6 posts
Why we listen to the same Christmas songs

You know it’s the holiday season when Mariah Carey starts singing about wanting you for Christmas. The Washington Post goes into why we listen to the same songs every year: Holiday music burrows into a sweet spot in our brains’ wiring, said Brian Rabinovitz, a lecturer at the College of William & Mary whose expertise is the neuroscience of music. All music can stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers, he said,...

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Where Christmas trees come from

For The Washington Post, Tim Meko and Lauren Tierney: Before the 1930s, Christmas trees typically were cut down on an individual’s property or out in the wild. Now, tree farms in all 50 states (yes, Hawaii too) are where most Christmas trees come from, accounting for 98 percent of live Christmas trees brought into homes. These farms churn out many kinds of conifers, but two main regions — Clackamas County...

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Old Christmas songs get all the play time

Jon Keegan scraped the playlist from the local radio station’s all-Christmas playlist for a few days. Then he looked at play counts and and original composition dates: Considering the year in which each song was written, my dataset spanned 484 years of published music. Of course, many of the older songs are considered “traditional” songs, without a clear writer or composer. One obvious thing about this genre is that it...

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America Imports Lots of Stuff from China, Including Christmas Decorations

Last year, the United States imported more than $460 billion in goods — clothes, toys, gadgets, you name it — from China. Of course, our Christmas decorations were on that list, too. Some $2.2 billion in fake trees, miniature lights and assorted ornaments came from the Middle Kingdom last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s detailed trade database. The Christmas trade in ornaments is big business. It skyrocketed in the...

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12 Days of ChaRt-mas

As everyone has already checked out for the rest of the year, I'm going to mess around with R to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas and nobody can stop me. Read More

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Christmas Charts

It’s been quite the year of randomness and things we never would have imagined at any other time before they occurred. So in the spirit of this year, here’s A Christmas Story for you. I put it in the form of charts, because that’s the only way I know how to communicate. (It’s a problem, I know. I’m working on it. I mean come on, cut me some slack. It’s...

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