Jingle hall the way

Sabine Gratch, Staff Writer

It’s December and the halls of ETHS seem eerily quiet, despite the holiday cheer all around Evanston. Students hear lockers slamming, bells ringing and classmates laughing but something is missing – holiday music. All types of holiday music would benefit students in numerous ways. As we head into the stressful time of finals, holiday music can evoke feelings of joy for students, and, despite the diversity of faiths practiced at ETHS, holiday music unites students.

As winter fully sets in, the sky gets cloudy, the temperature drops and the stress of finals creep up on students; students need a way to relieve bubbling stress.
According to Mayo Clinic, around 10 percent of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder annually. SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, particularly in winter.

Playing holiday music throughout the halls is a perfect way to help soothe students. Multiple scientific studies have shown that holiday music makes you feel joyful because it brings up feelings of nostalgia. In the 2013 study, “Trying to Be Happier Really Can Work: Two Experimental Studies,” Yuna Ferguson of the University of Missouri showed that participants who listened to upbeat music reported being more happy than those who listened to more somber music. Since the majority of holiday music choices are high-tempo and in major keys, students would benefit from listening as they travel the hallways of ETHS.

The biggest hindrance in solely playing Christmas music (the most mainstream form of holiday music) is religion; many argue that it excludes followers of other faiths. Keeping this in mind, the administration should play holiday music instead. Holiday music can bring students together at ETHS.

“My family is Muslim but that doesn’t mean we hate Christmas,” senior Iman Musinovic said. “In fact, we grew up listening to holiday music all the time and, personally, Christmas feels more American than attached to any religion.”

In fact, over half of the top 30 Christmas carols played in the United States were written by Jewish composers. Holiday classics “White Christmas” written by Irving Berlin and “A Holly Jolly Christmas” written by Johnny Marks, are just a few of the many Christmas carols that have been written by Jewish composers. A common misconception regarding holiday music is that it’s affiliated with Christianity. However, there are many iconic holiday classics such as “Jingle Bells,” and “Winter Wonderland” that have no religious affiliation; they are just about wintertime.

As this year’s holiday season wraps up, the ETHS administration should consider other ways to spread holiday cheer besides selling candy grams for next year. If the school was to create a holiday music playlist for next year, all students can experience the positive outcomes of holiday music. If we spread the cheer in the hallways through holiday music, students will spread cheer amongst themselves.