It’s beginning to look a lot like holiday music season. Here’s why we love those songs

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“Write a good secular holiday tune, one that is not limited by very specifically religious imagery in the words, and you might have a perennial hit,” says Larry Starr, professor emeritus of American Music Studies at University of Washington.

Songs like “White Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” have been popular for decades, but music scholars and industry experts note that there isn’t just one formula behind their success. Various factors play a role in making a holiday song a lasting hit.