When is it too Early for Christmas Music?


“Makin’ Christmas Music” by MorganHolmes is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Kayla Katounas

Now that Halloween is over, stores are beginning to fill their aisles with red and green, and Mariah Carey’s earworm, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, is beginning its annual rise in popularity. All of this early Christmas cheer leads to the ongoing debate–when is it too early to listen to Christmas music? 

According to Billboard, “All I Want for Christmas is You” streams increased 160% percent on November 1 and 2 The song was first released in 1994, and in December of last year, 25 years after its initial release, it hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, topping its previous peak spot at number three in 2018. On November 1, Mariah Carey posted a video to her Twitter caption “Guess What?” The video showed a figure in a black robe and mask opening a door that says “Not yet.” When they opened the door, it showed Carey surrounded by Christmas decorations saying, “It’s time” as the beginning of her number one hit begins to play. The screen then fades to black with a text that reads “It’s time (but let’s get through thanksgiving first)!”

Many agree with Carey’s stance that Christmas music should wait until after Thanksgiving; however, some people disagree. In 2017, The Tampa Bay Times reached out to 100 top retailers to ask when they start playing Christmas music in their stores. Of the retailers that responded, Best Buy started playing Christmas music the earliest, with a starting date of October 22. The largest number of retailers, including Whole Foods, Nordstrom, and Dunkin Donuts, begin playing their holiday music on Black Friday, one day after Thanksgiving. Walmart is a unique case, the store begins gradually adding more Christmas music into their mix starting November 14, until it is entirely Christmas music on Black Friday. After that, they begin to gradually decrease the amount played until there is none on December 26.

Though Christmas music starts being played very early, it could have bad implications for mental health. Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, said in an interview with Sky News,“Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality. Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early.” She continued by adding, “It might make us feel that we’re trapped – it’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations. Some people will react to that by making impulse purchases, which the retailer likes. Others might just walk out of the shop. It’s a risk.”

Though it may be unavoidable every time you visit your local Walmart, Christmas music is probably best listened to after Thanksgiving. Consider Black Friday the date to start streaming your favorite holiday tunes!