Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music regularly performed or heard around the Christmas season. Music associated with Christmas may be purely instrumental, or, in the case of carols, may employ lyrics about the nativity of Jesus Christ, traditions such as gift-giving and merrymaking, cultural figures such as Santa Claus, or other topics. Many songs simply have a winter or seasonal theme, or have been adopted into the canon for other reasons.

While most Christmas songs before the 20th century were of a traditional religious character, the Great Depression brought a stream of U.S. songs that did not explicitly mention the Christian nature of the holiday, but rather the more secular traditional Western themes and customs associated with it. These included songs aimed at children such as “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, as well as sentimental ballad-type songs performed by famous crooners of the era, such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “White Christmas”, the latter of which remained the best-selling single of all time as of 2018. Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957) by Elvis Presley is the best-selling Christmas album of all time, having sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Performances of Christmas music at public concerts, in churches, at shopping malls, on city streets, and in private gatherings are a staple of the Christmas season in many cultures across the world. Many radio stations convert to a 24-7 Christmas music format leading up to the holiday; some start as early as the day after Halloween as part of a phenomenon known as “Christmas creep”. Liturgically, Christmas music traditionally ceases to be performed at the arrival of Candlemas, the traditional end of the Christmas-Epiphanytide season.

From Wikipedia, released under the terms of the CC-BY-SA license.