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, but holiday music can evoke treasured memories on top of that, courtesy of the brain’s filing system. Tonal patterns and autobiographical events are processed in overlapping regions of the medial prefrontal cortex.
Kind of the same reasons why we watch re-runs.
See also Jon Keegan’s analysis of old Christmas songs.