For some people the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for others, the shopping, the expectations, and yes, even the steady drone of Christmas music can drive them crazy. While you can turn off the tunes at home or in your car, it’s pretty hard to escape holiday music when you are out and about. And for some people, the music can be a major cause of stress. In fact, a survey conducted by Consumer Reports in 2011 found that 23% of respondents said they dread seasonal music during the holidays.
According to Fox News, another more recent survey in 2017 by Soundtrack Your Brand, a Spotify-backed company, found that shoppers often actively disliked Christmas music in stores. The survey found that 25% of British shoppers said they found the piped in music too repetitive and boring, making them feel less festive.
Retail staffers forced to listen to the tunes all day said the music “dampens their emotional wellbeing,” said the survey. It’s one thing to hear “Frosty the Snowman” once or twice during the holiday season, but retail workers have to listen to the same playlist day in, day out from November to January. They have to make a conscious effort to drown out the sound of Christmas music, or they’ll go insane.
“If they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else,” said clinical psychologist Linda Blair, according to Elite Daily.
Elaine Rodino, a psychologist in private practice in State College, Pa., told Fox News that music can evoke memories from the past and if Christmas music makes people feel stressed, it may be bringing back painful experiences from their childhood.
“Music has a way of stirring emotions and memories,” she said. “So in terms of Christmas, many people don’t have good memories of the holiday. And so it does stir up the not-so-good memories.”
The nonstop barrage of Christmas music that starts early in November can be mentally draining, says the expert, and can trigger stressful reminders of all the holiday-related chores that must be done, such as buying presents for relatives, decorating the tree, or hosting holiday parties.
Rodina advises people who are feeling pressured by these expectations to lighten the load.
“Don’t get so pulled into the requirements of decorating, sending greeting cards, how many gifts you have to buy for how many people,” she said. “All of these categories have easier ways of dealing with it without being a Grinch.”
Rodino says that taking control of the holiday plans and fitting them into your lifestyle helps ease the burden. She also suggests getting to the root of your stress or sadness ― figuring out whether it is caused by the holiday music or something else.
“I really think it’s important that people spend time thinking about their issues,” she told Fox News, adding that uncovering the reason why you are feeling blue may help you understand why certain songs or events trigger the sadness.
And if the music is annoying to you, she suggests wearing earbuds or headphones when shopping to block out the seasonal tunes.
“That would certainly drown out the other music,” Rodino said. “And realize that the music is not making them do anything, it’s just creating a memory…and it’ll be gone as soon as they walk out of the store.”
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