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Eve Speciall – the stylish music director, DJ and model-based between Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Sydney – knows a thing or two about good music. So when it came to planning the Christmas playlist for our festive at-home soirees this year, we enlisted Eve to make sure we nail it. Here she shares her top tips and music picks for creating the perfect soundtrack to your holiday party.


Eve’s Top Tips


1. Decide what kind of vibe you want for your party

‘Are you trying to create a chill, relaxing cocktail party atmosphere where people can talk? Add some Sharon Jones, or nu-funk such as Tuxedo, or that one Buena Vista Social Club album. These are all sounds that tend to inspire movement and positive feelings, but keeping the tunes at a low volume provides a good backdrop in case the conversation stalls. Are you trying to nudge your gathering into a full-on dance party? Work your way up to throwback dancefloor fillers and Top 40 hits while you crank up the sound. I suggest sprinkling in Christmas tunes throughout that match the vibe of your playlist. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas will go down like a lead balloon if the dancefloor is pumping, so save it for when guests are leaving.’


2. Consider your guest list

‘The goal is to play music that everyone will enjoy. If you have guests of all ages, mix some oldies in with the current stuff. Classics play well for older crowds and kids alike. Remixes of older songs can be a great way to bridge the musical gap between different age groups. Remember, your playlist shouldn't be an education in "good music" for your guests. They want to enjoy themselves, so try and stay objective and diverse with your picks.’


3. Pick a general tone (but make it happy)

‘You want the playlist to follow the flow of the party. You don’t want all the good dance music playing while everyone is sitting down to dinner, so plan how you want the night to go, and arrange accordingly. Keeping with the mood of the season general themes of love and happiness always work. It also helps to have a few playlists at your fingertips just in case you look around and nobody is feeling it.’


4. Have a multi-room, wireless sound set-up

‘It’s really nice to have multi-room technology – it means the party doesn’t stop even when guests use your bathroom and it maintains a vibe through the whole house. Pick some wireless speakers that come in different sizes, and set up the larger speakers in bigger rooms and the smaller speakers throughout smaller rooms and hallways. The speakers should run with Apple Airplay and connect to you your phone through Wi-Fi. This means you don’t have to plug in your phone and can leave it for the night, but it can still be on hand so you can snap holiday selfies with your guests. Just have your playlist ready to go on Spotify or iTunes and you’re all set!’


5. Keep upbeat, crowd-pleasing tunes coming

‘The secret to keeping people dancing is to follow up a crowd-pleaser with something equally upbeat, think Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Queen, Madonna and the Spice Girls. They may or may not be your favourite artists, but it’ll feel good to see everyone having a great time. And yes, you can play All I Want For Christmas Is You.’


6. Don’t spend the whole night fussing over the music

‘If you’re prepared and pre-plan the playlist, you can be free to enjoy the night and mix and mingle with your guests. If you’re having fun, chances are your guests are too.’

Eve Speciall shares her top tips and music picks for creating the perfect holiday party soundtrack.

Eve’s Top Song Recommendations


Best songs to set the mood as guests are arriving…

‘In keeping with the theme of friends and family coming together, I love the warm down-tempo disco feels of Neil Frances’s cover of Music Sounds Better with You. I’m also very partial to Christmas songs, so I’d go with Jingle Bell Rock or Brian McKnight’s version of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – both are upbeat and festive, and set the mood to have a great night ahead.’


Best Christmas songs…

‘Best pop tune hands down has to be Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. My pick for best Christmas classic is Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. And my personal favourite: Santa Baby by Salt-N-Pepa, Onix, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Keith Murray & Mase cause there’s nothing like some gangster rap for the festive season.’


Best song to get everyone dancing…

‘Getting guests at your function to put down their forks and start dancing is actually easy as pie (or in this case, Christmas pudding). Your failsafe, guaranteed dancefloor starter is almost always going to be Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody…  a bona fide, feel-good, stand-the-test-of-time classic.’


Eve’s Top Playlist Recommendations


For a Christmas Cocktail Party… Nu Disco, Funk & Christmas Playlist

For a Christmas Dinner Party… Cool Low-key Jazz Playlist

For a Christmas Dance Party… Upbeat Party Music & Christmas Hits Playlist

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