The first snow of the winter has already blanketed the front steps and roofs of Binghamton homes and Binghamton University buildings, and the bitterly cold wind is beginning to force people inside. The winter ahead will be long and bone-chilling, as most upstate winters are, but that does not by any means mean it should not be fun. The glistening snow, holiday lights and most importantly, festive songs, bring warmth and beauty to the upcoming season. While we may miss the warmth of summer, this is the perfect time to listen to some comforting tunes to help battle the cold and make the long nights inside feel a bit more cozy and warm. Here are a few essentials to get you started on all of your playlist-making endeavors.

“White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes

This classic winter song has to begin the playlist, starting it off with an upbeat tune and distant voices melding into one. This song feels like a long road trip with snow covering the trees and the grass, or the warmth of a fire and a cozy blanket. The strong beat and quick tempo bring jollity to the cool themes of winter, bringing warmth to an otherwise cold and lethargic season.

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel’s songs have quite the unique quality of remaining relevant no matter how much time passes, capturing the most specific emotions. This short and sweet song is perfect for those of us who enjoy some chill to the air and a little snow, but prefer to think of the warm seasons to come. Its melancholic tone and slow yet bright melody remind the listener of the hope and positivity that comes with the changing seasons.

“After Hours” by The Velvet Underground

Another short and sweet ditty, “After Hours” brings a bit of warmth to the bitter winter. Its acoustic jingling and mentions of joyful nights filled with toasts, dancing and close friends remind the listener of holiday parties and casual nights indoors with friends.

“Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones

Norah Jones’ smooth voice and slight rasp immediately warm anyone right up. This song sounds like a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate next to a fire. Its lyrics speak of remembering loved ones and the rich tones of the song create a comforting ambiance that is perfect for a wintery night.

“’tis the damn season” by Taylor Swift

This contemporary holiday tune is necessary for any winter playlist. Swift’s “’tis the damn season” plays with all kinds of themes about returning home for the holidays and remembering all of the aspects of life that are specific just to the months of December and January. This song is perfect for any road trip home for winter break.

“This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies

Another classic, this song is a perfect upbeat tune to play at midnight on New Years’ or simply to listen to as you reflect on the past year and think of all of the great memories you’ll make in the years to come. The jazzy piano and upbeat drumming would make anyone want to dance and sing along, and the lyrics bring a sense of hope and joy to the coldest season.

“Snowbank Blues” by The Backseat Lovers

Leaning more on the side of indie rock with a continued twinge of melancholic acoustic, this song is perfect for any winter playlist. It is upbeat with a somewhat calming and warm tone, and has lyrics that bring lovely wintery images to mind.

“Certainty” by Big Thief

This folky indie ditty is the perfect winter song with its strong beat and soft tune. It talks about the simple things in life that bring people together, like passing the time watching a show or taking a trip and falling asleep in an airplane. This song is calming and warm — perfect for long winter nights.

“Baby Where You Are” by Mountain Man

Another indie folk tune, this song talks about wishing you were with your loved ones. The bittersweet tune and warm harmonies bring the listener into a whole different world and provide a space to take life a little more slowly, taking everything in. It is calming and warm, reminding anyone of a night inside — watching the snow fall outside with a blanket, beside a fire bringing warmth into your home.