When is the best time to start playing Christmas music?

Drawing of Mariah Carey.

Once again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is just around the corner and, of course, one of the staples of the holiday season is the music that comes along with its celebration. Though, with this music comes controversy; people tend to argue over when Christmas music should first start playing, whether it be on Magic 106.7, 105.7 WROR, or what was many moons ago, Oldies 103.3. 

Along with the 25/8 music on the radio to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ or the coming of Santa Claus, one can now, with the help of improved technology, create playlists on Spotify, Apple Music or other music streaming platforms, in turn giving the user control over what songs they would like to hear at any given time. With the thought of streaming services in mind, it seems as if people are pushing the idea of playing Christmas music during an earlier time of the year. A couple occurrences I can think of off the top of my head include the fact that I woke up to classic songs by the likes of Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Mariah Carey as early as Nov. 2, and the other occurrence being my friend hearing a variety of Christmas songs in the middle of November. 

Now, given these circumstances, it can be seen as pretty obvious that people enjoy celebrating the holidays in what can be perceived as an earlier time than usual. The question, and elephant in the room bears: Is it too early to play Christmas music in November, and if it is or isn’t, what can be seen collectively as an appropriate day or week to start the festivitiesthat is, Christmas? Ashley Dawson and Jenna Post of the Daily Iowan tackle this question, asking when the appropriate time to play this type of music is (1).  Keep in mind that this article was written in early November, which also brings the point that this was seen as a controversial argument just a week following Halloween. 

Dawson, in favor of keeping the holiday spirit alive for nearly two months, makes various valuable claims, including the thought that “some songs are overplayed and mainstream, and retail employees may feel like the music is insufferable when they hear it all day every day at work, but there is such a wide range of Christmas music that isn’t typically played over the speakers at stores, and I feel that a change in the Christmas playlist may ease up on the overplayed aspects” (Dawson). Dawson also had the opinion that Christmas music, like every other form of music, should be all throughout the year, citing that “Christmas music is considered one of the only music genres played during a certain time of year. Love songs are played year-round, not only on Valentine’s Day. What some may call scary metal music is not only played during Halloween, but it is also played whenever one feels like listening to it. Christmas music should be treated the same…Christmas is…for the feeling of togetherness with family, of givingand not only giving gifts, but love and hope and joy” (Dawson). 

Post, on the contrary, believes that Christmas songs are played too early, and makes the point that it shouldn’t “start playing until December, because playing it any time before is ruining it for everyone…I already know there’s going to be someone out there who says that starting it that early builds anticipation…that’s objectively wrong…what actually happens is that we all hear the same four songs covered by different artists everywhere we go” (Post). Post also claims that it “just seems culturally insensitive to only hype up Christmas in every public space imaginable, as if Christmas is the only winter holiday celebrated in this country. Where are my Hannukah bops? 'I Have A Little Dreidel' slaps just as hard as Christmas music” (Post). As one can tell, Post touches on the argument that Dawson made in regards to the repetition of songs, which can definitely be seen as justifiable in terms of the fact that, in reality, we do always hear Mariah Carey, half of The Beatles and Andy Williams, along with Bing Cosby and others. She also points out that other holidays don’t get as much love as Christmas does during the holiday season, and this is evident, given the fact that the radio plays only Christmas songs; this makes the assimilation of the world holiday all the more necessary in our society today.

 The fact of the matter is though, one should enjoy Christmas whenever they please, and can present their holiday spirit to the rest of the world as much as they would like, whether it be Nov. 1, Dec. 1 or on Black Friday. Overall, I usually choose between Black Friday or Dec. 1, but whatever floats one's boat, and that boat should never be targeted with torpedoes for having a different opinion. So, enjoy the holiday season, have a happy and joyful time, and although some of you may love to get into the holiday spirit earlier than others, keep in mind that some may not be in the mood to listen to Christmas music as early as you like to. But for now, as of Dec. 8, it is now usually seen as a time for Christmas music.

(1) https://dailyiowan.com/2019/11/05/point-counterpoint-is-it-too-early-for-christmas-music/

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