It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas


Norah Craig

“In the same way that we cherish common shows or toys from our childhood, these Christmas songs exemplify a familiar feeling.”

You know it’s Christmas time when you start seeing sweaters instead of tank tops, fake snow, and colorful lights, but most of all, the music blasting from every store. As soon as it hits October, we already start to see videos announcing  “this many days until Christmas” with someone making treats in the background or videos with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” One of the most nostalgic parts of the Christmas season is the songs we hear every year for only those select months. Whether it’s “Last Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” it is always the same familiar tunes that we hear as soon as Thanksgiving ends. But why is that? It isn’t as if no current artists make Christmas music. In fact, many popular artists have made Christmas songs, including Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and even the Jonas Brothers. Yet, once the temperature drops, we hear decades-old songs rather than these modern ones. While some may argue that the oldies are simply better, there is a deeper reasoning for this generational tradition. 

When we are born, we obviously don’t have a Christmas predisposition that makes us love these songs. However, the way we are raised does play a large part in the reasoning for this yearly replay. As we grow up, we are raised on our parent’s interests, including their music taste. Thus, while growing up we have their Christmas music passed down to us. On top of that, the songs we hear in our environment implement this habit. You can only hear the same songs while walking down a store aisle so many times until it starts to stick. Then, this becomes a nostalgia. 

In the same way that we cherish common shows or toys from our childhood, these Christmas songs exemplify a familiar feeling. If you were to listen closely to these popular Christmas songs, they almost all have something to do with a romanticization of the way you feel during this month. Some of them never even explicitly say Christmas, but simply feature aspects of the holiday such as “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Home for the Holidays,” and more. 

Due to this nostalgia, most Christmas songs that come out today are remakes of the oldies rather than originals. This includes Ariana Grande’s rendition of “Last Christmas,” Justin Bieber’s cover of “Little Drummer Boy,” and Gwen Stefani’s cover of “Jingle Bells.” Often, covers of Christmas songs are made because they are guaranteed to succeed since people want to hear their favorite artists sing songs they already love. Even so, these covers don’t get nearly as popular as the original or older versions. However, one artist has seemed to be able to escape this paradox. This artist is Michael Bublé. Bublé has made an uncountable number of Christmas songs, including both remakes and originals. While his remakes stay more popular than his originals, Bublé’s remakes are common household holiday songs. Along with the oldies, you will often hear Michael Bublé’s cover of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and more. 

Why did these songs make the cut and others didn’t? There isn’t really an exact reason. Trends are often random and will come and go as they please. However, this also makes it an anomaly as to why the same songs stay popular each year without fail. Most trends can’t last even a few months, nevertheless years. There are many theories or speculations as to why this pattern occurs, but there will never be a concrete cause. Will these songs remain popular for generations in the future? Probably not. Over time, it is likely new songs will start to become more popular, and while our oldies won’t just simply disappear, change is inevitable, and one day we might wake up on a chilly day listening to a new tune. Regardless, these songs have managed to stay on the soundtrack of the holidays throughout our lives and continue to do so each year.