It's true. Christmas carols are a holiday season tradition that divides the masses and sorts the Grinches from the Elves. However, new research has surfaced that suggests the dislike of yuletide tunes is actually linked to deep rooted emotional stress, and can be detrimental to your mental health.
In an interview with KBTX news in the United States, health professional David Barczyk said, "There's something particularly triggering about Christmas music, because it reminds us of a time that is both financially and emotionally stressful, that should be joyful but is loaded with pressure."
David continued to explain that those emotions are further tested when we hear jolly jingles playing in shops and department stores, because the pressure we're feeling as a result of the holiday season pushes us to buy more. And as Christmas carols start playing in stores earlier every year, we feel that stress and pressure for longer, which isn't good for our overall health or wellbeing.
Furthermore, studies show that listening to Christmas music, and smelling Christmassy scents in a shop, also encourages us to spend more, resulting in buyer's remorse and large credit card debt when Christmas is all over, contributing to further financial stress after the festivities are over.
Worse still for those who work in supermarkets, retail and hospitality, is that constantly listening to Christmas carols affects your brain function and ability to focus.
“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,” clinical psychologist Linda Blair told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
While the news might be upsetting for some, there’s a simple explanation.
According to music psychology researcher Dr Victoria Williamson, it’s not necessarily the tune being played, instead, it’s the number of times you’ve listened to it that eventually causes your skin to crawl. We have a relationship to music that' U-shaped, so while we might get a kick out of finally hitting play on Michael Bublé's 'Christmas' album on December first each year, by the time that album hits it's 37th repeat of the season you'll be tearing your hair out, because there's a fine line between a familiar song bringing you joy, and an overplayed song driving you mad.