It is that time of year where one of the biggest controversies comes up again: How early is too early for Christmas music? Playing Christmas music during November can not only affect your Christmas spending, but also your mental health. Christmas music belongs in December, playing it any sooner should be illegal.
Every year, Christmas music is played earlier and earlier; this occurrence is known as the Christmas Creep. Although Christmas music creates a feeling of warm, fuzzy spirits, playing it too early can cause stress and anxiety. According to Scott Dehorty, a licensed certified social worker and the executive director at Maryland House Detox, “. . . [Christmas music] can trigger thoughts of how many people we need to shop for, party planning, traveling, seeing relatives we may not want to see, and all sorts of negative feelings.” Christmas music causes an overwhelming spiral of all the things on our to-do lists. It makes the short months of November and December feel even shorter, which makes us feel like there is too much to do, and too little time to do it. No wonder some of us dread the coming of Christmas; it is a stressful and anxiety-filled time. Playing Christmas music earlier than December can jump-start the spiral of stress (Holland).
On the flip side of that coin, Christmas music can perpetuate consumerist tendencies in unsuspecting shoppers. As soon as midnight strikes on Halloween night, store owners are rushing to throw up Christmas decorations on the shelves and blast a wintery audio assault over the store speakers. The combination of playing Christmas music and Christmas scents - such as pine or peppermint - causes a merry, joyful Christmasy feeling in shoppers. When consumers feel this Christmas magic, it makes them want to stay in the store a little longer. The longer that customers stay in a store, the more purchases they will make, whether they realize it or not. Most consumers enter the store for a few groceries and end up leaving with a cartload of Christmas decorations. Certain Christmas songs work better for that aspect. Faster paced songs move customers through the stores at a quicker rate, so big retail stores are more likely to play slower paced songs to encourage the shoppers to linger even longer. Retail stores do not play Christmas tunes out of joy for the season; instead they play it to take advantage of the holiday season and to encourage overspending (Stoppard).
Christmas music is also a threat to any retail worker’s sanity. The first time you hear a song, you gradually like it more and more until you reach the point where you have heard it too many times. Then it just becomes annoying and irritating. The holiday becomes a dreaded time for workers who will have to endure hours upon hours of the same songs. Workers have to focus on tuning the ‘cheerful’ Christmas music out for eight hours a day, six days a week. Trying to ignore hearing “All I Want for Christmas” while also tending to impatient customers gets exhausting. Holiday cheer is a great thing when it is real, but trying to fake the holiday cheer can be a heavy load to carry. Plus, having to force the excitement for two months leaves little room for genuine holiday exuberance (Holland).
Christmas music has many negative effects on people when it is played too early. It affects your mental health, Christmas spending, and retail workers sanity. So, if you are a Christmas enthusiast, keep in mind that Christmas music is dangerous and listening to Christmas tunes too early goes against the point of joyful Christmas music, corrupts authentic sentiments of goodwill toward men, and undermines the true reason for the season. All that being said, just remember that Santa cannot stuff his sleigh until after you have stuffed the turkey.
For the "He Said" portion of "He Said, She Said," click the attached link to hear what Mason has to say about playing Christmas music while the turkey is still gobbling: https://www.fusfoo.com/article/9983/He-Said-She-Said-The-Case-for-Christmas-Music-Before-Thanksgiving.html
Holland, Kimberly. “Is Christmas Music Bad for Your Mental Health?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Nov. 2017, www.healthline.com/healthnews/is-christmas-music-bad-for-mental-health#The-effect-on-employees. Accessed 19 Nov. 2020.
Stoppard, Miriam. “Christmas Songs Playing in Shops Will Make You Spend More, According to Science.” Mirror, 17 Dec. 2018, www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/christmas-songs-shops-make-you-13746101. Accessed 18 Nov. 2020.