Holiday Music: A Noteworthy Blessing or Curse Of The Winter Holidays?


Alisa Rodionova

Aileen Dosev, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving break is upon us, and we couldn’t be more thankful. The prospect of not showing up to school and no homework (hopefully) brighten up the average high schooler’s life. 

With Thanksgiving being the easily overlooked holiday that it is, many people’s thoughts jump straight to the winter holidays. With the winter festivities come mountains of snow, the ski and snowboard season and steaming mugs of hot chocolate; however, arguably one of the most important aspects of the winter season is the holiday music. 

Addison Dieterle, ‘23, stated that music “sets the tone for the holidays” for her and the holiday season “can’t [be celebrated] without it.”

Many others agree that music is a vital aspect of what makes the winter holidays special. The ringing bells and choral voices featured in many songs give off a festive feeling that’s hard to find in non-seasonal music. 

The question is: when is the right time to start playing holiday music? While some students could not wait to dive headfirst into the holiday spirit, others think that holiday music being played too early can be irritating. The kinds of music played are also up for debate–whether the so-called “classics” are overplayed or iconic. 

Adynn Stadillie, ‘20, believes that the season’s hits truly deserve the attention they get. She claims that she “loves the classics” and that they can be listened to year-round. 

Although not everyone agrees with Stadillie’s point, Maxwell Maveus, ‘22, shared her perspective, saying that creating brand new holiday-themed music is “really hard to get right”, so sometimes it’s better to stick with the originals. 

On the other hand, Sophia Willett, ‘23, is not a big holiday music listener but enjoys the warmth and positive vibes that the music gives off. She thinks the best time to play holiday music is when it starts to snow, saying that it makes her happy listening to it. On the other hand, she concludes that “some of the popular songs are too overrated”, naming Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” as a personal dislike. 

In contrast to others interviewed, Vivienne Lewis, ‘23, enjoys an entirely different style of holiday music than the typical American hits. She isn’t a big fan of modern music and likes the more traditional Christmas style. 

“I really like Irish Christmas music,” she said, while playing her favorite song, “The Bells of Dublin.” “It’s just a lot prettier sounding,” she said.

Most students interviewed listed Mariah Carey’s hit “All I Want for Christmas is You” as their favorite song or named it as a staple, but “Last Christmas” by Wham! is also a popular choice. 

With all the different tastes and opinions in the high school alone, it seems hard to agree on a certain start time. However, that’s a decision radio stations have to make, sometimes adjusting their broadcasting schedules to a new date every year. 

To provide some context, the Twin Ports radio in Duluth plays all-holiday music from November 7th to the 26th of December. A Chicago radio station began their non-stop holiday music program around the same time and pushes their start dates further back each year. Playing festive music earlier, thus extending the holiday season, is actually a powerful marketing technique used by retailers and radio stations. 

By broadcasting celebratory tunes, radio stations get people into a state of mind where they are more likely to buy products in larger quantities. Holiday sales account for 20-30% of retail sales in the U.S., so when the season comes around, retailers and radio stations work together to maximize profit by bringing the starting dates back earlier and earlier.  

However, other places around the world don’t play seasonal music until late November. Christmas FM, a Christmas radio station in Ireland, starts its annual broadcast as late as November 28. This Irish station hasn’t changed its dates since 2008, making it much more consistent than American broadcasters. 

No matter whether you love or hate holiday music and all the festive paraphernalia that comes along with it, the cheeriness of the winter holidays does a great job of distracting us from the harsh Minnesota winters. Although it can be cheesy and overdone some years, holiday music can really help in brightening the darker part of the year.