The holidays are here— so you better strap in. Because it’s coming. All the time. Wherever you go. The onslaught of Christmas carols arrive when the clock strikes 12 on the first of December… and make your ears bleed until Christmas has passed. And I know I sound like a Scrooge, but I’m not alone in my inability to stomach Santa Clause Is Coming To Town for a month straight or the only one who cringes when those damn ships start sailing in (on Christmas day in the morning). All of the music is just too much— and now science has proved it.
It’s not the Christmas carols themselves that are the problem, per se, but the relentlessness of them. A study of more than 2,000 customers and staff by Soundtrack Your Brand found that, on both sides of Atlantic, it’s doing our heads in. In fact, a quarter of the staff said the constant rotation of carols made them feel less festive and one in six said that the Christmas music actually hurt their emotional well being. To keep from causing harm, the report suggested that holiday music should be played at a rate of one song every 10 minutes— a very different picture than what we see now. Because what we see now can actually cause real problems. “This adverse effect may hurt service quality, since emotionally damaged staff may not deliver top-notch service,” it explained.
And it’s not just the staff. 25 percent of British shoppers and 17 percent of American shoppers also said they disliked the amount of holiday music. And you can see why. Firstly, for people who don’t celebrate Christmas the amount of carols you’re force fed every year can be nauseating. And secondly, even if you do like Christmas (and the music), a whole day of holiday shopping can mean hearing about Frosty the Snowman about 25 different times from morning until night. There’s a reason adults don’t like reading children’s books over and over (even if we’re willing to do it for them)— the simple words repeated ad nauseam start making you feel like you’re going mad. But for some reason, around Christmas, we all are subjected to a similar, infuriating loop. 43 percent of those who didn’t like the music said it was too repetitive and 23 percent said it was too materialistic. It’s pretty impossible to argue with either point.
I don’t mean to put a damper on the holidays but, as Shakespeare said, “sweets grown common lose their dear delight”. So if we really want to savor the holiday spirit— if you do celebrate Christmas and love everything about it— maybe you should tone it down a bit. We all know it’s annoying to listen to your favorite song so many times that you start to hate it, so why do we do it with a whole genre of songs? Maybe we should save them for those special moments or, at the very least, give us a break when we’re doing grocery shopping. Now and then.