It’s nearly impossible to imagine our favorite Christmas movies without their accompanying film scores. Over the years, those classic songs have become the soundtracks to our own holiday seasons.
Hear the opening chords of Jingle Bells and we’re like Pavlov’s dogs, drooling over the thought of fresh-baked sugar cookies and mugs of hot cocoa by the fire. The film industry knows all too well our deep-seated association between certain tunes and certain memories. That’s one reason why a handful of classic songs show up in movies over and over again. “If you need to set the mood and tell the audience it’s the holiday season, playing Jingle Bells as diegetic sound is a pretty good way to get the point across,” writes Walt Hickey for FiveThirtyEight. (It also helps that many of the classic songs are so old they’re past copyright law, part of the public domain and free to use.)
Here are the most popular Christmas songs in movies, as reported by Forbes:
Can you believe people have been singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas since 1500?!