Celestas are often played in films and orchestras

Many composers, upon hearing the timbre of a celesta, imagine that it is akin to the natural "sound" of water or even light. When Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) arranged a piano piece called "Une Barque sur l'ocean" for the orchestra he used the celesta to represent light glittering on the surface of the ocean. Similarly, Respighi (1879-1936) used the instrument to represent a similar concept in "Fontane di Roma," part of his "Roman Trilogy." Yet another example of how a composer using the celesta to represent concepts such as mystery, water, and light is Richard Strauss (1864-1949), who used the instrument in his "Eine Alpensinfonie" to depict waterfalls.

Celestas, due to their gentle and clear reverberation, are popular instruments in classical music. However, they also make appearances in many film scores. For example, John Williams makes impressive use of the instrument in his scores for the "Star Wars" series and "Harry Potter" series, as well as in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "E.T." The instrument can be heard all throughout the score for "Home Alone," where it creates an atmosphere buried in Christmas snow, glittering in the night.
Celestas are also often used to play Christmas songs, perhaps due to the fact that the instrument first gained worldwide popularity thanks to its use during the Christmas Eve scene in Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."