaties between two women to stay tucked under the covers together? Yes, please! "Two Queens in a King Size Bed" represents this all-too-rare Christmas song perspective of lesbians who are so into each other "the closer the better it gets." Even the slightly sinister undercurrent of the song, exemplified in the lyric "let me wrap you in with my skin," is wholly relatable in the heady throes of lust-fuelled devotion.

'Mistletoe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody),' Luther Vandross

Before the song even properly starts, a woman turns down Vandross's invitation to meet under the mistletoe with this classic line: "The last time I got under there with you, I had twins." And so the stage is set for a classic '90s R&B free-for-all with thrusting synths, a deeply resonant bass line, and shimmering percussion. Vandross's delivery — liquid and loose but still soulful and sly — perfectly suits his role here as the King of Christmas Kisses (you know, the ones that get a woman pregnant) and Master of Ceremonies of the Mistletoe Jam. 

'The Stocking Song,' Steel Panther

It's no surprise that the comedy-musical glam metal group Steel Panther has a firm grasp of Christmas double entendres. In fact, euphemisms would almost be welcome in "The Stocking Song" because of how wildly vulgar (and funny) it is. In fact, the track is almost too perfect in its satirization of '80s-era misogynistic hair-metal lyrics, so that anybody listening casually might not get the joke on first listen. But you'll never, ever forget where you were the first time you heard this incredible line: "Candy canes were meant for sucking, so don't you think about trying to chew." Sexy stuff, indeed. 

'After the Holidays,' Suzie Ungerleider with Michael Johnston

Ungerleider's flirty-and-frisky vocal performance pairs perfectly with Johnston's confident peacocking across the piano keys. She knows what she wants, and she also knows there's a seasonal shelf-life on this particular hookup. But who cares? That's a problem for "after the holidays." Right now there's enough heat in this song to melt all the candy canes off the Christmas tree. 

'Mistletoe,' Ginuwine

That old saying about how it's better to give than to receive? Not this time. Lay back and let Ginuwine get to work. His classic R&B slow jam leaves nothing to the imagination, and honestly, what a relief. He's over-promising, but even if he comes through on half of what he's offering with that strategic placement of mistletoe, this will have you a-wassailing all night long.

'My Kind of Christmas,' Johnny Reid

This blues-rock original smoulders with intensity but it's also playful and Reid nails the balance perfectly. Even lyrics that should read like a cheesy greeting card between lovers  — "This is my kind of Christmas, a party for two/ you wrapped up in me and me wrapped up in you" — light a fire when Reid's the one singing them.

'I'll be Your Santa Baby,' Rufus Thomas

This explosive funk number offers up the requisite chimney play but the slinky bass and wild brass flares create an evocative, almost ecstatic, sonic landscape for Thomas's sexy Santa cosplay. 

'Holiday,' Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X brings a little X-rated fun to his subversive "Holiday," a middle-finger of a song to his haters and a glorious celebration of himself and his triumphs at the end of a huge year. The lyrics are an endless delight of double entendres and the steady thrust of the beat will be the envy of every drummer boy.

Editor's note: strong language warning.

'Big Bulbs,' Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings 

Size doesn't matter … except when it does, as illuminated by the late Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' cheeky, teasing tune about "getting down tonight." 

'Cuddle up, Cozy Down Christmas,' Dolly Parton feat. Michael Bublé

Dolly Parton offers up a brilliant and contemporary instant classic that demonstrates just how sexy enthusiastic consent can be. The duet is on the sweeter side of seductive, even as they're harmonizing their explicit wishlist of snowbound activities — "makin' love, hug and touch and steal some kisses, too" — but Parton and Bublé bring a nice heat to this flirtatious affair.

'Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby,' Amos Milburn

Try to resist this classic slow jam. It's impossible. And who would want to? The warmth radiating from Milburn's vocals is the perfect temperature, an invitation to burrow under the covers with the man himself and not surface until well after the snow has melted.

'Dear Santa (Bring me a Man This Christmas),' the Weather Girls

The Weather Girls were often treated as a novelty act in their heyday, but what's the joke? Sexy, fat, Black women making divine disco music about their desire for intimacy and companionship? This song is hot, urgent and lush, a shimmering tower of soulful vocal climaxes with a beat that bangs into the New Year.

'This Christmas,' Donny Hathaway

The lyrics aren't that subversive or overt, but from the opening line we know what's up. "Hang all the mistletoe, I'm going to get to know you better," Hathaway sings, setting the stage for the sexiest kind of Christmas song: a desire for physical and emotional intimacy. Hathaway's vocal performance is so confident and warm that when he soars alongside the brass over the chorus, promising "caroling through the night," it's the kind of innocent metaphor that's easily imagined to mean something a little bit more.