Christmas music: why some love it, and others hate it

Christmas music: why some love it, and others hate it
Christmas music: some love it, others hate it

With the arrival of the holiday season comes Christmas music. It’s on the radio, in the shopping mall, coffee shop, advertising, and messages on hold. Holiday music doesn’t wait until December, either. Often, it creeps into our daily lives in early November.

You might feel warm and fuzzy when Bing Crosby sings about a White Christmas. Or you feel like your ears are bleeding when Wham!’s Last Christmas (or one of the dozens of covers) comes on for the ten millionth time.

At On Air, we use Christmas music around the holidays for our client’s commercial recordings, messages on hold, and sometimes voicemail or phone prompt recordings. We know that some love it, and some hate it, so we researched why. For marketers and advertisers, knowing how holiday music impacts your customers is valuable information.

Why do some people hate Christmas music?

If you find yourself cringing when the holiday music starts playing at the grocery store, you’re not alone. An older Consumer Reports poll found that 23% of us identify Christmas music as a stress-inducing aspect of the holiday season. Of course, the biggest reason is the repetitive nature of holiday music. Essentially, we hear the same songs over and over, year after year.

People who work in retail or hospitality are likely to hear repetitive, overplayed Christmas playlists more than others, increasing the disdain for the music altogether.

Those who have had negative experiences with Christmas or anxiety around the holidays might be triggered by hearing the music. For many, the holiday season can be hectic. Christmas music can add stress to an already busy and stressful time.

Switching up an exhausted version of a holiday song with something new might help relieve that stress. If you still want to play holiday music to please the customers who like it, either in-person or on hold, creating a varied playlist can help. For example, you can combine timeless classics by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald with less-overplayed songs by newer artists like Sufjan Stevens and Arcade Fire. A varied mix might be more tolerable for those who dislike it.

Why do some people love Christmas music?

Many people love Christmas music. Familiar music has the power to charge your emotions and change your mood, for the good and the bad. For many, holiday music can boost their mood. Mostly, it evokes nostalgia. When you hear the classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” you might feel connected to a memory, feeling, family member, or something else positive.

Nostalgia allows us to see the past with rose-coloured glasses. When things feel stressful or we face challenging times, nostalgia can bring us to a time when things feel more controlled and positive. For a lot of people, holiday music can improve their mood. It can also get them into the gifting spirit, which is good for businesses trying to sell their products.

Finding the balance

While the love or hate of Christmas music seems to be a polarized issue, advertisers can still use it to their advantage. On Air has a vast holiday music library and can find background music for your audio recordings that will best suit your audience. So, you can please those who love holiday music while mitigating the annoyance of those who don’t!

Updating your phone prompts and messages on hold for the holidays is a good idea. You want to alert callers of changes to business hours over the holidays and promote any events or discounts you might have this time of year. Contact us to update your greetings or messages this month.

“We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”