Christmas music is bad for your mental health, according to research

Christmas Vacation | Mental Floss

For those who think it’s acceptable to start playing Christmas music after Halloween is over… well new research suggests that it might actually be a bad idea.

Elf Movie Santa | Giphy

As each year passes, it seems like Christmas merchandise, holiday-themed movies, and Mariah Carey’s version of “All I Want for Christmas,” starts creeping up earlier and earlier. So by the time it’s actually Christmas, we instead end up feeling like we want to avoid Christmas, just like the Kranks when they try to skip Christmas in “Christmas with the Kranks.”

This feeling is known as the “mere exposure effect,” according to music psychology researcher Dr. Victoria Williamson. She explains to HelloGiggles that there is a “U-shaped relationship” between the amount of times we hear music that we like and our following reaction to it. Dr. Williamson is basically saying that Christmas music can put you in a jolly mood for the first few times you hear your favourite tune, but then when the same holiday playlist keeps playing over and over again, you wish you had a pair of earplugs.

Those who work in retail, know exactly what we’re talking about. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair told Sky News that “people working in the shops at Christmas have to [tune out] Christmas music because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything.” She continues to say that “you’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

Despite this, playing Christmas music early isn’t going to go away. Research shows that retailers use it as a way to get people in the mood for holiday shopping, which equals to spending more money. The more cheery the music sounds, the more likely customers will stay longer, buy more, and come back again.