What are some non-cliche "Holiday" sounds that could be used to decorate a series of commercial spots?

I don't always think of the Holidays as being strictly Christmas sounds, sleigh bells, carols etc.

What about other religions / areas of the world, what sounds do they associate with the Holiday season?

Are there sounds of Kwanzaa? Or, Hanukkah?

  • What type of commercial? Radio or TV? If TV, what do you see on screen? Context would help give a better idea of what to advise on.
    – Utopia
    Oct 6 '10 at 21:59
  • They will be for TV and internet, but I haven't seen them yet. I'm trying to gather as many ideas as possible though.
    – knumbers
    Oct 7 '10 at 15:22

A very vivid sound memory of mine is the sound of a car driving down a gravel driveway, followed by footsteps, and the doorbell. Obviously, I spent a lot of time waiting for family to show up.

Salvation Army bell-ringers, too... and there's a local homeless cellist that plays outside the malls during the holiday season, so I have his renditions of Christmas songs stuck in my head.

  • Ah the bell-ringers, forgot about them. Nice @Dave! Oct 6 '10 at 22:36

I could envision a burp or a meow. Depending on where you are, a car alarm or glass breaking.

  • I like the lateral thinking @Chris. Oct 7 '10 at 20:39

To me it's an English Brass Band. I grew up playing in them and it's the one part of Christmas I really miss in Ireland. My Dad has to ring me up at around 6am Christmas morning so I can hear the band wake the village up with the carol "Christians Awake".


Some free-associated sounds that I would tag for the holidays...

  • excited children in the living room
  • sharpening a carving knife
  • cash registers
  • busy crowds
  • tire bys on slushy streets
  • cold blustery winds
  • fireplace crackles
  • scissors shearing wrapping paper
  • glasses clinking in toast
  • intimate groups of celebratory tone
  • large office parties with a little too much booze and honesty (that one's a little cliché, but still funny)

It's probably obvious that I come from a Xmas-celebrating home in a colder climate. Like Ryan said, knowing what you're selling or how you're selling it would help focus ideas.

EDIT: @Dave's salvation army ringer reminded me of the handbell choir I used to play in, we'd go around to people's parties or homes and perform carols. Pretty Xmassy, but another sound that triggers "holiday" for me.

  • Ahh, scissors on wrapping paper -- such a unique sound. Oct 7 '10 at 3:03
  • @Steve Urban I like the scissors cutting wrapping paper sound, also the sound of scotch tape peeling off the spool.
    – knumbers
    Oct 7 '10 at 15:26
  • @Steve, man, you just got me nostalgic! Oct 7 '10 at 15:30
  • What about cookie sheets being slid into the oven?
    – Utopia
    Oct 10 '10 at 4:49

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