Whether the radio is blasting “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” or “Frosty the Snowman,” there is no denying that once the Christmas festivities are in full swing, holiday music is everywhere. Many radio channels, in fact, start playing Christmas music as soon as Nov. 1. The reason for this lies in the popularity of Christmas music. Go to any YouTube video for Christmas music, and there will be no shortage of comments on how someone is listening to these songs in July. However, not everyone has a high opinion of these holiday tunes, and some even argue that they are annoying and unnecessary. Nonetheless, there are solid reasons why Christmas music is just as wonderful and enchanting as people claim it to be.
Scientifically speaking, listening to Christmas music actually improves one’s mental health. People can often experience a phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is caused by the change in season, during the switch to a gloomier and colder environment. An option to combat this is listening to Christmas music, as hearing festive tunes results in the brain producing serotonin and dopamine, which are hormones that generate happiness in a person. Additionally, listening to Christmas music can also make someone less stressed, perhaps because of the higher serotonin levels and correlation to happy memories.
Because Christmas is customarily a time of happiness and yuletide cheer, listening to Christms music can actually trigger fond memories of past holidays. Christmas music is almost a constant background noise during the holidays, whether it is played while opening gifts, attending a Christmas party, going to the mall to buy gifts or even singing some songs amongst family and friends. As a result, people can hear certain Christmas songs and attribute a sentimental memory to them. As clinical psychologist Scott Bea describes, listening to the same Christmas songs as you did when you were younger and more enamored with the magic of the holiday can generate a feeling of joy.
Turning on some Christmas music to listen to is a great way to travel back in time and experience nostalgia. Popular Christmas songs can date all the way back to the 1930s, thus by listening to these songs, there is a connection to the people of the past. For many others, listening to these songs remind them of Christmases with older family members or friends. Specific songs from old Christmas specials, such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “Frosty the Snowman,” can elicit the same feeling of nostalgia, as people remember watching these specials with their loved ones.
One of the reasons why Christmas music is so beloved is because of the overall theme of world peace and unity for most holiday songs. In today’s divided society especially, listening to messages of hope and harmony can be therapeutic after a long and stressful year. Some Christmas songs were created just for a charity or good cause, like when Band Aid’s 1984 holiday song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” raised money for starving children in Africa.
While listening to the same songs every year may sound repetitive, Christmas music actually encompasses different genres of music and allows artists to put their own unique spin on the songs. The good thing about most holiday tunes is that they can be altered to better fit an artist’s style. As a result, Christmas songs can sound like a range of genres. For example, just this year, country singer Dolly Parton released her own Christmas album “A Holly Dolly Christmas.” Christmas music can also resemble the pop and jazz genre, as seen with popular pop artist Ariana Grande’s Christmas album “December” and renowned jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s album “Christmas With Ella & Louis.” By incorporating different styles, Christmas music never truly has the two of the same song and offers something for everyone’s personal tastes.
It is unreasonable to believe that everyone likes to listen to Christmas music. Some people may find certain songs annoying or associate them with an unhappy holiday memory. The good thing about music, however, is that it can be mostly tuned out. No one is forcing anyone to turn on the Christmas radio channel or listen to “Jingle Bells” on loop. Additionally, it is extremely unlikely that a singular person dislikes every Christmas song. In this era of easy access to personalized playlists, the best course of action would be to either create a custom holiday playlist with just the Christmas songs you enjoy, or find a Christmas album from your favorite artist.
There is no other holiday in the world that has the vast number of songs attributed to it than Christmas does. This is because Christmas is definitely one of the happiest times of the year, as people are given breaks off school and work, and the world appears a little brighter because of all the Christmas lights and decorations. Without Christmas music, however, the holiday would not be complete. These holiday tunes are a crucial part of many people’s celebrations and should never be taken for granted. So the next time you hear some holiday music, take a moment to relax and reflect, because as one of the most popular Christmas songs says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”