Why I love Christmas music

For me, Christmas music really kicks of this exciting holiday season and fills me with Christmas spirit


Arizona Lee

The December 11 dusting of snow blankets the pine trees.

The Christmas season is always a time of cheer, a time for me to make memories with my family. I love hearing the nostalgic songs play on the radio as we drive through the fluffy snow and watch the twinkling Christmas lights together. There are always certain songs that bring the spirit of the holiday: the nostalgic ones, ones that celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the more modern songs that were released recently.

The Nostalgia

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is one of my all-time favorite classics. I learned all the names of Santa’s reindeer with the part that sings, “You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen. Comet, and Cupid, and Donner, and Blitzen.” It’s a song that many kids grow up hearing and singing along with. For me, it brings back happy memories of my family around the Christmas tree. As people start to play Christmas music in their homes each December, I know that for many of us, this definitely pops into our heads as a go-to tune.

Although it was originally created by a school house teacher for a fall concert, “Jingle Bells” has become a season favorite. It’s a nostalgic remedy for the Christmas spirit and paints a beautiful picture of a happy sleigh ride in the snow. Jingle Bells is generally a song that most know by heart — if not the whole song then at least the first part. This is a standard in radio Christmas songs. Without it, December just wouldn’t be complete.

Without fail, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” always gets me into the Christmas spirit. I tend to do a little boogie when I hear this song because of its irresistible bouncy tune. For my family, it immediately creates a cheerful feeling and gets us ready to celebrate the holidays. This song makes me remember the times I would watch the “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” movie (1964) and decorate the big Christmas tree that could be seen through our window. I remember baking Christmas cookies and seeing my cousins. This is a classic feel-good Christmas song.

The Christian Connection

I know that some choose to keep this holiday secular, but this section was not compiled to cause people to be upset. I just want to highlight some of the best Christian holiday tunes that celebrate Jesus’s birth.

“The Little Drummer Boy” celebrates Jesus and paints the story of the first Christmas through the eyes of a little boy that plays the drum. The melody is beautifully laid out. I can’t help but sing the classic “pa rum pum pum pum” of the vocal drums. This is definitely a classic. So many know the unmistakable words and melody of this song. NBC even decided to make a short animation movie about the song in 1968, bringing it even more popularity. Additionally, many artists have created their own portrayal of the “The Little Drummer Boy”. I especially like to listen to the Pentatonix, for KING and COUNTRY, and Bing Crosby versions of the song.

One of the top songs that celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ is “Mary Did You Know”. The song speaks to Mary, the virgin that gave birth to Jesus, and tells her about all the amazing things He will do. There are several different versions of this song, but I especially like how Pentatonix sings it. Their version is calm and peaceful, and their voices are so strong. It rises into a burst of sound, the build-up provided by the musical harmonies and melodies of each of the members. Other versions, like the one Carry Underwood produced, sing passionately about the message of the song. It can be heard many different ways and always brings me happiness.

There’s just something about “Do You Hear What I Hear” that sends shivers up your spine. It reminds me of when we would drive through December nights, either home or to the store, as my younger self would look up at the twinkling stars and festive lights. This song describes tells the story of the first Christmas through the five senses. When listening to it, you can’t help but look out of a window and imagine what it looked and sounded like. There are many great mid-century artists who sung this song. A more modern version that I like to listen to is sung by Carrie Underwood. To be honest, I wouldn’t usually choose country music out of a bowl of genres, but there’s something about this version that is just so refreshing to hear.

The Contemporary  

I really love when “I’ll Be Home” comes on the radio or shows up on my playlist. There are always modern artists that try to do their own rendition of classic Christmas songs, and though some of them are really enjoyable to listen to, they’re difficult to find. I’m generally not a fan of Meghan Trainor’s annual Christmas albums, but I thought this original song she created was pretty ear catching. It’s a smooth and soft melody with a simple piano accompaniment. It reminds me of being curled up on the couch in a soft blanket, drinking hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows on top. The climax of the song doesn’t really make you want to dance, but I think it’s ok for this type of song.

Another one of the top modern Christmas songs that I’ll be listening to this year is “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” by Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton. I was happily shocked when I heard it as I was expecting the modern song to sound a little strange and not quite Christmas-y enough. Stafani and Shelton are an adorable couple, but their singing styles are very different and tend to clash. Blake Shelton has a country style while Gwen Stafani is generally a mix of pop and rock, a style completely unique to her. It starts with each of them singing a line on their own, and when they sing together, it shockingly works really well. Their voices sound amazing together. “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” is a catchy holiday song with funky drums and trumpets in the background. It’s great.

I recently heard “Thank You” sung by the a cappella group Pentatonix and immediately fell in love with the melody. It’s a beautiful song with contrasting soft, flowing background music and bold voices. It’s peaceful and tells a story, rising into a magnificent climax. “Thank You” creates stunning images of color and the message is very relatable to Christmas this year. It includes all the little things the band members appreciate, as well as the people that got them through the year. The song starts with “Oh, Lord, it’s been a year with little joys and little fears”, a relatable first line. The sound is amazing, and I highly recommend giving it a listen.

I created a Top Elf playlist with all these songs and others that I like to listen to during the Christmas season. There are so many others that I wanted to talk about, but this article would be way too long if I did that. The playlist includes multiple different genres. Some wouldn’t usually be my taste, but they surprised me. And with that, I hope you all have a merry Christmas and happy New Year!