Once And For All, An Answer To "How Early Is Too Early To Listen To Christmas Music?"

by S. Atkinson

With the festive season hurtling towards you like a precisely-aimed snowball, it raises one crucial question. Namely, how early is too early to listen to Christmas music? While you might think the vast majority of voters would be divided between "never" (as in, it's never too early) and "never" (imagine it in a Chandler Bing voice), when you poll audiences with specific dates, people will give you a very clear answer. Out of the readers polled in the Bustle Hive, BDG's proprietary reader panel, only the tiniest sliver are complete Grinches when it comes to a festive soundtrack. A mere 2 percent think that it is never acceptable to start listening to Christmas music. Yikes.

While logic might have led you to expect most readers to select the beginning of December for the perfect time to start listening to Yuletide tracks (after all, it's the same month, right?), actually just 9 percent think December 1 is the best time to start listening to "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," or, you know, any other Christmas music. This is closely followed by seasonal obsessives — just 12 percent think that you should "always" listen to Christmas tracks. So when's good? Just over a quarter of readers, 26 percent, polled think November 1 is the optimal time to start listening to the music appropriate to Yuletide.

But according to most of you, there's no debate. 52 percent believed any time "after Thanksgiving" was the most acceptable time to get stuck into Wham's "Last Christmas." For those readers who aren't based in the United States, Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday in November. So it's awfully close to the beginning of December.

But if you think the fourth November is far too late, you might not be alone. According to The New York Post, millennials skew more in favor of Christmas music than other demographics. The paper cited a study from Nielsen which described how 36 percent of those aged between 18 to 34 are fans of seasonal music in comparison to 25 percent of Baby Boomers (which Nielsen defines as those aged over 55). Even Generation X is more skeptical of Christmas music than millennials, with only 31 percent of those aged between 35 and 54 rooting for that Yuletide beat.

And no, this isn't based on the Christmas songs being modern. As The New York Post observes, this was a surprising result precisely because eight of the top ten Christmas songs played on the radio in 2016 were released between 1944 and 1970. The millennial love for seasonal music is apparently just pure delight in some festive cheer.

But that passion for the music that accompanies Santa's foray across the globe might not actually be a good thing. According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, who spoke with Sky News in October 2017, Christmas music can be damaging for mental health. However, this was limited to the example she gave of shop workers who are exposed to the music for long periods of time, saying:

"People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out, tune out Christmas music, because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else. You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing."

Given the fact that she's talking about an excessive, enforced exposure to Christmas music, you'll probably be fine. Well, unless your roommate's that much more into "Feliz Navidad" than you are. But until that moment comes, turn the volume up — since it's well past Thanksgiving now, so there's no need to feel guilty about enjoying the sound of the season.