It’s finally November and if you’re not a fan of Christmas music, chances are that you’ve managed to avoid Christmas music pretty successfully so far, and that’s seemingly only going to get harder and harder the closer to December – and Christmas, we get. While nothing can truely prepare yourself for hearing songs like “All I Want for Christmas,” and “Frosty the Snowman” playing nine thousand times on the radio, in stores and just about everywhere in between, you may find yourself trying to block out the tune for a different reason this year.
According to a clinical psychologist by the name of Linda Blair, the relentless holiday tunes we catch ourselves humming to each year can be mentally draining and bad for your health.
“People working in the shops at Christmas have to tune out Christmas music, because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else,” Blair recently told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.” She added.
You may forget Christmas music even exists, but according to Spotify reports, Spotify customers are causing listening spikes during the last two months of the year, with Michael Bublé’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” top the list of most streamed tunes.
So how exactly is the music bad for our health? Blair says that incessant repetition can have a psychological impact according to a U-shaped relationship between how often we hear a song and how much we like it, what is also known as the mere exposure effect. Holiday music may initially spark nostalgia and get you in the holiday spirit, although hearing “Jingle Bells” for the millionth time can lead to annoyance, boredom, and even distress, according to researchers. Those feelings are caused by the brain becoming oversaturated, and in-turn triggering a negative response. Among other things, listening to holiday music consistently can also just simply be downright distracting to those in a workplace, affecting employee productivity and irritating consumers. In fact, a 2011 Consumer Reports survey found that 23 percent of Americans absolutely dread holiday music and their time working during the holidays due to it.
Blair also stated that the continuous playing of Christmas music in the car or at stores reminds people of all the things they need to do before the holiday arrives, which also results in stress growing in an individual.
“You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” Blair stated when explaining that store workers were “more at risk” of being mentally drained by the array of cheerful music. “The same songs being played constantly makes it hard for employees to “tune it out” and “unable to focus on anything else.” She then added, “Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early.”
Although, if you aren’t the Grinch of your family and are in fact a fan of Christmas music, and are concerned about the holiday season fast approaching, you can avoid the negative impact it may cause by simply switching up your music playlist, and convincing your boss to let you shake up the stores playlist might do wonders for the people around you too. Playing the same Christmas songs all season long produces cognitive fatigue so remember to practice good sound management by varying your playlists and keeping the volume in check.
The newspaper also recently conducted a poll about the most appropriate time to start playing Christmas music. The results showed that more than 50% of the participants said it was best to begin listening to holiday music after the American holiday of Thanksgiving which is held on November 22nd.