Christmas Songs, Popular because…

Sinziana Stanciu, ‘20

As the holidays come around towards the end of the year, December music becomes crowded, once more, with the ‘classics’ of Christmas music. By any measure, when you start hearing Christmas music, you know it’s time to go out and get gifts because before you know it, Christmas itself actually rolls around. But what actually makes these songs that are primarily much older and out of sorts in comparison to the music that is most commonly listened to the rest of the year. A quick scan of the Billboard Hot 100 and you already notice Mariah Carey’s now hit song “All I Want for Christmas is You” is already at the number 7 spot and going up. But why do these holiday songs gain popularity, and maintain it for decades? In fact, every single Christmas song currently on the charts is rising, this is just one aspect of the larger question of what is truly behind Christmas songs.

Christmas as a holiday is supposedly religious in origin, yet the majority of the popular songs regarding it are barely ‘religious’. Moreover, these songs talk about the time of year in comparison to what it means. The effect that Christmas music has is contagious, as most people know the words simply from over-repetition of the lyrics and can sing the hallmark tunes with smiles on their faces without the need of anything else. But what is most intriguing is that these songs are part of a larger Christmas culture in our society regardless of religion, people identify with these songs.

But what makes a Christmas song so iconic, and what in a sense makes it sound Christmassy? Vox explores this question and realizes that a secret chord lies in various Christmas songs that gives us the feeling of Christmas, this does answer why they sound similar and give us the same feeling. Another question still remains: why is it so popular? I think that Christmas music has become a staple of December for multiple reasons. The first being that radio truly revolutionized how any form of music is transmitted. Record players were important, but when considering the modern day effect of Christmas music being played on the radio, it truly dictates what people listen to. Moreover, Christmas is a time of many fond memories as a child. Christmas songs are a mode in which people can look back at their childhood memories through music and experience those emotions by singing the very same songs. The music resurgence of Christmas music is a cycle that is experienced every year, but one thing we know for sure is, all we want for Christmas is to feel joy through music.