Why does Christmas sound like bells?

Ronettes — Sleigh Ride.jpg

Nothing summons misty-eyed nostalgic visions of sugarplum fairies and snow-dappled fir trees like the soft jingling of sleigh bells. Every tune with even a passing connection to Christmas busts out the tinkling percussion to get you in the seasonal spirit, but why are bells the indisputable sound of Christmas? How did our brains get rewired to associate sleigh bells with holly-decked halls?

In this brief, festive episode, I won’t really answer that question (not satisfactorily, anyway — I don’t have the research team to make this happen), but let’s ponder it together in this bite-sized treat that you can call on when the Christmas Day conversation turns to politics. Astound Aunty Doris with your moderately-researched ideas rather than have to listen to talk about “those people” for the millionth time. You’re a retiree, Doris; no one’s taking your job.


As always, you can find playlists for this episode on Apple Music and Spotify. These seasonal varieties feature some of the least-agonising carols that bring up bells, and come with a Bublé-free guarantee.*

If you’re a keen bean where music is concerned, why not join the Key Change Facebook group? Add to a conversation, or start one! There’s no entry requirements or gatekeeping; just be enthusiastic, respectful, and a good listener, and you’ll be welcome.

*if you like Bublé, more power to you — I, for one, have spent enough time with his Christmas album during my time in retail to sustain me for this life.