Christmas Music: For Profit or For Cheer?

Written by: Jordan AlfredEdited byShanice Atkins-Broome

Growing up, Christmas was my favorite holiday of the year. I was able to see extended family I hadn’t seen in months, indulge in Christmas food and lots of eggnog. All while listening to my favorite classic Christmas songs.

Christmas and holiday music have truly become an indispensable part of pop music. People in the music industry noticed that it became an essential factor in the holiday season and capitalized on this. They created an entire market based solely around keeping the same traditional themed music, just with different approaches and new artist. From a PR perspective, it’s clear that by using these songs in combination with promoting a company or product is extremely beneficial and generates vast amounts of profit. So, what songs have been commercialized and used the most year after year? Here are a few to give you an idea.

  • All I want for Christmas is You” – Written and produced by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, this song was released in 1994 as the lead single from her first holiday album, ‘Merry Christmas’. The song has been covered by 18 major artists and has been used in countless TV shows, movies and commercials. It also been critically acclaimed and established as a Christmas standard in North America, especially in my home.

  • “This Christmas” – Sung originally by American jazz musician Donny Hathaway in 1970 this song did not gain much recognition during its era. However, after countless other artists chose to cover this song it has become one of the most popular songs in Pop and R&B to date.
  • “Jingle Bells” – In 1857 James Lord Pierpont published one of the best-known holiday songs across the globe. Originally written for American Thanksgiving, lyric changes and multiple revisions altered it use for Christmas. The song has been performed and recorded by a wide variety of artist from The Beatles to Frank Sinatra and countless other artist. It was also the first song broadcast in outer space.

Of course those are only a few of the most well known Christmas songs. Other notable Christmas songs that have become commercialized are, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, “12 Days of Christmas”, and “White Christmas”. All things considered, whether you believe the commercialization of Christmas songs to be a good thing or bad thing, they are here to stay, just ask Michael Bublé or Mariah Carey.