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Stop playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving to respect tradition, preserve holiday excitement

Art by Rachel Lee

Immediately after Halloween, radio stations and stores – and maybe your friends – insisted on playing “Frosty the Snowman,” even though Christmas is still more than a month away.

According to Statista, 85% of people report enjoying festive music, but for some people, Christmas songs are not reminders of jolly memories but instead are memories of missing out on the promises of the holidays and its stress-inducing ties to holiday shopping. Because of this, playing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving Day is a mistake.

While I advocate against playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving Day, I do not think an individual who listens to this kind of music by themselves, or alone or with headphones, should change their music selections. People should listen to whatever they want as long as no one else can hear it. However, in cases where the music is broadcast to the public, people should be careful about the general acceptance of Christmas-themed music.

While many say the sentiment of early November to December is jolly, the holidays are not a universal oasis of joy, warmth and excitement. For some, Christmas serves as a reminder of financial strain. Because Christmas songs tend to be romantic, hearing Christmas songs might also intensify feelings of loneliness and missing out.

Playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving also ruins the vibe of the late-fall tradition.

While the history of Thanksgiving is problematic –– don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy of Black Friday being the day after Thanksgiving –– the general reason to celebrate Thanksgiving is to give thanks.

By playing Christmas music, which many people associate with holiday shopping, people are less likely to think about giving thanks and more about holiday deals.

While the spirit of winter holidays and Thanksgiving are similar, they are ultimately different.

The holiday season is commonly defined as the period between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and such music should be played during, and only during, this time.

Also, because popular Christmas songs tend to be simple pop songs, people are likely to get tired of them by Christmas. According to Dr. Michael Bonshor of the University of Sheffield, an expert in music psychology, repeatedly listening to a simple song can decrease the appreciation for the song.

If you stream Christmas music before Thanksgiving, people are likely to become tired of the festive songs by the time Christmas spirits are supposed to be high. The most commonly played Christmas songs are simple pop songs. Especially because the top Christmas songs like “All I Want for Christmas is You,” “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman,” are all simple songs, people are very likely to become tired of the songs by Christmas if they’ve heard them for two months. I doubt you’ve genuinely enjoyed the 17th time you’ve heard the bell chimes at the beginning of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” By playing Christmas-themed songs only after Thanksgiving, people are likely to become more spirited, despite hearing Christmas music for a shorter period of time.

It’s natural to feel the lure of Christmas and the holidays in November. With the weather getting colder and days shorter, the cues for winter are everywhere. But while it may already feel like Christmas, it’s not. Let’s not lose the spirit of the fall. This year, let’s not saturate November with the same songs. Turn on the (virtual) fireplace instead of listening to “Baby it’s Cold Outside” on repeat. It’s cozier and more relaxing.

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