12/21/2011 04:21 pm ET

Why The Christmas-Song Canon Has A Baby-Boomer Bias

Titled simply "Tradition," the popular web comic xkcd recently offered a theory about Christmas pop songs-specifically, the ones that never seem to go away. With a chart showing the years of release for the 20 most popular songs according to 2000-2009 radio airplay, the caption from Randall Munroe read, "Every year, American culture embarks on a massive project to carefully recreate the Christmases of Baby Boomers' childhoods." It's a snappy-sounding idea, and indeed, all of the top 20 songs were published and first performed during the 1940s and 1950s. But it can't be that simple, can it? Does the Christmas canon have a boomer bias, or are there other reasons why we can't escape "White Christmas" and "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?"