Some of Your Favorite Christmas Songs Aren’t Really Christmas Songs

Christmas music is an integral part of the holiday. During November and December, the same few dozen Christmas songs are ubiquitous. What’s funny is that some of these Christmas songs aren’t really about Christmas. Here’s a few of them.

Even Santa Claus is shocked that these songs aren’t about Christmas | H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

‘Frosty the Snowman’

You might be surprised, but none of the lyrics of “Frosty the Snowman” mention Christmas or any other holiday. This song is strictly about winter, magic, and enjoying the snow. The popular Rankin-Bass TV special Frosty the Snowman tried to remedy this problem by setting its story around Christmas and giving Santa Claus a minor role. It’s interesting how Frosty has become a major part of America’s Christmas mythology despite having as much to do with the holiday as the Easter Bunny.

A scene from the Rankin/Bass special that cemented “Frosty the Snowman”‘s reputation as a Christmas song | CBS/Courtesy of Getty Images

‘Let It Snow’

“Let It Snow” is a charming little song about a couple keeping each other warm by the fireplace as it snows outside. It’s certainly a lovely song, but there’s nothing Yuletide about it. In fact, there’s a good chance whatever that couple are doing by the fireplace isn’t in line with the religious nature of the holiday.

Oddly enough, “Let It Snow” succumbed to Frosty syndrome. The song lent its title to a popular Netflix Christmas movie despite its lack of a holiday theme. This might be enough to forever associate it with Christmas in the minds of a younger generation that might have otherwise noticed how little it has to do with the season.

‘Winter Wonderland’

Frosty the Snowman became a Christmas song because it mentions a snowman. “Let It Snow” became a Christmas song because it mentions a couple enjoying winter weather. Winter wonderland seems to have become a Christmas song because it mentions a snowman and a couple enjoying winter weather.

Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics, the duo who recorded one of the most famous versions of “Winter Wonderland” | Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

Just because the couple in “Winter Wonderland” are enjoying the snow doesn’t mean their experience has anything to do with Christmas. Maybe the couple in the song are celebrating a cozy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or neopagan winter solstice. Or maybe this song is set during a wintry April. On the other hand, the Eurythmics’ version of this song is so beautiful that if Christmas is an excuse to play it on the radio, so be it.

‘My Favorite Things’

The Sound of Music is certainly family-friendly enough and sentimental enough to fit with Christmas. However, “My Favorite Things” has nothing to do with the holiday. Rather, it’s a song Maria Kutschera uses to comfort the von Trapp children during a storm. 

How exactly did “My Favorite Things” become a Christmas standard? the answer says a lot about Christmas. “My Favorite Things” is just a song about enjoying stuff like mittens and kittens. It captures the joy of receiving presents better than any other song, so it’s become a Christmas song by default.