Why do we Love Christmas Music?


Caiden Lujin, Staff Writer

We’re halfway through November, and that can only mean one thing — it’s time for Christmas music to dominate the charts once again. But why? What is it about these tunes that give us that cozy Christmas feeling, and how does it never get old? 

All signs point to nostalgia. With a yearly dose of Christmas cheer since childhood, these songs are more engraved into our heads than any other genre, and it has everything to do with the way they are structured. Not only are the lyrics and melodies put together in a childlike manner, but many were also first introduced to these classics at a young age. This combines for an indescribable longing for Christmases past that we have all experienced at some point. 

Joe Bennett, professor of musicology at Berklee College of Music, suggests holiday music takes on a “reverse” of the popular music on the radio throughout the course of a year. “[Christmas music] is about homecoming, nostalgia, looking back to a more innocent time in one’s life,” according to Bennett.

The top Christmas songs generally have similar themes. Repeating choruses, sounds of bells and whistles in the background, and lots of Christmas day imagery. When you hear the familiar chorus of “Sleigh Bells” for example, it can give off an effect in the brain that is different to standard music genres. Most associate these songs to a time they listened to it prior around Christmas, associating the song with the good feelings they have had around the holiday season.  

But it cannot all just be nostalgia. According to Bennett, almost all the Christmas songs he analyzed were in major key and at the most dance-able time signature (4/4). Half of these songs contained sleigh bells and are generally decades old. The spectrum of recognized holiday music is limited to a specific list every year, and few have been able to break the barrier of being recognized as a “Christmas song” in recent memory. 

As the holidays approach, be prepared for a season of longing for old Christmases and searching for your lost childlike wonder through the return of Christmas music. With a pandemic, this feeling should be even more apparent for most. 

 However, there is a growing number of people in the new age who do not care for Christmas music, as well. The repetitiveness of these songs being cycled every year aren’t for everyone.  

Christmas music is overrated,” Quinn McVey (10) said. “It’s on for way too long throughout the year and is repetitive during the worst time of the year.” 

Opinions on Christmas music generally lay on far opposite ends of the spectrum, but regardless, the nostalgia involved is something incomparable to other genres of music. The way it is structured leaves it destined to be stuck in your head at this time of year, whether you enjoy it or aren’t a fan.