It’s ubiquitous. The minute that the sound of sleigh bells comes through the radio everybody gets that feeling again, regardless of the time of year. Hell, Walmart has been playing Christmas music since November 1st. There’s something about the sound of Christmas music that permeates our thoughts; it simultaneously brings people together through the almost universal love of it, and defines the overall sensation of the winter holidays.
There are of course those who hate Christmas music. I will admit that whenever someone shouted “It’s Christmas time” any day before my birthday, I would refuse to listen. I have always claimed that my birthday, November 30th, was a strictly Christmas free event. No Christmas music was allowed in the house before I had my birthday, and my family complied (though I know my sister longed to play Mariah Carey). I started to allow Christmas music after Thanksgiving in my senior year of high school. I think it was the sudden realization that I would not be home for half of December once I went to college to drove me to start allowing Christmas music before my birthday. Once I actually went to college, I started playing Christmas music around November 10th, when school started to get very stressful and all I wanted to do is go home. With only 4 weeks between Halloween and Christmas break for college, it seems very appropriate to play Christmas music right after Halloween so that you can eke out the full Christmas experience with your college friends. I actually attending Christmas Candelight Service on my birthday last year as a birthday present to myself.
Christmas music has become a type of reprieve from the endless barrage of school work. There was an entire week this year that I couldn’t work on homework unless I had Christmas music playing. There is something magical about the idea of only having about 12 original songs that each generation of singers cover in a “new” way that everyone knows the words to. People compare Michael Bublé to a new age Frank Sinatra because of their similar tonal qualities, yet both produce famous Christmas albums despite the time gap between them. Favorites like “All I Want for Christmas is You” or “White Christmas” have everyone singing along and grace rooms with their joy and frivolity. Christmas music is home. Each song has a different memory for each person, making Christmas songs universal and individualized.
Yet while Christmas music brings joy and happiness, many people may use it as a gateway to ignore their obstacles that stretch from Halloween to Christmas Break. Even though Thanksgiving Break breaks (for lack of a better word) up the monotony of school, we ignore the gratitude and giving spirit that Thanksgiving is supposed to bring for the immediate joy that Christmas brings. We put ourselves in a position that by playing Christmas music over and over from November 1st to December 25th of forgetting the rest of our lives to focus on the one stressful, event filled, most shopped for holiday of the year. Christmas gathers family, but so does the Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, and the myriad of birthdays that proliferate November and December.
I’m not arguing against Christmas music. I’m not arguing for Thanksgiving. I love Christmas music and I will be playing it nonstop on my flight back home after break. I just want to point out that while the instant gratification of the jolly tunes may fill us with joy, it stops us from experiencing everything else the month before has to offer.
For all of those who thought this post would be able Christmas music suggestions, I will happily include those here. For lovers of acapella, Pentatonix’s Christmas albums are amazing, specifically White Winter Hymnal, Mary Did You Know, and Greensleeves. For those a fan of more classical Christmas tunes, Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas is fantastic followed by Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee. For pop fans, Justin Bieber’s Falala is great along with Ariana Grande’s Santa Baby.
Thanks for listening.