Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas’ isn’t the most festive seasonal song – in fact, it sounds downright gloomy- but a new study shows the not-so-jolly jingle may be a more accurate depiction of how holiday music affects listeners.
Radio stations seem eager to get music-lovers into the Christmas spirit earlier each year, with some holiday songs popping up as soon as fake cobwebs and old Jack-o-lanterns are in the garbage.
But listening to ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’ too many times can have a less than cheerful psychological impact.
The incessant repetition of holiday songs can initially lift spirits, but when the high wears off, those same songs can trigger stressors of the season, including bills, family events and the time crunch leading up to Dec. 25.
Hearing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ on repeat can lead to annoyance or distress, researchers found. Beyond that, it’s distracting.
According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, “People working in the shops [have to tune out] Christmas music, because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else…You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
In order to truly get into the holiday mood without the emotional whiplash, listeners are encouraged to shuffle their song selection to avoid mental boredom and regulate the volume of the songs on a playlist.