When is the appropriate time to start listening to Christmas music?


Yahoo News

An image of who Bazaar News defines as “the bona fide Queen of Christmas,” Mariah Carey (harpersbazaar.com). She is seen here performing at a 2020 concert in Madison Square Garden, New York.

Madison Austin, Photojournalist

On the afternoon of November 1, I found myself in a pool of hot water. It was a typical Monday afternoon, and I had returned home after an all-around average day of high school. I checked my daily planner to see that I had two homework assignments to complete — a textbook assignment for Precalc and a short worksheet for Psychology. Just like I do every light homework day, I decided to listen to some gentle background music. I checked my calendar, and soon after, I shouted out one of my favorite lines, “Alexa, shuffle Madison’s Christmas Playlist.”

A winning smile gleamed across my face as the opening notes to Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” filled the atmosphere. As Cole began to sing his iconic line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” a warm feeling of nostalgic joy rushed to my chest. I sang along and enjoyed a moment of unadulterated bliss. That moment was soon interrupted, however, when I heard a large set of shoes pound up the stairs to my room. My dad stormed in with an expression of obvious confusion on his face. In a moment of honest passion, he strongly asserted, “What do you think you’re doing?” 

Playing it cool, I responded, “Why, listening to Christmas music, Dad. It is November first, after all.”

My seemingly harmless musical activity raised a spurious debate in the Austin household. Christmas fans, like my mom and I, advocated for a November 1 Christmas cutoff, while my dad and siblings campaigned for a post-Thanksgiving Christmas music rule. After intense weeks of deliberation, I deduced that this disagreement expanded far outside of the Austin household. People around the United States and the entire world, for that matter, have entertained this discussion for years and years.

Bustle, a Millenial and Gen- Z-centered journalism website, joined the discussion in a November 2017 survey, which found that some extremists begin listening to Christmas as early as September, and some go year-round. On the other side of the spectrum, some wait until December 24th to begin their Christmas music season, and some don’t listen at all. The majority of this survey showed that “52 percent believed any time after Thanksgiving” was an appropriate time to begin listening to Christmas music (bustle.com).

Conversely, an ABC7 article from just a few weeks ago believed in a sooner start time to listen to Christmas music. They reported that “November 1 is now the…start of Christmas and Holiday music season” (abc.com). ABC7 cited their early Christmas music support by considering the endorsements of seasonal celebrities like Mariah Carey and Michael Buble, as they both receive massive popularity during the Christmas season. In their opinion, many holiday enthusiasts “just want to enjoy things,” and listening to Christmas music as early as November 1st is quite enjoyable for them.

Spotify, the music streaming platform which hosts more than 83.1 million users, tackled this question in their Spotify Newsroom survey in 2018. Through basic analysis, they discovered that the majority of Americans “wait until November 13 to start” listening to Christmas music (spotify.com). KOST 10.5, a commercial FM radio station in Los Angeles, California, began playing Christmas music on November 12, 2021. On that morning, the morning show radio host, Ellen K, led listeners through a ceremonious holiday commemoration, as they gleefully played “The Christmas Song.”

Unsurprisingly, the students of Yorba Linda High School have a variety of opinions regarding this time-old topic. Sydney Safford (12) reported that she proudly begins to listen to Christmas music on October 1st every year. While she has faced some negative backlash from her peers and family, she proudly listens to Christmas music so early because “it just makes [her] happy.” Nicole Philips (12) admitted to doing the same, as she recalled that listening to Christmas music so early allows her to “fully enjoy the Christmas season for the longest amount of time possible.”

What’s the final verdict? High schoolers are listening to Christmas music at the beginning of October, radio stations are preaching Christmas music during mid-November, surveys claim late November is Christmas music central, and news sources believe in the power of early December. With so many conflicting views, it is difficult to find a definitive answer. Not one of these propositions are necessarily correct, but to their credit, none are incorrect either.

Taking my personal preferences into account, I’ve come to a consecutive but cliché conclusion: the appropriate time to begin listening to Christmas music is whenever you feel in the Christmas spirit. All of the above reports accredit the power of Christmas music to the undeniable joy that is attached to Christmas music. Whether listening to Christmas music in early October, late November, or mid-December brings you joy, listen to Christmas music whenever and however you feel. As for me, the Holiday season began on November 1, and I will continue to enjoy my seasonal music until December 25.