All I want for Christmas is… no more Christmas music?
It seems that each year, the holiday season creeps earlier and earlier which means the corny holiday movies appear sooner and the stores are decked in glee and cheer and blaring from those stores’ speaker system is the holiday music.
It doesn’t matter who or what song it is. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” quickly climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s global 200 chart. It’s reportedly earned Carey more than $60 million in royalties since its debut more than two decades ago. It is played every hour on every radio station and it’ll even pop up in commercials on the TV.
That much exposure to anything likely isn’t good, and that’s especially true for Christmas music.
While holiday shopping has been shifted to online this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a British psychologist said that Christmas music can basically make you exhausted due to energy exerted in trying to block it out. Linda Blair told Sky News that Christmas music could have a negative effect on your brain due to its irritation, which limits focus elsewhere.
“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 else,” Blair told Sky News in 2017. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
Sounds miserable, doesn’t it? In 2012, Victoria Wiliams, Ph.D told NBC News that harmless Christmas songs like “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” could have a psychological impact due “mere exposure effect”:
As Williamson puts it, at first we like music a bit, then we like it more and more until it hits a peak. And then we crash down — we have overheard it. That’s when boredom and annoyance at the repetition of the same sound hits home. “Anyone who has worked in a Christmas store over the holidays will know what I’m talking about,” Williamson says. When asked why holiday music seems to have a polarizing effect, driving some people crazy while others like, or at least, can tolerate it, Williamson suggests that music’s effect on us in any situation depends on our own psychological state.
Now, which Christmas song gives people the biggest headache remains a mystery but there is some evidence as to which song is the worst. The Mirror in the UK polled readers on which song they felt was the most awful and shockingly it was “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, which remains the most popular.
Here’s the full list below:
- All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
- Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
- Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
- Last Christmas – Wham!
- Fairytale of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
- Baby It’s Cold Outside – Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Jackson 5
- Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
- Jingle Bells – Andrews Sisters