why i’m listening to christmas music (yes, already)

Last week, I was browsing through the new releases on Spotify when something caught my eye – a new Kelly Clarkson Christmas album.

Now, this isn’t something I’ve talked about often, but Kelly Clarkson’s 2013 Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, is probably one of my favorite records of all my time. Not only is it all the good feels of Christmas, but it’s inextricably linked to every holiday memory I have of the past 8 years. So basically, whenever I hear it, I am swept into the present moment, alive and happy and grateful and belting my can’t-sing-like-Kelly-but-I’m-gonna-keep-trying little heart out like I never stopped.

Y’all, I love that album. I will always love that album. But sometimes, I just wish there was more, you know? So, of course, when I came across this new release, I was so excited, I just couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving.

So I listened. I sang along to the classics. I started learning the originals.

And y’all, it just felt good.

Because that’s what Christmas music does for (at least some of) us. It lifts our spirits. It provides a certain familiarity and consistency that returns us to ourselves. It is so deeply ingrained in our psyches that it’s just as comforting as the sound of a loved one’s voice….or the yell of our favorite goat.

It’s funny how this search for comforting nostalgia has also found me gravitating to a number of albums – often those that were released around this time of year, holding certain specific memories of running out to Target right after school, sliding that new disc into the CD player, and sipping on a peppermint mocha frappuccino. The scents, the sounds, the sensations come whipping back just like the cold air enveloping my early morning commute, pulling me closer to the warmth, the comfort, the good.

So yeah, I’m listening to Christmas music now. In small doses. When I know it will brighten my morning commute, ease the afternoon traffic, or enhance my excitement for online holiday shopping. With all that’s going on in this world, I need it. And maybe you do, too. Whatever musical guilty pleasure eases your pain might be just the key to breaking through all the bad, stressful news.

From Taylor Swift’s Red to Keith Urban’s Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing to a little bit of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” I find myself back in my body. Back in my sweet spot. Ready to take on a new season, a new shot at life, a new beginning that can only be described as coming home again, back from a long, long journey.