Editorial: When holiday music is acceptable

A graphic of a clock, music notes, and Santa Claus.

Eva Williams

A graphic of a clock, music notes, and Santa Claus. Our editorial team has some very strong thoughts about when holiday music is acceptable, and we chose to state them here.

Editorial Board

Our editorial staff realized we have strong opinions about when playing holiday music is appropriate. We got a little off track, but you get the general idea. We apologize in advance.

Sam (Editor-in-Chief): Holiday music is acceptable beginning on Black Friday. Anything before that is overkill. Mariah Carey’s world-famous earworm “All I Want For Christmas Is You” can be played exactly one (1) time. After that, you are legally obliged to throw whoever plays it again off a cliff. 

EXCEPTIONS: Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song is a timeless classic and can be played at any time of the year. Same goes for anything from The Muppet Christmas Carol.

I would like to take this time to list Christmas songs that I hate:

  • “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
  • “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
  • “Santa Baby” (Google the lyrics at your own peril)
  • “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
  • “Jingle Bell Rock”
  • Any song by Alvin and the Chipmunks (Christmas or non-Christmas) Truman’s note (and even Stella agrees): Quiet, Sam.
  • “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
  • “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”
  • “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
  • “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (at Eva’s request and, frankly, she’s right)

Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.

Megan (Managing Editor): Listening to holiday music starting the day after Halloween is a crime in my book. It is only ok to listen to holiday music after Thanksgiving, otherwise by the time Christmas rolls around, the music gets annoying and the hype is lost. After that it is acceptable to listen to my two favorite Christmas songs on repeat:  “Christmases When You Were Mine” by Taylor Swift and “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber. 🙂

Stella (News Editor): Knock yourself out with the music that makes you happy, but for the sake of my sanity, please do so in private. Call me a grinch; I don’t care. All holiday music should be banned in public spaces. I have heard the same highly repetitive songs for 16 years, ranging from barely mediocre to shoving-my-head-through-drywall terrible. I do not want to hear about your Christmas playlists that you’ve had on repeat since Halloween, and I am fed up with listening to the unnecessary jingle bell sound effects that would otherwise be socially unacceptable. The holiday music debate should not be a question of when, but if it should ever be played in public. The answer is a resounding no.

Audrey (Feature Editor): Mixed feelings about this one. I have a Spotify playlist called “Christmas in October” which is pretty self explanatory, but honestly, I think you should reserve that type of stuff for mid-November. If you start too early, the Christmas spirit sort of fizzles out. Honestly, I don’t feel too strongly about this. As long as I listen to “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (U2’s version, aka the best Christmas song) at some point during the holiday season, I’m happy.

Eva​​ (Editor-in-Chief): I’m in favor of the occasional pop Christmas song during the month of November. It’s fun, to listen to “Underneath the Tree” or “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man with The Bag” and get excited for the upcoming season. I say don’t stop yourself from playing them when the feeling arises. But, and this might be too specific, don’t open a Christmas music playlist until the night of Thanksgiving — stick to the individual, dance-y hits. Then, as dishes are being dried and stray cousins overstay their welcome on the couch, click play on all your Christmas classics. Your Frank Sinatras, your Bing Crosbys, your Nat King Coles. 

And listen, I don’t love all of the songs on Sam’s list either. Some of them are way overplayed and simply not that good. But it’s the holiday season, so why are we spreading such negativity? Here are my Christmastime favorites, for gift-wrapping and cocoa-sipping alike. 

  • “Silver Bells”  
  • “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” 
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” 
  • “What Child is This/The Holly and The Ivy” 
  • “Christmastime is Here” (the Peanuts version, of course. The Vince Guaraldi Trio “A Charlie Brown Christmas” album is objectively the best Christmas album of all time.) 
  • “Do You Hear What I Hear”
  • “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”  

Okay, sorry, sorry, I’m writing too much, but I have to say quickly that “River” by Joni Mitchell and “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” are NOT Christmas songs and need to stop being labeled as such. Avoid these tunes at all costs this holiday season! 

Liam (Managing Editor): Wait until December, and give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves.  

Clara (Features Editor): I’m a believer that, as a society, Christmas music should not be played until Thanksgiving is over. But the second the feat is done, I will be playing Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).” Let’s be honest, there aren’t a whole lot of different Christmas songs and listening to the same 50-or-so songs over and over from November until January just seems like a lot to me. I’m a big lover of the John Denver and The Muppets joint Christmas album, “A Christmas Together” as well as Kacey Musgraves’ beautiful album, “A Very Kacey Christmas,” both of which I cannot wait to listen to AFTER THANKSGIVING.

Isabel (Opinions Editor): I hate to be a negative Nancy, but I’m going to have to side with Stella on this one. Holiday music should simply be banned from all public spaces. There is nothing less pleasant than walking into a store, hearing a staticy rendition of “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, leaving said store, entering a new store, and then being subjected to the same exact song for the second time. Maybe holiday music would be tolerable if it was refreshed each year, but I’m sick of pretending that it’s socially acceptable to repeat the same songs year after year. Imagine if we still listened to “Old Town Road” every summer. Some things belong in the past. I will also go one step further and add that I believe Michael Bublé music should be banned from the public entirely. Whether or not he is singing a Christmas song, his cheesy vocals push me over the edge every single time. In the interest of keeping with the holiday spirit, I will spread a little love and say that I am always down to listen to the timeless classic “Last Christmas” by Wham!

Truman (Video/Broadcast Editor): Normally, I would side with Sam’s aforementioned opinion. However, certain songs that could be labeled as “Christmas Songs” are just really good songs on their own. Songs such as “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (the one by Michael Bublé, it’s the best one) and the hit “Wham” tune “Last Christmas” are songs that I would listen to at any time of the year. Just to give me a little injection of Christmas spirit whenever I need it, even if it’s outside the holiday season itself. Christmas isn’t a time or a place. It’s an idea. A belief. And if revisiting that idea brings any semblance of comfort to a person, then by all means they should be allowed to listen to as much as they please.

In general, everyone seems very worked up about this and it’s scaring me so please calm down.