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Emma Off The Record: Holly Jolly Study Buddy

Ah, the holidays! Winter break is so close I can almost taste the gingerbread. Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year happens to buddy up next to the most stressful time of the year: finals week. All I want more than anything is to drink hot cocoa topped with a perfect swirl of whipped cream, but instead, I’m stuck inside all day whipping up study guides for my exams. The holiday spirit is nearly intoxicating as coffee shops start serving their festive drinks and every store I go to is blasting Christmas music like it’s some new, undiscovered genre (I’m looking at you, Target). Obviously, I’m no Ebenezer Scrooge, but daydreaming about the holidays can sometimes shrink my heart down three sizes reverse Grinch-style. 

I long for cozy nights watching cheesy movies as I munch on peppermint bark, ice skating with my friends, belting out “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and every other cliché that comes to mind. Alas, I must suffer through one week of exams before I reach the finish line where candy canes and silly sweaters await. I will be patient and study hard, but if there’s one thing that I know will boost my spirits, it’s––you guessed it––music. Growing up the good Jewish girl that I am, I LOVED to listen to Christmas music. I’ve always been an old soul at heart, listening to everything from Nat King Cole to Led Zeppelin, but there’s something about old-timey Christmas music that I just can’t help loving. The sappy lyrics, the swelling orchestra, the cutesy vocals–– I love it all. I am being 100% truthful when I say Bing Crosby a.k.a. The Christmas Music King really does make me feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland. 

Growing up in California, I was never really aware of what a true holiday season looked like. The best we’ve got is lights winding their way up palm trees and maybe a pretty store window here and there. After moving to Boston, my perspective definitely changed. Newbury Street was hustling and bustling with shoppers toting bags filled with all kinds of gifts. The North End puts up twinkling star lights that make the old redbrick neighborhood shine a little brighter. Christmas festivals pop up on every corner filled with all kinds of artisanal gifts and goodies. A snowstorm leaves the streets and trees glistening with white snow–– a true winter wonderland, like all the songs say.

This week’s playlist is a bit of a mash-up. On one hand, I’ve included the quintessential, dreamy tunes that are the epitome of holiday spirit, and on the other hand, I’ve got some pump-up jams that will get you in the study flow. It’s an odd assortment of old and new, but after giving it a test run myself, I really do think it works somehow. Vulfpeck’s “Christmas in L.A.” is the perfect blend of both, and describes the holiday cheer I must have been missing all these years in the city that I live in. Omar Apollo’s funky, “So Good,” is just the dose of joyful noise I need to stay motivated for the rest of the semester. James Bay’s “Pink Lemonade” is also the kind of song that will get you on your feet for a bit as you take a break between Quizlet sets. On the more old-school Christmasy side, I’ve got Nat King Cole, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and of course, Bing Crosby to round out the playlist with his classic, “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas.” 

I am determined to make my exam week as jolly as possible considering I have one exam on the first day and one on the last day. Since I will be on campus a little longer than usual, I’m going to try my best to get into the holiday spirit considering I’ll still have all the cozy essentials and the perfect snowy backdrop. If you need me, I’ll be watching “The Holiday” in my favorite fuzzy sweater. :)




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Emma is a senior at BU studying Journalism and Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Communications. She's originally from sunny Los Angeles, California. She is an avid fan of local bakeries and making oddly specific Spotify playlists.
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