Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

You’re at home, the scent of fresh pine and warm gingerbread is floating around your kitchen. The snow dances in the magical winter scene outside, but the frost isn’t the kind that creeps into your bones – it’s the kind that lifts your spirits. Your family and friends bustle around the house, laughing over old jokes and hoping for Christmas presents. In the background of this happy scene, Nat King Cole’s rich baritone drifts along smoothly, singing of roasted chestnuts and yuletide carols as if he’s right there with you.

This is what I think of when I think of Christmas. It’s incomplete without the vocals of crooners especially from ‘The Golden Age of Jazz’: our king, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Judy Garland…I love them all. And I wouldn’t be surprised if hearing these voices reminded you of a perfect Christmas scene as well.

Because of the sheer number of times I’ve listened to the oldies growing up (I’m talking the Vince Guaraldi Trio being on repeat for months on end), I’ve essentially been conditioned to veer away from all modern Christmas music. Modern, for me at least, means using elements of electronic pop and synthesized jingle bells to a fault. It’s not bad, it’s just not…as good. For all of you that are about to throw hands, let me state my case for classic Christmas music.

First off, the orchestra. THE ORCHESTRA. There are strings, horns and whatnot in modern Christmas music as well. Most of the time, however, full-on orchestras aren’t being recruited to accompany one solo artist, save for the vocal stars of our generation. Producers would much rather do their work using virtual instruments. However, back in the day, they didn’t have any other options other than using live instruments for recordings. Not only did this give the music its authenticity, but it also allowed for a heavenly blend of the vocals and the instruments. The singer could connect to the instrumentalists in real time, creating a spectacularly magical moment.

I also have to express my dislike of overdone ad libs in Christmas music, specifically in covers of the classics. This critique isn’t necessarily relevant to original Christmas songs made in more recent decades, so obviously Mariah is an exception to this. Ad libs are improvised lines of music or speech, and much of the time, including these improvisations (which tend to be over the top) in classic songs, sound a little off. I prefer when holiday songs are joyful, heartfelt and classy, not an opportunity for some rookie singer-songwriter to make showy vocal runs that end up sounding like a dying cat – I think Ella and Judy would be quite offended. I like my Christmas songs simple and sweet, sans the risk of off-key elaborations.

Although I can offer those specific reasons for my preference for classic holiday music, my commitment to old Christmas songs, especially of the jazzy kind, simply goes back to the fact that they remind me of happy times in my life. I’m sure many others can relate to how these songs provoke a feeling of home you can’t get anywhere else. As classic holiday tunes are so authentic and well-known, you can find them throughout the most loved movie scenes and stuck in the heads of everyone you know.

Let’s wrap this up with some vivid imagery once again: the soft snow is landing on the roads outside. Your family is hanging up old decorations on your newly cut Christmas tree. You can smell the lingering aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon in the air. What’s that? What’s that faint music you’re hearing? No, definitely not the Biebs’ cover of “Drummer Boy” featuring Busta Rhymes. It’s that rich, comforting voice once again, singing of chestnuts and yuletide. Ah, yes, of course, it’s the melodies of old, once again warming your heart and soul.

Natasha Shantz

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Hi! My name's Natasha and I'm a writer for Her Campus Laurier. Writing had been a home for me since I was in elementary school, typing up fantasy and fairytale novels. I like to write about a broad variety of topics, such as self-improvement, social issues, literature and pop culture. When I'm not writing or studying, you can find me dancing to music in my room, sipping coffee in a cafe, or reading a book.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️