Holiday Tunes: How They Are Born and Their Presence in Everyday Life

holiday tunes

“But indeed, the New Year is coming soon!” – we are surprised when the first snowflakes suddenly start spinning in the autumn sky. “No, it is still too early to think about the holiday” – and we are trying to return to the usual business routine, but the imagination is already drawing beautiful pictures: colorful lights shine on a fluffy Christmas tree, candles flicker, champagne foams in great glasses. The chimes are beating, and drinks are ringing, music is playing, funny voices and happy laughter are everywhere.  Maybe it is time to get ready, update outfits, pick up gifts and make your playlist of your favorite New Year’s songs?

Meanwhile, in the West, and especially in the United States, preparations for the winter holidays begin in mid-autumn. Moreover, by the last Friday of November, when the holiday sales start, everything is ready! Wreaths of mistletoe decorate the doors of the houses, electric garland lights up on the tree branches with scatterings of stars, and Santa Clauses sat down at the entrances to the shops. And of course, holiday music can be heard everywhere. The song “Jingle Bells” (“Ring, bells”) sounds more often than others do. This cute song is over 150 years old! Today, a pure, playful motive has become so famous all over the world that it has become a real musical symbol of happy and carefree winter holidays.

Holiday Music Onstage and On-air

Every year from November to February, the music of the holidays broadcasts on most radio stations non-stop. Multiple television channels transmit pre-holiday concerts and shows, in which the best musicians of the world take part. The most exciting thing about all of this is that all the artists perform approximately the same repertoire, the same relatives who have known the melodies since childhood, but the listener does not have a feeling of monotony. On the contrary, each performer adds something unique and individual to old hymns and songs.

The quartet Il Divo sings interpretations of Christmas chants without departing from the traditions. However, the beauty of the voices and the mastery of the artists are such that they make the public seem to re-hear and feel each composition – and this beautiful song, “White Christmas,” too. The author of the song is the famous 20th-century American composer Irving Berlin, a native of Russia.

Holiday Stories in Movies

The closer the holiday, the more often wonderful stories, legends, and fairy tales come to mind. And where can I find a fairy tale today? Well, of course, in a dream factory, in Hollywood. And here again and again disks with the recordings of feature films, the plots of which fit the category of “Christmas Story,” are reissued.

A classic example of such a “wonderful story with a modern twist” was the film “Die Hard” (close to the meaning of the translation “Unkillable” or “The One Who You Will Torture to Kill”) with Bruce Willis in the lead role. The song “Let it Snow!” became a peculiar leitmotif of the entire film. In the final scene, it was precise to this cheerful, light melody, played by Dean Martin back in the 50s, that the hero leaves the frame – all wounded but defeating his enemies.

“Children’s” cinema with special pleasure uses the Christmas theme – and, of course, music. For example, composer John Williams included several well-known Christmas songs and psalms in the musical accompaniment of the tape “Home Alone.”

Also, Williams arranged all his melodies in the appropriate style. That is, he added special colors to the musical fabric: a gentle chime of bluebells and clear children’s voices (children’s choir). It is not for nothing that the film is for family viewing: viewers, from young to old, will recognize their favorite tunes from the very first notes, enjoy them together, and begin to empathize with the heroes together. The feeling of, “we are a family, we understand each other, we are together!” And that is the most important thing for which this movie is worth watching. It seems that the success of the film is partially due to its music.

The creators of films and serials that focus exclusively on an adult audience often also resort to a win-win technique – to turn to the child who lives in the soul of each of us, to play the most sensitive strings.

In the popular Dr. House series, the magic power of the holidays affects even the inveterate cynic that House presents to us in the performance of the incomparable Hugh Laurie.

How Holiday Songs are Born

The style of holiday songs so profoundly affects the listener that often composers who compose music for animated fairy-tale films imitate it. This technique fully justifies itself, especially if talented artists are involved in singing. In the cartoon “The Beauty and the Beast” – as well as in the musical based on this cartoon – the song sounds amazingly beautiful (composer Alan Menken).

The songs, which we now call Christmas songs, were not always created in honor of this particular event. Sometimes the melody simply “got into the mood,” it was listened to and sang with pleasure, and it received the “Christmas” status after many decades.

Who knows – maybe the best of those songs that we listen to today will feature the music of Christmas. In the meantime – in honor of the winter that has finally arrived – a song from Burl Ives, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” (“Rejoice in Holy Christmas”). According to statistics, every year it is on the air around the world at least ten million times!

Perhaps the personal holiday playlist is still worth starting to prepare in advance. There are so many different kinds of music in the world to check out!

Melisa Marzett is a marketing specialist by occupation who is currently working as a freelance writer for and, practicing yoga and meditation, playing the piano and learning foreign languages.

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