Ho, ho, ho, it is that time of the year when we get over-saturated with Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, Band Aid, Eartha Kitt, Wham! and others. A lot of us have mixed feelings when it comes to holiday music. Some songs get played one too many times and after playing several hundred times they get on our blacklist. Everyone has that one song, you know what we’re talking about. However, there are those songs that we never get enough of and are probably on other people’s blacklists because we played them several hundred and one time too many. But how did the whole thing evolve into Billboard Holiday 100?
A Bit of History
It all started early, when chants and hymns in Latin were used during Church liturgy. Then around the 13th century, vernacular carols emerged throughout the whole Europe. During the late Middle Ages, Protestant Puritans disapproved the Christmas celebrations, so every form of festivities, including carols, disappeared. It started in England, spread over to other parts of the Old and New World and it sporadically spread until 20th century, but it weakened when England lifted the ban in 17th century.
We can divide Christmas songs in two categories: traditional carols and popular songs. There is no clear timeline, since there are old popular songs, like Santa Claus Is Coming to town that dates back to 1934, while carol Mary, Did You Know? is from 1984. Religious context can exist in both, but it is frequent in carols that found way to people’s ears through traditional means. On the other hand, popular songs were introduced through entertainment media and were specifically designed for Christmas and winter time. There are exceptions on both sides, and not all of them were meant to be Christmas related (looking at you Jingle Bells) or some don’t mention it at all (cough, Winter Wonderland, cough).
Listen! Where? Here!
Which bring us to today. The title for the best new original entry of this year on the holiday playlist probably goes to Ariana Grande and Santa Tell Me. This one could be described as a love child of two giants, Last Christmas and All I Want For Christmas Is You. There is a ton of covers and to each its own, but if you need some help, here is our list of the best holiday music streaming sites. You’re probably in some last minute preparations for the season, so enjoy it with some music!
Obvious choice, and be prepared for a lot of new, old and covered songs. Sometimes it gets weird, because this is the only place where I personally heard holiday version of Macarena. No matter what, keep it festively weird!
There are many channels on this one, but when it comes to holiday season, it literally has something for everyone. Instrumentals? Check! Kids? Check! Gospel? Check! Jazz? Check! Country? Check! You get the point…
Ooooh, so pretty! The belle of this ball has the pretties and most festive homepage. It is a limited edition that broadcasts from 1st of November through 1st of January. And if you are on the go, there’s an app for that!
Excellent if you want to search by tags. No matter if you type in Xmas, Christmas, Holidays or whatever crosses your mind, this little social network will find it for you, and keep it playing. Show everybody what is your jam!
OK, not strictly a streaming site, but imagine YouTube with music related exclusively to this time of the year? Related videos, categories, top videos, this one has everything for a good search without unrelated distractions.
Also, do not forget to browse your favourite subscription streaming sites for their holiday channels, like Spotify, iTunes radio, Pandora or Deezer. Now turn that thing on, and make those last preparations before Santa comes!