When I was looking for ideas on what to blog about next, my husband suggested I write about Christmas music. I did a quick Google search for some ideas on what angle to take, and one of the first search suggestions that popped up was “why Christmas music is the best”. Clearly, Christmas music is beloved by many, but why? What is it about Christmas music that makes it so special? Here are my thoughts.
Bringing Back Memories
Music has a profound power to remind us of previous memories and experiences. For me, hearing certain boy bands immediately makes me think of elementary school. For you, hearing classical music may remind you of your childhood piano study. Likewise, hearing familiar Christmas songs reminds us of Christmases past. Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, many of us have wonderful, happy memories of past Christmases, and hearing Christmas carols brings those fond memories to the forefront of our minds.
The Messages of Christmas
Christmas songs are about Jesus Christ, about Santa Claus, about angels, about Frosty the Snowman, about Mary, about winter and snow, about Rudolph, about love and giving and caroling and a hundred other wonderful things that appeal to a wide range of interests and preferences. Regardless of your religious beliefs, Christmas is universally considered a time of love, joy, peace, family, giving, receiving, and hope. Christmas music is filled with these messages that warm your heart by reminding you of what you love most about the holiday.
Holiday Music is a Genre that Almost Everyone Loves
Most people have specific types of music that they just don’t like. Some may hate country music while others despise rap, and some may dislike classical music while others don’t care for pop. But holiday music is so diverse — and yet so cohesive — that it somehow manages to steal almost everyone’s interest. Though there are some Grinches out there who choose not to like Christmas music, for the most part, everyone seems to enjoy it (though admittedly, some have strong feelings against listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving and after December 25th). One of the great things about “holiday music” is that most of the songs can be performed in a variety of styles, whether it’s a classical take, a pop interpretation, or a country style. Christmas music can appeal to people of all interests, tastes, and backgrounds.
“That Christmas Feeling”
There’s something about “that Christmas feeling” that words can’t describe, but the music can capture. There’s a feeling associated with the whole Christmas season, a feeling of warmth, love, and joy that wonderfully counterbalances the frigid December cold. Christmas music captures that feeling with a few beautifully pieced together melodies, harmonies, accompaniment, and (often) lyrics. Some Christmas songs capture the feeling of old English Christmas caroling with wassail, holly, and mistletoe. Others capture the feeling of that first ever Christmas where shepherds and wise men came to worship at the manger in Bethlehem. Some Christmas carols capture the childlike joy of anticipating Santa’s arrival, opening presents, and playing in the snow. Others capture the feeling of sitting by the fire with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. Still others, such as those written during wartime, capture the feeling of appreciating every Christmas as though it is your last. Whatever that Christmas feeling is for you, there is Christmas music that can help you recall that feeling — or experience it more fully once again.
Like many of you, Christmas music and I have a great history together. Growing up, my family and I sang and played Christmas songs at the piano every December. In my childhood and youth I learned to sing and play Christmas songs in church, in band, on piano, and in choir. I’ve put together many choral arrangements, instrumental arrangements, and piano arrangements of Christmas pieces for myself and others to perform in various settings. I was surrounded by radio Christmas music nonstop in multiple workplaces through my college years. I participated in productions of Handel’s Messiah and numerous Christmas concerts. Every year, I love to sit by the beautifully decorated, lit tree with my favorite Christmas classics playing in the background, drinking it all in. I love to sing the music and to sit at the piano and play my favorite carols, however they come out of my fingers. This year, I even recorded my first album of classic Christmas piano arrangements. If you ask me, Christmas music IS the best.