It’s the most wonderful time of the year — but not for awful holiday jams. If I hear a Christmas carol that’s been jazzed up, I go into “Hulk smash” mode. If I’m bombarded by a modern-pop take on an ancient holiday song, the spirit of the season leaves me and I call upon Beelzebub.

But it is the perfect season for self-reflection, and ambient music can complement the contemplative mood that permeates these short days and dark nights. Putting on a meditative soundtrack can help you ponder the mysteries of the universe — spiritual if you’re religious, or the physical if you believe in science. (I’m going to wish people “Happy Hadron!” this year.)

My favored source for such music is, a site that specializes in dark drones and twinkly textures, and provides numerous free mixes to get you into a winter solstice mindset. I’m lately digging several Norwegian artists performing religious music because, unlike Celine Dion, they’ve found a way to bring the ancient into the future.

Listen Now: ”Stille Natt,” a Norwegian Christmas playlist on Spotify.