This I knew, because as a boy chorister my personal repertoire of party pieces was almost exclusively culled from Sing Round The Year, a songbook of carols that starts Christmassy and then spans the calendar, which was compiled and mostly composed by Donald Swann, once the man at the piano in comedy duo Flanders and Swann.
Nonetheless, there is a great deal of music that is associated with this season, and the season seems particularly associated with music - and not just one sort of music. This is in contrast to other areas of performance, where Scottish Ballet may have just opened a new Hansel And Gretel, but it is working within a clear tradition of storytelling narrative dance that is popular at this time of year. In our theatres, panto still reigns supreme, although now partnered by a particular style of family-friendly animated storybook shows (The Jungle Book, A Christmas Carol) that are only produced for the Christmas season.
Christmas music, however, runs the stylistic gamut. In the classical choral tradition, JS Bach provided a Christmas Oratorio, but then he covered every other week in the ecclesiastical calendar as well. Handel's remarkable Messiah is a perennial favourite - I am clocking up attendance at three performances this year, each very different - although the Christmas story in that is over and done with halfway through and the whole work seems more suited to an Easter concert date.
Alongside the Nativity carols, many of the older songs we sing at this time of year are far from explicitly Christian in their content and musically cover everything from shanties to madrigals. In the modern era, the Christmas song has lost none of its lustre, with the UK obsessed with the No.1 Christmas single, which this year has again seen the now traditional online mobilisation to give that accolade to anything more appropriate and admirable than the latest TV talent show churn-out.
The US market, on the other hand, just gets on with the production of Christmas music, some of it very classy (I have already drawn attention to new albums by Mary J Blige and Nick Lowe in The Herald's pages), and some rather less so (Boston's new version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, for example).
So here is a trio of Yule recordings, arbitrarily sourced from the turn of the new century, which you should seek out if you do not know them. They cover very different aspects of Christmas. Materialism is pretty much defined in Eight Days Of Christmas by Destiny's Child, with Beyonce's rewrite including a Mercedes coupe among the list of gifts from her true love, presumably prophetically.
The spiritual side of the season is movingly dealt with on Low's Long Way Round The Sea, where the slow-core trio are at their most instrumentally minimal on a close-harmony retelling of the Wise Men's Herod-avoiding journey home from Bethlehem. I heard it recently at Edinburgh's new Christmas installation in St Andrew's Square, while Glasgow's George Square seemingly has Mariah Carey's Christmas appeal on a loop. There's not much wrong with that song either, but the contrast speaks eloquently of the difference between the cities.
My final choice, for the Bah Humbug tendency, is from a Greentrax album of that title, and is Robin Laing's folk tribute to un-hymned seasonal workers. If my experience is anything to go by, you will find that the gory details of The Man That Slits The Turkeys' Throats For Christmas goes down particularly well with boisterous young boys. Even choristers.