Silent night no more: holiday music is back in full force


Photo courtesy of Spotify.

The popularity of holiday themed music surges during wintertime every year. Bing Crosby’s, “Bing At Christmas,” is one of many examples of artists straying away from their usual music genres.

By Michael Demske, Assistant News Editor

‘Tis the season to snuggle up under a blanket beside a crackling fire, drink a smoldering cup of hot chocolate in the finest #1 DAD mug, and listen to Ariana Grande on the speaker. Ariana Grande on the speaker? Yes that’s right, Grande’s “Santa Tell Me” is one example of artists deviating from their traditional musical genres to try their hand in holiday themed music.

Holiday music is a unique genre that features lots of light percussion, bells and cymbals to create a happy and light hearted mood. Lyrics relate to snow, the holiday spirit and the feelings of love and joy that the holidays bring. Holiday music surges once a year as it tends to retain popularity only during the winter months. 

Let’s begin with one of the all-time classics, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” Composed in 1934 by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, the piece has been remastered and renditioned hundreds of times. The Jackson 5, Mariah Carey, and Bruce Springsteen have all put their spins on the classic with much success. Released on Oct. 24, 2011, Canadian singer Michael Bublé’s cover is by far the most popular, with over 190 million streams on Spotify alone. Bublé’s old-timey voice combined with the modern harmonious combination of trumpets, drums and saxophones, gives the song a true holiday feel. 

Dean Martin’s “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” hardly needs an introduction as to what the song is about. The first line, “Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful,” perfectly sums up the feelings of winter and wanting to stay cozy inside. Frank Sinatra and The B. Swanson Quartet beautifully renditioned the song, creating a quicker paced cover with a harmonized chorus that more than fills in for where Sinatra lacks in harmonization.

A personal favorite and widely known for being the theme song for the movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Linus and Lucy” hits the nostalgic and holiday chords. Composed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the instrumental piece features steller piano work accompanied by maracas that add a much needed touch. It is one of the most recognizable and iconic tunes because of its catchiness and the association with one of the most famous Christmas movies to date.

Bing Crosby was arguably the most popular holiday music artist of his generation and has collected multiple awards for his work. Crosby’s album, “White Christmas” was the first album that fully encapsulated the holiday spirit. It was modernized in 2019 to become undoubtedly the most popular holiday album of all time. “Bing at Christmas” features Pentatonix and the London Symphony Orchestra to form the ultimate peak of holiday music. While “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas” are the most popular songs on the album, every song will surely spark the imagination of a snow filled landscape.

It is not truly the holiday season until “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey has been listened to. The highest grossing song in the holiday category and easily the most well known Christmas song never disappoints. Carey sings of  “you,” symbolizing true love, as her sole wish for Christmas. Mariah’s voice is beyond spectacular in general and this song especially showcases her immense talent. The different pitched bells, the background chorus and the piano compliment her voice very nicely. To someone looking for a place to start with holiday music – please, please, please give this song a listen.

It is remarkable how many artists from different musical backgrounds are able to unite under one common theme to create the most diverse and special genre of music the world has ever seen. Nowhere else would you see Bruce Springsteen, The Jackson 5 and Ariana Grande share a musical genre. 

Nothing else can quite emulate the pure joy and spirit that holiday music brings out of people. Friends, family and communities alike come together during the holiday season and are united in song and dance by holiday music.