It seems strange that in the middle of a fairly mild winter (although today is pretty cold) that I would be hearing Christmas music on the radio. But it is December after all and 'tis the season. The songs that are traditionally played during this time of year are really interesting pieces. They are literally timeless classics, played every holiday season and loved by (just about) everybody. How often can a top 40 themed radio station stop playing all of today's pop hits in favor of Bing Crosby tune from 1942?
But there’s a reason why classic Christmas tunes seem to persist while the rest of the world changes around them. They have the ability to bring out the child in all of us or put us in a nostalgic state of mind for younger, simpler times. It’s hard not to hear a familiar Christmas song and drum up memories of holiday seasons gone by. Everyone’s got at least ONE they enjoy hearing every year.
But if you aren’t one to reminisce about the past, Christmas music reminds us what the holiday season is all about, beyond the sales and promotions. In “White Christmas”, Bing Crosby sings about the anticipation children feel while listening and waiting for Santa Claus. In “The Christmas Shoes”, the narrator talks about a simple act of kindness for a child who needed it. Even in the more recent “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by N’Sync, how do you not get wrapped up in the imagery of screaming and shouting for joy the band talks about?
Being a proud member of Holiday Express, a non-profit dedicated to bringing the joy of the holidays to those who need it most during this time of year, I am a first hand witness of the power of these songs. It always makes me smile to see children at our interactive holiday parties react with the same glee as I did to songs like “Jingle Bells” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” But it amazes me to see adults act in the same way too. They close their eyes and softly sing along like they are remembering a younger version of themselves doing the same thing.
Perhaps it is the kindness they exude or maybe it is the nostalgia they inspire, but there is certainly something about this music and this time of year that is special. Not to be corny, but wouldn’t it be nice everyone carried the positivity of the season throughout the year? I’ll just let the Shaking Stevens explain it in the best way in their sorely underrated, “Merry Christmas, Everyone.”
“How I wish that everyday was Christmas. What a nice way to spend the year.”