DI Voices | Christmas FM delivers joy each holiday season

By Nathaniel Langley, Opinions Editor

It was a month before Christmas, when all through the house, not a Christmas song was playing — not even Mariah Carey.

A resounding quiet lay across the Langley household. For years, holiday sounds stemmed from traditional sources like local radio, Christmas CDs or — employing today’s streaming environment — Apple Music and Spotify playlists. However, following years of repetitive tunes, a Christmas change was overdue.

From a combination of boredom and chance, a new source was discovered a few seasons ago: Christmas FM, Ireland’s Christmas station. However, my voyage into adoring an Irish Christmas radio station begins with iHeartRadio’s North Pole Radio and the foray into live holiday music.

From an early age, I’ve possessed a fascination with live entertainment: “Saturday Night Live,” cable news and car rides blaring Kansas City’s Mix 93.3 captured my childhood passions. Now, this appreciation for “the live” has matured into a seasonal fixation on live Christmas music from the Emerald Isle.

Rather than constantly supplying holiday songs myself, listening to on-air music allows one to appreciate the effort and artistry DJs prepare. Similarly, the moments between songs where sleigh bells ring and a voiceover reminds you to enjoy the holidays are quaintly impressive. With North Pole Radio and Christmas FM, this live phenomenon mixed with snow slipping through outside’s sparkly gusts define my Christmas.

Moreover, my transition from North Pole Radio to Christmas FM began around 2018 when, momentarily and unknowingly, iHeartRadio ended its holiday station. Without a live Christmas sound, I turned to Apple Music’s radio page for holiday refuge. Scouring through silent minutes, salvation was found in Christmas FM.

A live station dedicated to Christmas music 24/7 is better than any gift beneath the tree. Whereas North Pole Radio was decommissioned after each holiday season, Christmas FM endures year-round to my absolute glee.

Nevertheless, a regretful confession: I’m not that Irish. Majority English and German, most of my Irish lineage remains with vague family disclosures of “Your great-great-aunt was possibly Irish.” Is my captivation for Christmas FM my way of living out my Irish heritage fantasy? Possibly. Still, the station is terrific enough that Oliver Cromwell — Ireland’s most hated man —  would concede to its wonders.

In addition to an outstanding holiday catalog, the station’s dedications recounting Irish families’ joys and reunions as well as local traffic updates represent holiday magic. Likewise, the station each year partners with a flagship charity to achieve the true meaning of the holidays: giving to those who can’t.

This year, Christmas FM has partnered with Barnardos, “Ireland’s leading children’s charity, working to give vulnerable children living in disadvantaged communities a better chance – because childhood lasts a lifetime.” Planning to raise €250,000 — around $280,000 — to change 5,000 impoverished children’s lives, Christmas FM delivers not only on spreading holiday music cheer but also Christmas compassion.

What will define the holidays won’t be the new iPhone under the tree or the awkward pair of socks your mom may give nor does it have to be the unnecessary stress of impressing family or lamenting over uncontrollable circumstances.

What embodies the holidays are the loved ones surrounding you, the snowflakes you can discern upon your warm window and the strums of holiday sounds filling your environment.

Christmas FM satisfies my whimsical wish for an Irish Christmas. Wrapped in green, white and orange, the station gifts my home with holiday cheer as radio personalities greet me into Christmas. I invite all to accompany me in this vicarious Irish involvement and to listen to the station and tune into the holidays.

Nathaniel is a junior in LAS.

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