‘Frightful’ early-season autumn chill leads to spike in Christmas song searches

More than 60 million Americans were under Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories when millions of people searched, played and talked about holiday music – in mid-October.

Can an early autumn chill really put you in the holiday spirit?

A cold front during the week of Oct. 18 may have caused a spike in Christmas songs being played, according to spokesperson for Sonos. An estimated 2.3 million people worldwide searched Christmas music and/or talked about "listening to holiday music" on social media on the morning of Oct. 18, the company said.

Within 24 hours, the number jumped to 3.1 million people searching, playing and talking about Christmas music. The top songs during this period were "Last Christmas" by Wham! and "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey.

The volume of holiday music being played increased throughout the week.

Oh, the weather outside was frightful

Around the same time, an early season cold snap hit the eastern U.S. while an early winter storm swept through the Upper Midwest.


The cold air invasion prompted the National Weather Service to issue Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories for more than 60 million Americans from the central and southern Plains to the Gulf and East coasts. Temperatures were 15-30 degrees below average. 

According to Sonos, the chilly weather indeed put people in a festive mood for the holidays.

"Many people associate holidays with cold, wintery weather, so it was really interesting to see people turn to holiday music for warmth when record low temperatures swept across the nation in mid-October," said the Sonos spokesperson. "It’s exciting to see hard data backing up that sentiment, proving it's true that folks are more likely to listen to their favorite holiday tunes and movies when they’re seeking that extra bit of joy as the nights get longer and the air gets colder."

Sonos gathered this data by using what they called the Sonos S.A.N.T.A. Index, or Seasonal Audio Noise Tracking Aggregator.

Launched on Oct. 13, the S.A.N.T.A. Index uses an algorithm to determine how often Sonos users are searching and playing the 5 most popular holiday songs and movies in their country to determine when holiday cheer reaches critical mass in different regions. 

In the U.S., Sonos has identified these top 5 holiday songs based on historical data:

  1. "All I Want For Christmas"
  2. "It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
  3. "Last Christmas"
  4. "Santa Tell Me"
  5. "White Christmas"

This moment of reaching critical mass marks the official start of the holiday season, according to the S.A.N.T.A. Index.

It's November: Cue the music

In addition to the spike in Christmas songs in mid-October, the S.A.N.T.A. Index also saw similar spikes around the world the day after Halloween

This interest in holiday music is forecast to rapidly increase across most regions throughout the first week of November, according to Sonos.

"As the leaves change and the weather gets cooler, people start to crave comfort and assuage more than ever," the spokesperson said. "Listening to your favorite holiday music or cozying up with a festive movie can help bring nostalgic memories of holidays past to the surface and evoking emotions to feel more this season."