For as long as I can remember, the Christmas season began the moment the clock struck 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday. My family would get to work meticulously icing our gingerbread houses, elaborately dressing our evergreen in ornaments and slowly accumulating presents in the family room in anticipation for December 25. Another permanent Christmas fixture around my house is Mariah Carey’s chart-topping masterpiece, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
This and other Christmas songs are staples of the season. However, they shouldn’t be limited to the weeks leading up to the holiday. Christmas music should be blasted all throughout the year because of its joyful nature as well as its versatility.
Many, if not all, of these Christmas songs include messages of joy, anticipation and winter scenery. Links between the Christmas spirit embodied by these messages and elevated levels of happiness have been found through numerous psychological studies. For example, one study conducted in a shopping mall found that customers prefer quiet Christmas music with winter-related theme over non-Christmas tunes in a retail environment.
It is partly because of its atmospheric effect that Christmas music is so popular. Christmas is already an immensely popular holiday, and its songs carry happy memories for many people. Coupled with the joyous nature of these tunes and their positive messages, why would we rob ourselves the opportunity to enjoy fond memories all year long?
Additionally, it is acceptable, and definitely encouraged, to listen to Christmas music throughout the year because Christmas melodies are not confined to any single genre. There is a Yuletide song for every person’s music taste.
Artists from hip-hop, jazz, pop and country have had significant success in their production of Christmas music. Snoop Dogg and Anna Kendrick’s “Winter Wonderland,” Michael Bublé’s “White Christmas,” Pentatonix’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and Blake Shelton’s “Jingle Bell Rock” are just a few examples of the many different sounds of Christmas. These artists rally around the common theme of the holiday and its messages, and in doing so bring communities of music-lovers together.
Granted, if you happen to listen to music strictly for lyrical content, Christmas music may become a bit cumbersome as the season goes on. However, it’s still possible to listen to other music throughout the year without skipping all Christmas songs in one’s library. Like any music, people should listen to what they feel like hearing at the moment, including holiday-themed songs.
After Dec. 25, the vast amounts of tinsel and garland belong back in the storage closet as the New Year’s Eve decorations take their place. But the songs about being joyful, dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh and waiting for a room full of presents from Santa Claus? I’ll listen to those all year long while I wait for Christmas to arrive again.
This piece was originally published in the November/December 2018 edition of The DN.