It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
Take a look at the five and ten, it’s glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart


It’s certainly been sounding a lot like Christmas since the kids put away their Halloween costumes and candy, that’s for sure. The jingles of Christmas ads on TV and the Christmas songs playing in practically every mall and store have already been going full-tilt when it’s not even Thanksgiving! But why complain? Getting in the Christmas spirit — and staying there longer — isn’t a bad place to be after all, right? The songs and sights and smells of the holiday trigger strong (and hopefully warm) memories of Christmases past. For shop owners and retailers, Adam Parsons says that eliciting good feelings with Christmas music is about shoppers spending good money:

That is the key. Christmas music is played in shops for one reason – to make us feel in the mood to celebrate with families and friends. And in the world of retail, you celebrate by spending money.


What’s good for the shop owner, however, may not be good for the shopper:

“Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality,” says the clinical psychologist Linda Blair.

“Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early.

“It might make us feel that we’re trapped – it’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organise celebrations. Some people will react to that by making impulse purchases, which the retailer likes. Others might just walk out of the shop. It’s a risk.”


And, Ian Sandwell suggests, what’s good for the shopper may not be so good for the people working in the stores who have to try and tune out the same repetitive music for weeks on end:

Of course, if we walk into a shop playing Christmas songs, we can just turn right back out again if we’re feeling irritated, so remember workers who have to listen constantly.

“We ask employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting,” said the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers in the U.K.


Pal and friend of The PediaBlog, John Duffy, acknowledges Sandwell’s assertion “that hearing Christmas songs on repeat — like you might while shopping over the festive period — could be bad for your mental health.” He has other ideas in mind for his physical therapy clinic which he announced last week on his clinic’s Facebook page:

Since we know mental distress increases pain sensitivity, and at the clinic we are trying to REDUCE pain, I will make sure that unlike last year, we will NOT be listening to Christmas music all day. Conversely, research shows that live Grateful Dead music makes people happy and creates an urge to dance (movement is good), so that will be our new option.


So here’s wishing all of you, and Duffy too, a Merry Jerry Christmas!


(Google Images)