Early, constant holiday music can lead to stress, unhappy feelings

Typically, the day after Thanksgiving – or sometimes before – Christmas music hits the radio air waves. However, psychologists say the early holiday cheer and music can harm your mental health. 

Psychologists have said the early holiday music can upset some people.

“If the tunes start too soon and people tend to have stress responses to the holidays, it activates those stress responses early to shop or to produce a perfect holiday,” said Dr. Scott Bea with the Cleveland Clinic. “If people are prone to that perfectionism, hearing Christmas music too soon can create those associations and ramp up the tension before anything is really happening.”

One poll shows that almost 25 percent of Americans believe that listening to Christmas music is the most stress-inducing part of the holidays. 

Retailers often bring out the holiday decorations for sale as soon as Halloween is over, but it can contribute to stress. Dr. Bea explained that shoppers tend to spend more money when those holiday products are on display and they hear Christmas music in the stores.

“You can block it out a little bit,” he said. “You can either do it physically, if you have little ear buds, or something you can put in to cancel it out, or you can change the station if they’re playing Christmas songs a little too early. You do have a little governance over how this might affect you.”

Dr. Bea said most people can agree that certain songs can be overplayed, and therefore, irritate us after a while.

“For people who’ve had great Christmases, full of celebration and good feelings when they were young, they’re going to be more welcoming of all the cues that go on with Christmas and Christmas music is one of those really powerful cues,” he said.