Problematic Christmas songs? Just ban them all

There’s this ridiculous debate about banning “Baby It’s Cold Outside” going around. I have a better solution: just ban all Christmas music in public.

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There’s this ridiculous debate about banning “Baby It’s Cold Outside” going around. I have a better solution: just ban all Christmas music in public.

Consumer Reports found that 36 percent of shoppers report having left a store because Christmas music was playing. Other studies show that Christmas music makes 17 percent of shoppers irrationally angry. That seems unfair, considering that I number among them and I’m always rational. Just ask my husband. Whenever I am irrationally angry it is for a very rational reason.

I used to love Christmas music in every form. I sang in my school’s Christmas pageant each year, and I still know all the songs by heart.

But Christmas music in public just makes me uncomfortable. Anything that mentions Jesus makes me feel awkward. Why is this the one time of year that it’s normal to hear religious songs everywhere? Walmart isn’t pumping “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” over the speakers for the two months leading up to Easter. Grocery stores don’t give us eight straight days of “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” over Hanukkah.

I don’t feel any better if the music is non-denominational. If I’m out shopping and I hear a grown man croon a jazzy rendition of “All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth” I think of that retail worker who has to listen to it multiple times a shift from the first of November to Dec. 25.

Don’t get me wrong — on my own time I love to pa-rum-pa-pa-pum with the Little Drummer Boy and hear Mariah Carey sing about how all she wants for Christmas is me (truly Mariah, I’m flattered). But working in a retail store that plays any form of Christmas music sounds like hell.

Not only do retails workers have to deal with the monsters we become when we get behind a shopping cart, but they have to do it while listening to Michael Bublé? Pure torture.

Psychologist Linda Blair says that constant Christmas music is actually harmful to retail workers’ mental health. Imagine all of the stresses that a retail job entails, then add to that the energy it takes to tune out your most hated Christmas song for the fifth time that day.

For me that song would be “Christmas Time is Here.” It’s a downer of a melody sung by a clinically depressed children’s choir. The song sounds more like a ghostly recording of Victorian orphans who died in a button factory fire on Christmas than a carol.

https://youtu.be/4PzetPqepXA

So why do stores fire up their Christmas playlists in November and keep them going until the calendar changes? If it leaves employees frazzled and makes over a third of shoppers abandon their carts in the aisle and storm out of the Payless in protest, why play Christmas music nonstop?

Funnily enough, it’s not because corporate America is filled with the Christmas spirit. Studies have shown that people spend more when they hear Christmas music.

For that reason alone Christmas music will never be banned. And considering that the majority of people actually enjoy listening to it, that’s fair. For the rest of us, those who break out in hives when we hear sleigh bells, I have another solution.

Scientists have found that singing has surprising health benefits. It can improve the singer’s mood, lower blood pressure and even increase a sense of bonding with other people. That sounds like the perfect antidote to Christmas shopping.

So if a Christmas song sets your teeth on edge, it might help to sing along. Sing out to the whole store that you want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Make sure everyone knows that you want a ‘54 convertible too, light blue. Join young Michael in a duet and accuse your mother of kissing Santa Claus.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em in song.

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10 comments
  1. I love Christmas music. It just warms my heart and gets me in the mood to open up my pocket book and start shopping for my family. The ones that don’t well they should just shop online!

  2. I love Christmas music. It just warms my heart and gets me in the mood to open up my pocket book and start shopping for my family. The ones that don’t well they should just shop online!

  3. I worked in commercial radio several years ago and every DJ I worked with HATED the Christmas season. They were required to play 25%Christmas music four weeks before Christmas, 50% two weeks before, 75% the week before and a full 100% the week of Christmas. How many times can you be forced to listen to Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer before you go stark raving crazy?

  4. I worked in commercial radio several years ago and every DJ I worked with HATED the Christmas season. They were required to play 25%Christmas music four weeks before Christmas, 50% two weeks before, 75% the week before and a full 100% the week of Christmas. How many times can you be forced to listen to Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer before you go stark raving crazy?

  5. Speaking as someone who worked ‘high end, ladies, full service, fashion retail’ through university and when my family elders were aging/getting ready to pass, the playing of Christmas music in stores is truly cruel and unusual punishment. From as early as October, the very same sequence of ‘acceptable’ music (let’s face it, that cuts out a LOT of variety) plays over and over and OVER. In order to avoid becoming anxious and ‘crusty’ it takes an exorbitant amount of energy… energy that could (and should) be given to our clients.
    Now that I’ve been medically retired due to destruction of my Achilles’ tendon aquired from said occupation, after 3 years I’m finally feeling less anxious this season… but I still feel that familiar uneasy feeling if I enter a store. For that reason, I’ve taken to online shopping… at least that way I’ll have enough sanity to be able to play a couple of hours of it during my family Christmas gathering.

  6. Speaking as someone who worked ‘high end, ladies, full service, fashion retail’ through university and when my family elders were aging/getting ready to pass, the playing of Christmas music in stores is truly cruel and unusual punishment. From as early as October, the very same sequence of ‘acceptable’ music (let’s face it, that cuts out a LOT of variety) plays over and over and OVER. In order to avoid becoming anxious and ‘crusty’ it takes an exorbitant amount of energy… energy that could (and should) be given to our clients.
    Now that I’ve been medically retired due to destruction of my Achilles’ tendon aquired from said occupation, after 3 years I’m finally feeling less anxious this season… but I still feel that familiar uneasy feeling if I enter a store. For that reason, I’ve taken to online shopping… at least that way I’ll have enough sanity to be able to play a couple of hours of it during my family Christmas gathering.

  7. It has to be for one reason only: :Studies have shown that people spend more when they hear Christmas music.” Personally, most of it is annoying. I grew up singing it. Choruses, school choir, church choir too, but now I vacillate between wanting to sing it and being annoyed by it. If it were banned by shops, I wouldn’t miss it.

  8. It has to be for one reason only: :Studies have shown that people spend more when they hear Christmas music.” Personally, most of it is annoying. I grew up singing it. Choruses, school choir, church choir too, but now I vacillate between wanting to sing it and being annoyed by it. If it were banned by shops, I wouldn’t miss it.

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