Christmas can be one of the most nostalgic days of the year. Many reminisce about their joyous childhood excitement about the holiday. Muusic can play a major part in recreating some of those familiar feelings!
Christopher Bergland wrote in Psychology Today about how the human brain reacts while processing music, referencing a University of California study showing that "specific brain regions linked to autobiographical memories and emotions are activated by familiar music." This may help explain why nearly every year, like clockwork, most of the stores in shopping malls start playing Christmas classics from their speakers: to activate happy emotions in their customers.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you probably have a Christmas song or two that stirs your soul and brings a smile to your face. Maybe those songs remind you of being close to family, of a simpler time or of a specific memory. You can guarantee that other people also have their own connections to certain holiday songs. So when you're putting together a Christmas playlist for gatherings, a combination of old and new tracks should make the perfect mix.
If you don't want to spend much time crafting your own playlist, luckily, Spotify has nearly every playlist you could imagine. You can join the music streaming platform by going to the Spotify website and registering for an account. With a free membership, your music will be interrupted by ads every 30 minutes or so. Alternatively, you can opt for a three-month free trial without commercials (after the three-month promotion ends, you will automatically be charged a monthly rate of $9.99 for an individual membership, unless you change your account settings).
Once you have an account, you can go to the search bar and type "Christmas" to find some of the most popular playlists. You can follow those playlists or pick and choose songs from multiple playlists and put them into a personalized playlist of your own! The benefit of following an existing playlist is that the owner will update it from time to time without you having to do anything. Here are three of the most popular Spotify Christmas playlists:
1. "Christmas Hits"
This playlist includes most of the classics, like "All I Want for Christmas Is You," "Feliz Navidad" and "Winter Wonderland." Some of the songs are by their original singers and others are covers by current pop stars.
2. "Christmas Coffeehouse"
For more acoustic, stripped-down versions of those holiday tunes, this playlist offers folksy and simple renditions of some of those well-known singalong-worthy melodies.
3. "Christmas Peaceful Piano"
If you're looking for a new way to hear familiar music, this playlist removes the lyrics and takes you on a relaxing journey. It's an ideal playlist if you'd like to keep music playing lightly in the background or you're looking for a more Zen way to get into the holiday spirit.
There are other streaming and digital music platforms available as well, including iTunes, Apple Music and Pandora. You can decide which one is the right fit for you depending on your own user experience. Check out Business Insider's ratings of the top music streaming services based on different preferences and needs.
Once you've established which music platform you'd like to use, you can start creating a dream playlist for you and your loved ones by asking each of them their favorite Christmas song. Then you can compile those songs into a curated list to send to your friends and family in preparation for the holidays. That way, everyone can join in on the festivities and get into the Christmas spirit together from near or far, long before the tree has been decorated and the twinkly lights have been hung.
Bonus: Even after Christmas is over, when the wreath has started to lose its pine scent and the ornaments have been packed away and put into storage for next year, you and your loved ones can continue to replay the shared memories of your special holiday moments by listening to your shared playlist whenever nostalgia strikes. That way, Christmas never really has to end! And hey, we could all use more Christmas vibes in our lives.