The season wouldn’t be complete without one of life’s greatest debates: what’s the best kind of music to get you in the holiday spirit? For some, the finest Santa-infused tunes can ignite nostalgia, tenderness, or holiness. For others, the supreme soundtrack to this time of year needs only the simplicity of the piano to feel all the winter romance vibes. Whatever rings true for you, holiday music excavates potent emotions that surface the moment one of the 2,000-plus Christmas playlists on Spotify spews through the speakers.
So, what is it about holiday music that you just can’t seem to get enough of? According to BDG’s 2022 Music study conducted among 384 Gen Z and millennial BDG readers, the No. 1 reason readers say they listen to music is that it helps them process emotions. For many, the visceral quality of these familiar holiday harmonies unlocks a critical component of the human healing experience. And truly, such an intimate encounter with all the feels nestled up inside is easier to contend with, seated next to a fireplace and the promise of (oat)milk and cookies.
BDG’s annual thought-leadership study, The Great Progression Study 2022, found that more than 1 in 3 Gen Zs worry most about the future of their mental health. More than half of respondents say they usually feel anxious right before listening to music. After listening to music, 88% of respondents say they feel relaxed.
In addition, 1 in 5 readers agree that music has the power to help them escape reality (metaverse not included). This is especially comforting if you find yourself spending hours and days around a toxic family. Whatever has people emoting during the holidays, music — true in every season — is here to help.
Need even more proof? The queen of Christmas and this month’s W Magazine cover star, Mariah Carey, agrees on the power of the season. “When you grow up with a messed-up life and then you’re able to have this transformation where you can make your life what you want it to be? That is joy for me.”
In the transformative spirit of the season, imagine you’re hosting a holiday soirée with your hometown besties. What holiday music is your inner MC adding to the mix? Do you start with some pop princess renditions of Christmas classics à la Lizzo and Ariana Grande? Or are you an old soul burritoed in a onesie reminiscing to Nat King Cole? Perhaps you throw it back to the early 2000s with “8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child? Or maybe you pay homage to your dad’s musician roots with the Mexican classic “Ritmo Navideño.”
Whatever your holiday music preferences, just know that come Jan. 1, you can go back to bumping “Tití Me Preguntó,” at least until Bad Bunny decides to drop the next best-selling Christmas album of all time.