Rachelle Deng ‘20
Jingle Bell Rock? More like Jingle Bell Stop! – at least until Thanksgiving is over. Every year, it seems as though the hype for Christmas music increases more and more, way before the Christmas season begins. Though a good amount of Christmas cheer is very much needed, British psychologist Linda Blair recently found that playing Christmas music too early is, in fact, bad for the brain.
What could be wrong with some simple holiday music? The main effects of premature Christmas music on the brain are added stress and anxiety due to pressure strain. According to Blair, early Christmas music is “a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.” So while some people may be getting in the early holiday spirit, others are already worrying about what gifts to give, which cards to write, and what foods to cook on Christmas Day. What should be a fun and relaxing time of year is quickly overpowered by the thought of huge amounts of chores and tasks to get done.
Many large retail stores are also contributing to the problem of creating more stress for shoppers by playing Christmas music and emphasizing Christmas gifts and decorations way before it is necessary for shoppers to be worried about these things. The pressure placed on society to always buy the perfect gift or have the perfect decorations during the season is emphasized when stores start displaying all things Christmas at the start of November. This means that mall or retail workers are at the most risk for holiday season stress. More Christmas music and decorations lead to more thought about tedious Christmas tasks, leading to increased anxiety levels.
To compare, hearing Christmas music and seeing Christmas decorations too early is similar to seeing school supplies go on sale when summer has barely started. When a student is enjoying their summer holiday and suddenly encounter familiar school-associated objects such as freshly sharpened pencils or sets of binders, they are reminded of the stress they undergo during the school year. The same phenomenon occurs to everyday shoppers when they hear Christmas music too early, leading to holiday anxiety.
Of course, Christmas music brings cheer to those who not experience any stress around the holidays, and is a form of joy for people excited about the holiday season. If one only has positive Christmas experiences, then Christmas music will bring about positive vibes for that person. But for all those who have large events to plan, important gifts to buy, and huge shopping lists to complete, it is best to tone down the music for now. After all, who wants a blue Christmas?