From familiar carols to those shining tree-top stars, gold and silver -- or "silver and gold" for you Rudolph fans -- are woven into the Western holiday tradition like tinsel through the boughs.

As precious metals continue to herald their historic return -- from the supposed junkyard of "barbarous relics," to the forefront of the currency world -- this particular holiday season affords an opportune moment to highlight top-quality investment vehicles within a persistently promising sector. We can help you keep tabs on your favorite stocks with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock tracking service. Get started with my Top 10 gold and silver stocks for the new year.

My Foolish Top 10
The equity universe of producers, developers, and explorers of gold and silver deposits comprises a vast and rugged terrain of vehicles for investors to choose from. As gold and silver have multiplied in price, so too have the majority of related mining stocks.

I still perceive substantial upside in store for both metals and in the spirit of the holidays I wish to offer my top ten list of stocks that I consider most likely to outperform their peers during the remaining stages of this gold and silver bull market.

10. Taseko Mines (AMEX: TGB)
After losing its bid to gain regulatory approval for the Prosperity copper and gold project, Taseko is essentially a pure-play on copper at the moment (it could be worse!). I can't shake the feeling, however, that Taseko will be given a second chance at prosperity.

Add Taseko Mines to My Watchlist.

9. Rubicon Minerals (AMEX: RBY)
This is the sole pre-production company to make my list, and with good reason. Rubicon lays claim to the most exciting discoveries of bonanza-grade gold deposits that this Fool has observed in the industry, and the project's prime location in Ontario near existing major gold mines makes this one stand out as a particularly low-risk play.

Add Rubicon Minerals to My Watchlist.

8. Great Panther Silver
If this stock traded on a major U.S. exchange, it would have placed substantially higher on this list. Because unsponsored pink-sheet offerings carry an unquantifiable element of risk, I have adjusted the standings accordingly. Targeting a 72% growth spurt from 2.2 million silver equivalent ounces (SEOs) in 2009, to 3.8 million ounces by 2012, Great Panther is among my very favorite growth stories in the silver space!

Add Great Panther Silver to My Watchlist.

7. Primero Mining
Primero's position on my list has likewise been affected by its absence on a U.S. stock exchange; though CEO Joe Conway informed me his company may reconsider a U.S. listing. Primero acquired the San Dimas mine for a song. After hitting a short-term operational snag, I believe the stock has been excessively discounted.

Add Primero Mining to My Watchlist.

6. Alexco Resource
After completing the coveted transition from developer to producer, silver miner Alexco Resource's stock has truly been on a tear lately. With ongoing exploration continuing to return bonanza-grade silver concentrations, including 54.8 ounces per ton recently assayed over a 1.12-meter interval from the Lucky Queen property at Keno Hill, Alexco is generating shareholder value at a consistent clip.

Add Alexco Resource to My Watchlist.

5. Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE)
In a sector this scorching hot, I enjoy turning my focus to stocks that investors have loved to hate. Following a brush with outright failure that prompted a 1-for-10 reverse stock split last year, I believe Coeur d'Alene Mines offers one of the more pronounced turnaround opportunities in the space.

Add Coeur d'Alene Mines to My Watchlist.

4. Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY)
I believe I have touted Yamana Gold's clear prowess as a deep-value favorite from every possible angle. With arguably the lowest downside risk of any stock in the sector, I join fellow value hounds in waiting patiently for the market to recognize the full value of these shares.

Add Yamana Gold to My Watchlist.

3. Brigus Gold (AMEX: BRD)
Seeming to glide beneath the radar of the investment community, I encourage Fools not to overlook the growth potential of Brigus Gold. Paralyzing gold hedges have been exterminated, the Black Fox mine is yielding improved production, and the company expects to add a second producing gold mine by 2013. Precious metal hedge fund Sprott Asset Management added a new position in Brigus during the third quarter of 2010, and I consider the company an attractive acquisition target as well as a prospective growth engine in its own right.

Add Brigus Gold to My Watchlist.

2. Northgate Minerals (AMEX: NXG)
I'm not the only Fool who perceives compelling value in the shares of this 90-year-old gold company. My colleague Andrew Sullivan made Northgate his inaugural selection within the Fool's Rising Star Portfolio Series. With anticipated production from Young-Davidson beginning in early 2012, and consistent exploration success at multiple properties, I consider this recently stagnant stock among the clearest rising stars in the gold patch.

Add Northgate Minerals to My Watchlist.

1. Gammon Gold (NYSE: GRS)
It's always difficult to pare a long list of potential highfliers down to a single favorite stock, but when I asked myself which of my own gold and silver holdings I'd be buying more of at this juncture, Gammon Gold came out right on top. While an array of smaller-cap alternatives could well outperform these shares, I consider Gammon the ideal combination of existing market heft, incredible growth potential, and a decidedly undervalued share price. I recently identified three specific developments that could jump-start these shares over the coming months, and over the long term I expect Gammon shares to appreciate handsomely.

Add Gammon Gold to My Watchlist.

Now that you know my top ten favorite gold and silver stocks, it's time for you to cast your vote. From among my top four picks above, please select your personal favorite. If your favorite pick didn't make my list, please make your case for the stock in the comments section below (and within your CAPS portfolio).

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.