Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the world. As one of the top 60 countries officially declaring it as a holiday, the United States can relate to feeling the spirit of Christmas way earlier than December 25. One of the best signs of seeing the “spirit of the season” is when the radio plays Christmas songs.
So when does Christmas music start on the radio? The safest guess in the United States is immediately after Thanksgiving (November 23). If you’re wondering why that early (and probably think it’s crazy), other countries announce their countdown much earlier – hence having one of the longest Christmas celebrations in the world.
When Will Christmas Music Start Playing on the Radio?
It is important to take note, however, that not every radio station in every city in North America follows the “after Thanksgiving” rule. In fact, it usually falls around the first week of December for the entire nation to really take notice that radio stations start playing Christmas music.
The tradition of playing Christmas songs on the radio dates back as far as 1906. On the night of December 24th that year, a Canadian inventor played the hymn “O Holy Night” with his violin at a radio station in Brant Rock (Massachusetts) – making it the first broadcasted music in history, curiously via AM instead of FM frequency.
Nevertheless, several exceptions exist to the season-mandated schedule of playing Christmas music.
For instance, the Chrismas shops in New England are places never subject to this rule as it is possible to hear solemn hymns and catchy pop jingles via media players all year round the sooner you enter their door.
Speaking of exceptions, unique circumstances can also make radio stations play Christmas music way ahead of the expected calendar timeline.
In fact, a radio station in Detriot, Michigan got the world’s attention for playing Mariah Carey’s iconic pop Yuletide track “All I want for Christmas is You” as well as Wham!’s timeless “Last Christmas” twice a day during the month of March in 2020.
The main reason behind this unusual programing is that the coronavirus pandemic really threw humanity off. With rising death tolls and lockdowns becoming the all-too-familiar dystopian reality, the broadcast director of the WNIC decided to defy and overcome the atmosphere of hopelessness with festive and meaningful music.
It is also important to note that Christmas was not the only theme featured since it also gave way to Independence Day (the one that occurs in March).
Christmas Music Stations
Now that we are in the internet age, almost everything is accessible even before its intended schedule. Music (any type or genre) is just one of the things readily available at your fingertips.
Across the United States, you can access up to 112 online radio stations dedicated to playing anything related to Christmas.
With these channels (most of which are accessible via SiriusXM), there is no need to wait for the day after Thanksgiving or December 1 for the timeless Yuletide songs to come on the radio.
The question is no longer when to listen but where to tune in. Here are some of the best examples worth considering:
- Evergreen Radio station
- Christian Broadcasting Network
- Christmas FM
Christmas Countdown and Jingles
It is natural for every country that celebrates Christmas to have its own national or cultural form of Christmas countdown.
In some places like the Philippines, the countdown starts as early as September 1.
Oddly enough, in some areas in Greece and Syria (i.e., predominantly Orthodox Christians), the countdown stops on January 6 instead of December 25. One can only wonder when is Christmas music on the radio for individuals living in this part of the Christian world.
In the United States, Christmas Day is on December 25 annually. The so-called Great American Countdown unites like-minded Catholics, Protestants, and even some non-Christians in solidarity beginning on the first weekend of December.
In addition to a few songs mentioned earlier, here are some examples of timeless religious and secular jingles that fill the airwaves throughout the days of the Christmas countdown:
|Christmas carols||Classic holiday jingles|
|O Come All Ye Faithful
by King John IV of Portugal
|Have Yourself a Merry Christmas
by Frank Sinatra
by Franz Xaver Gruber & Joseph Mohr
|Frosty the Snowman
by Gene Autry
|Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
by Charles Wesley
|It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
by Andy Williams
|Joy to the World
by Isaac Watts
by Elvis Presley
|O Little Town of Bethlehem
by Phillips Brooks
|Jingle Bell Rock
by Bobby Helms
|Away in the Manger
by William Kirkpatrick
|Let it Snow
by Dean Martin
|It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
by Edmund Sears
|Santa Claus is Coming to Town
by Eddie Cantor
|The First Noel
by John Gardner
|I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
by Jackson 5
|The Three Kings
by Peter Cornelius
|Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
by Gene Autry
Christmas is the time of the year that represents everything good and beautiful in this world. No matter the difference among people in terms of creed, color, or culture, there is always more than one definable thing about Christmas that anyone can agree and celebrate together.
It is not so surprising to think that anyone on earth can ask “when does Christmas music start on the radio?” Without the music that shapes its general atmosphere, Christmas seems to be a very strange holiday to conceive.
Hello! I am Hart, the content writer and editor here at G0HWC. I used to be in the same local radio club with Howe, and he convinced me to join him in spreading my love for the radio with others. With a background in radio studies, I spend every day crafting accurate, easy to read content on various topics related to owning and using radios. I hope that my content can help you confidently venture in your radio journey!