If you’re anything like me, you’re probably used to being called the Grinch when you hear Christmas music before Halloween is even over.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Christmas, but I’d be lying if I told you it makes me happy to hear Jingle Bells before I’ve even had the chance to eat my Thanksgiving Turkey.
Gone are the days when you could peruse Target for weeks after Halloween in search of clearance trick-or-treat candy. These days you’ve got a solid 24 hours if you’re lucky before the sweets are scrapped in order to make room for Christmas.
For some, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas for two full months is nothing to complain about. But for others, it’s a mentally draining ordeal.
New research suggests that too much Christmas music can actually be bad for your mental health.
Clinical psychologist Linda Blair suggests that the constant barrage of Christmas music too early in the season forces people focus on the laundry-list of “to-do’s” that have to get done before the holiday.
“It might make us feel that we’re trapped – it’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, and organize celebrations,” Linda says. “Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality.”
According to the American Psychiatric Association, 61 percent of people reportedly experience stress during the Christmas season.
Her point supports the very reason retailers turn to Christmas music, decorations, and reminders of the holiday so early.
Studies show that Christmas music puts shoppers in the spending mood, which drives them to buy more. The tunes, though intended to be cheerful and festive, are also a constant reminder of the stress of the season, and the need to purchase gifts.
Linda says those who work in retail stores are the most at-risk for being conditioned by the holiday tunes to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the tasks of the season. She says it can be seemingly impossible for workers to “tune out” the repetitive jingles, and furthermore become “unable to focus on anything else,” beyond the stresses of the season.
According to a survey of top retailers by the Tampa Bay Times, Best Buy reportedly beat out all other retailers in the “Christmas Creep,” this year, rolling out Christmas music in all of their stores on October 22.
Ultimately, your mental health takes precedence over any to-do list this holiday season. Enjoy as many Michael Buble Christmas hits as you want, but be aware of the cognitive effects it may have on your mental health. If you find yourself in a funk, it might be time to change the radio station or exit the stores for a while.