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Released: 2013

Putting on the record needle and letting the track spin, “Wrapped In Red” by Kelly Clarkson hits us with contemporary pop hooks draped in a classic Christmas sound blanket. The song is a heartfelt declaration of love tinged with the motifs of Christmas, uniting the theme of the holiday season with pop music sentimentality on an axis of boldness and vulnerability.

Right off the gate, Clarkson sets a scene painted with hallmarks of Christmas. Snow is falling and prayers are being answered, creating an atmosphere that screams holiday spirit. But then, within this stereotypical holiday tableau, she introduces a personal narrative, confessing a long-kept secret love she’s harbored, silenced by fear of rejection.

Then enters the chorus. “This Christmas, I’m gonna risk it all.” In this refrain, we see Clarkson deciding to throw caution to the wind and express her feelings. She’s on their doorstep, armed with “nothing more than words I’ve never said.” “In all this white, you’ll see me like You’ve never seen me yet.” With these lines, she emphasizes her vulnerability and nervous anticipation of revealing her emotions, tying it to the purity and transformation that’s associated with the Christmas season.

She introduces the colours, blue, green, and silver, to emphasize her emotional journey. Blue symbolizes her past sadness, green being the temptation of materialistic pursuits, whilst silver, the traditional color of festivity and fun, reminds her that she wants the mistletoe moments, the closeness – but with ‘you’.

And finally, the crowning “Wrapped in Red” phrase. Red, traditionally associated with love, passion and Christmas itself, symbolizes the new version of Kelly that’s going to confess her love, wrapped in the boldness of her feelings. The repetition of it serves as a testament to her newfound resolution to express her feelings.

The song cycles through these themes again, reinforcing her determination to express her feelings, wrapping it up with her declaration of being ‘wrapped in red’. With this song, Kelly is not just releasing a Christmas song. She’s giving us a genre-spanning, emotional narrative, with all the pop hooks we love her for, and the lyrical depth that tugs at our heartstrings.

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