Photo courtesy of Michael Pardo / Creative Commons

Too Early to Be Under the Mistletoe?

With Thanksgiving behind us, I’ve been reflecting on the inevitable heightened family tension of the holidays. Amidst the delightful food buffet, heated debates often arise around politics, global warming, or perhaps the most polarizing of topics—Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

The beauty of college is that music is secretive. No one is blasting music out loud in the library (or at least they shouldn’t be). Your music choices are a sacred secret shared only between you and your dirty AirPods. Not even your friends know, unless you’re an animal and share your current listening on Spotify. No one knows when I have been listening to "Mmmbop" by Hansen or "Holding Out for a Hero" from the Shrek 2 soundtrack. That is, of course, aside from the time when my AirPods didn’t connect and I had to pretend that it was the person next to me who was rudely playing "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 out loud for a little too long.

The high stakes of music choices only become more prominent amidst the inevitability that someone will be on aux during Thanksgiving week. There simply can’t be silence as you chop green beans or peel potatoes. Someone will be endowed with the power to direct the Thanksgiving vibes. If you have been tasked with this honor, you need to be prepared for the impact of the decisions you make.

Is it okay to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving, or even before December? Whatever decision you make, be prepared to make friends and enemies. I, for one, have a life and don’t have time to micromanage people’s music choices. The vast majority, however, are not so like-minded.

Some say Christmas music should be played immediately after Halloween on Nov. 1. As someone who hates Halloween, I feel like this method is much like an exorcism—casting out the terrible holiday demon by using scare tactics and Mariah Carey blasting at full volume. (On a side note, it must be strange to be Mariah Carey and be relevant for only two months of the year. Does she just go on vacation for the rest of the year?) Normally, I could get behind the Christmas exorcism, but something about the weather this year did not have me ready to jingle my bells just yet.

Others like to argue for the good failsafe of “Christmas music only after Thanksgiving.” The only problem I have with this is that Thanksgiving was so late this year. You are minimizing the time frame during which you can listen to Christmas music! Normally there is a nice chunk of remaining November and all of December to celebrate, but it already feels like Christmas is approaching rapidly.

I personally am a fan of the mid-November rule. By about Nov. 15—no earlier, no later—you should be able to start playing Christmas music without judgment. By then, your Halloween candy should be gone, the weather has gotten a little colder, and the rotten pumpkins on your table should be on their way out anyway. This time frame allows you to maximize the season without wishing away fall too early.

I’m not sure why, but the question of the Christmas music timeframe has become such a polarizing topic. People stand by their sides and judge all others who disagree. I have even been verbally assaulted by a stranger’s heavy sigh interjecting into my conversation when I mentioned I was listening to "Last Christmas" the other day.

So, in honor of not sighing heavily at you, take all of this with a grain of salt. My opinion on this matter means absolutely nothing. Let the music play all year for all I care! As long as we can agree on the fact that "Drummer Boy" by Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes is the best Christmas song, we won’t have any problems. Regardless of what music is playing in the background of your holiday season, enjoy it. The holidays are the best months of the year and they seem to fly by, so soak them up! Oh geez, I’m getting soft. Ever since I went on Kairos this weekend, I’ve felt mushy. I teared up earlier imagining my dog in a Christmas sweater and now I sound like I’m quoting a Lifetime movie. That’s all folks. Enjoy the holidays!

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