‘Tis the season to pull your hair out, fa la la la la, la la la la!
By the time you sit down to carve your Turducken for the family feast, you’ve already been inundated with the trill of jingle bells and holiday ads for at least a month. Let’s not neglect the redheaded stepchild of the holidays: Thanksgiving!
While we here at FanLabel love crooning to “Blue Christmas” as much as the next guy or gal, there’s a time and place. The facts are clear: science says that listening to Christmas music too early, and too often, can be bad for your health.
When you’ve heard particular songs umpteen times, your brain gets oversaturated and you start to find them unpalatable. In turn, you then start stressing about things like finances, holiday travel and seeing your in-laws, according to Business Insider.
Being exposed to the same holly jolly songs over and over again leads to so-called “exposure effect,” according to psychologist Victoria Williamson. While you might love “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” after hearing it 99 times in a crowded mall, you begin to experience fatigue. What once was a festive delight makes you want to drown your sorrows in a bottle of *warm and seasonally spiced* merlot.
“There is something particularly triggering about holiday music, because it reminds us of the financial and emotional stress of a season that is meant to be joyful but can be loaded with pressure,” DailyMail.com reports. “What’s more, that may drive you to spend more money when you shop—leading to heightened stress after.”
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year, there’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow!”
Someone with holiday-induced anxiety hears:
“It’s the most restless time of the year, there’ll be parties for skipping, bank accounts over drafting, and away from it all I must go!”
The holiday season is stressful enough, but the burden is even heavier when you feel pressured into being holly and jolly.
Studies also show that when you’re in a store with both Christmas music and Christmas scents (think: pine, candy cane, freshly baked cookies, cinnamon, vanilla, the works), you’re more likely to shell out more cash than, say, if you were in a store with regular ol’ American Top 40 blaring and the odor of hot cheese.
And again, overspending is one of the leading causes of holiday stress. Last holiday season, more than 77 percent of shoppers blew past the financial budgets they set for themselves. I’m not saying that holiday music is entirely to blame here, but I’m not not saying that, either.
The bottom line is, it’s called “The 12 Days of Christmas” for a reason. There’s no need to start belting it out on Nov. 1, or you’re going to need to add in a few more bars.
Enjoy the holiday season as it naturally approaches, but don’t rush it. Your mental health and your wallet will thank you.