christmas music season

Full confession, I love Christmas music.

I will listen to it basically any time of year. In the summer, I can listen to Christmas music [Editor’s note: This is bad luck. Do not do this]. Right after Christmas is over, I can still listen to it. And of course, I’ll listen to it during the season. Even if for me that season starts early (we’re talking right after Halloween).

Bing Crosby and Virginia Dale singing "White Christmas" in the film Holiday Inn (1942)
Bing Crosby and Virginia Dale singing “White Christmas” in the film Holiday Inn (1942)

Perhaps that’s a bit of an extreme, but I am not alone in my age group in loving Christmas music. According to a study by Neilsen, people aged 18 to 34 make up 36 percent of holiday music fans, which is the largest percentage of the three brackets sampled. Gen X follows with 31 percent and the 55+ Baby Boomers trail in the back with only 25 percent.

The unusual part about this whole thing is that the most popular Christmas songs still are the ones that date back to the Baby Boomers’ generation. The top ten most popular Christmas songs still count hits like Bing Crosby‘s “White Christmas,” which came out in 1944, and Andy Williams‘ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” which came out in 1963.

Of course, the tilt in that data may come from the fact that the data is pulled from radio stations. Radio is surprisingly still the format that gets to decide when the holidays start. Nearly 500 radio stations in the U.S. flip their format to Christmas music at some point before December 25th. In fact, a radio station in Buffalo, NY already did so for this year.

But streaming may tell a different story. Spotify’s top 100 for 2016 included more contemporary artists mixed in with the classics. The top ten featured songs like Ariana Grande‘s “Santa Tell Me” (2014), Pentatonix‘s “Hallelujah” (2016), and a lot of Michael Bublé covers.

Of course, there’s one song that dominates all charts, streaming, radio, the beam that goes directly into your head and gets songs stuck in there. It came out in 1994 and I think you know what it is…


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