Oh the music outside is frightful.
It’s barely November. But, for many people, that doesn’t matter. Because for them, right when the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 31, it turns into the holiday season. Though holiday cheer and merriment may seem like a good thing, you may want to hold off on the eggnog and Christmas carols. As it turns out, celebrating the holidays too early may actually be bad for your health.
According to Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the United Kingdom, using up all that cheer too early in the holiday season may affect mental health by triggering feelings of stress.
"Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality," Blair told Sky News in 2017. "Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it's played too loudly and too early.”
According to Blair, that happy, holiday music "might make us feel that we're trapped - it's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.” And that may be a good thing for retailers, which is why so many stores start pumping in “Jingle Bells” as soon as the calendar says Nov. 1.
“Some people will react to that by making impulse purchases, which the retailer likes,” Blair said. “Others might just walk out of the shop. It's a risk."
Some retailers have promised to stave off the madness, known as the “Christmas Creep,” by not playing carols until after Thanksgiving. But others simply don’t care and will use this mental trick to get you to spend more.
According to an analysis by The Tampa Bay Times, Best Buy is the worst offender of the creep, putting their holiday music on rotation a full two months before Christmas. Other pre-season offenders include Sears and Kmart, who start the music in November, while stores like Target respect the dates by only playing holiday music after Black Friday.
Still, there’s no stopping Christmas tunes from becoming a total earworm. In fact, Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," is already back on the U.S. iTunes 100 most popular songs. So go ahead, give in, grab a sugar cookie, and just try your best to stay sane until the new year.