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Mental Health

Listening to Christmas Music Right After Halloween?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Halloween came to a brisk end just a few weeks ago and Christmas decorations are already popping up left and right with Thanksgiving being pushed to the side. Now, why do people seem to skip over Thanksgiving and start to celebrate Christmas right after Halloween? Christmas is very merry, bright, and festive, and Thanksgiving doesn’t always have the same effect. Christmas has the lights, the music, the traditions, the movies, the “legends” of Santa Claus and other stories. Thanksgiving is more subtle on that aspect — it doesn’t mystify younger generations as well as Christmas and the Christmas season does. I wonder, though, does listening to Christmas music and beginning the Christmas season early have any benefits mentally, or is it all just for fun?

“Several scientific studies have shown that uplifting music — like Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman and A Holly Jolly Christmas, to name a few — has been known to have a positive effect both physically and psychologically. According to these studies, the feelings associated with listening to music can be sorted into two categories: perceived emotions (when we appreciate the emotional tone of the piece, but don’t feel that emotion ourselves) and felt emotions. Felt emotions are when we connect to the feeling behind the piece we are listening to and it can impact our emotional state” (Browne.) Therefore after Halloween, a dark and mysterious holiday, it would make sense to try and get yourself feeling “jolly” again. Listening to Christmas music, as said above, helps connect us to emotions and good feelings.

While that was more on the emotional side, holiday music has also been shown to improve your memory: “It’s beneficial to your attention span and executive functioning, and music therapy is even useful in treating people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some Alzheimer’s patients with severely impaired memory or ability to hold a conversation have been shown to light up and even sing along with their favorite songs” (Holiday.) Christmas music not only can make you feel happy, but can also help you focus. This week I tried experimenting with the music I listen to in order to see which kind made me feel most productive. I listened to the kind of music I normally do, kind of indie rock-ish music and slow-paced songs, and then I listened to a Christmas playlist. Throughout the week I felt kind of sluggish listening to my regular music. On Thursday, however, I listened to Christmas music and I got so much done. I deep cleaned my room and I took three quizzes for school. There is a chance it could’ve been because it was Thursday and I needed to get it done, but I felt extremely productive overall. It seemed like the holiday music helped me focus on what I needed to get done.

So it’s clear that there are benefits of playing your Christmas playlist early, like increased happiness levels, nostalgic memories, focusing on work, improving memory, reducing stress, and even reducing pain. This is just one side of things though, could there be a disadvantage of listening to Christmas music early? “Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says listening to Christmas music too early into the holiday season may affect mental health by triggering feelings of stress. Hearing a Christmas song can spark thoughts of all the things you have to do before the holiday, like shopping, party planning and traveling” (O’Kane.) Moreover, “Hearing the same songs over and over each day could make workers struggle to “tune it out” and they become “unable to focus on anything else,” Blair told the UK’s Sky News. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing” (O’Kane.) Listening to Christmas music constantly at your place of work can be annoying and, again, even stress-inducing. “At first, holiday music may spark nostalgia and get you in the holiday spirit. But hearing “Jingle Bells” for the millionth time can lead to annoyance, boredom, and even distress, researchers say” (Wilding.) Do the benefits of bringing joy and nostalgic memories outweigh the feelings of distress and annoyance? So, it’s up to you — is it worth it to start listening to Christmas music months in advance? Do you think Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa, and Frosty the Snowman need a certain time of the year, or does Thanksgiving need more music, movies, and festivities to bring it up to the Christmas level? Wherever you stand on this debate, hopefully the holiday season overall can bring some joy into your life regardless.

Browne, J. (2018, November 14). Listening to Christmas music is actually good for your mental health. Narcity. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from https://www.narcity.com/listening-to-christmas-music-is-actually-good-for-your-mental-health. 

Holiday music can make you healthier. Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups. (2021, October 5). Retrieved November 7, 2021, from https://scrippsamg.com/lift-your-spirits-how-holiday-music-can-make-you-healthier/. 

O’Kane, C. (2017, November 9). Christmas music may take mental toll, psychologist says. CBS News. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/christmas-music-can-harm-mental-health-cause-stress-psychologist-finds/. 

Wilding, M. (2020, December 12). Holiday music may be bad for your mental health, according to Science. Business Insider. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.com/science-says-holiday-music-is-bad-for-your-mental-health-2017-12.

First year as a Her Campus Utah writer. Sophomore at the University of Utah. Majoring in Political Science and Gender Studies.
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