I love Christmas music. It’s an essential part of Christmas for me. When I hear Christmas songs, they always bring back a special memory or feeling associated with Christmases past. But why do I like Christmas songs so much? I think the nostalgia factor (which is huge at Christmas) has a lot to do with it. It’s said that the nostalgia you feel listening to your favourite Christmas tunes has a neurological effect in which the brain’s pleasure circuit is stimulated, releasing dopamine and serotonin (which are responsible for those happy feelings). Also I suppose, its because of the the nostalgia effect that the classic Christmas songs always seem to win out over the more recent songs. That said, I always look forward to new artists/bands having a go at releasing Christmas singles to create the nostalgia of tomorrow.
Also, according to Mic.com, one of the main reasons we love Christmas songs is due to the ‘exposure effect’. It has been proven that the more often we hear a song, the more likely we are to love it. To a point I agree. I wouldn’t like The Wombles’ ‘I wish it could be a Wombling Merry Christmas’, or Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’ how ever many times I hear them.
I have a large digital collection of Christmas songs but I was surprised the other day to find how many vinyl Christmas singles I’ve collected dating back to the late 60s. Another surprise was finding three old classic (60s and 70’s) vinyl LPs in my collection which I haven’t played for years and thought I had sent to the Charity Shop, i.e. Phil Spectre’s ‘Christmas album’, Andy William’s ‘Christmas Album’ and Sinatra’s ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. See photo above. The Sinatra and Andy Williams ones were Mum and Dad’s but I can’t remember where I got the Phil Spectre one.
One of my favourite Christmas albums is John Rutter’s ‘Colours of Christmas’ released in 2011. This is a wonderful chill out collection of Carols by the composer/conductor, perfect for reflection at Christmas and our ‘go to’ when putting up the Christmas decorations. (It eases the stress of detangling the Christmas lights).
I also re-discovered three Christmas/Winter songs on CDs which I never got round to putting on my iPod. Playing them again, I realised just how good they were.
The first is ‘Christmas Time’ by The Smashing Pumpkins
This song is an oldie and appears on the album ‘A Very Special Christmas 3 (Various Artists)’. I don’t think it appears on any Smashing Pumpkins albums and it’s not the sort of thing you would expect the Pumpkins to come up with. It’s a Billy Corgan original and a quintessential Christmas song about the childlike excitement of Christmas day. Corgan explains, “When I think Christmas music, I tend to think something you want to put on and sit around the tree with the kids and not rock out to.” I get that.
The next is ‘A Long December’ by Counting Crows
It appears on the 1996 album, ‘Recovering The Satellites’ and a couple of Counting Crows compilation albums. (Adam Duritz, the American band’s lead singer wrote the song after his friend Jennifer got run over by a car in the middle of December of ’95. He says, “it’s a song about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening, and for once for me, looking forward and thinking, ya know, things are gonna change for the better – ‘maybe this year will be better than the last’ – and so, like a lot of songs on the end of an album it’s not about everything turning out great, but it at least it is about hope… and the possibilities…”
It gets the emotions going, that’s for sure. And how relevant is this for all of us at the end of a year of Co-vid madness?
The last song is the more upbeat ‘Feliz nevidad’ by Jose Feliciano.
I dug it out of the cupboard having watched Jose singing it on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night. I must put it on my playlist. I would like to dedicate this one to all my readers (all 6 of them).