A new take on the season of Christmas music


Courtesy / James Lacefield

Christmas decorations are already popping up in Dav, but is it too early for the music

Tom Canuel, Crier Staff

Every year on November 1, I always joke around with friends that I have started listening to Christmas music. I love Christmas, and I figure that once we hit 54 days until the season starts, it is time to begin preparing. Shortly after listening, I will put up two giant Christmas trees in my room and hang string lights and as many decorations as I can find while listening to my fun Christmas playlist.

However, much to the chagrin of all those Christmas lovers like myself out there, I have started delaying my listening and preparation more and more in recent years. Why is that? Well, it is for the same argument that I have been hearing for a while now and am now succumbing to: it is too early. 

Now, let me be clear – listening to Christmas music like “The First Noel” or “Silent Night” can be enjoyed year-round. I have heard of people listening or singing those songs as forms of prayer, and we should not ever try to take that away from someone. However, the secular beats of Mariah Carey’s high pitched voice singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” or Michael Bublé singing “Let it Snow” does not always bode well on a beach in the summer or when the Christmas season is still 10 months away.

Yet, the question of when to begin listening to Christmas music is the most controversial one of our time. Some like to ruin the Halloween season by listening to it in the middle of October (yes, I’m not even that crazy). Others begin, like I have most of my life, on November 1. Others want to respect the month of November and the Thanksgiving season and wait until Black Friday or when Santa appears in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Others wait until the first Sunday of Advent, the time when the Church begins preparing for Christmas. And still yet, we have others that wait until the middle of December or Christmas Eve.

So, where do we find the right time to take out those Christmas jingles we love to hear so much? It’s actually quite simple. Sorry, but if you listen to Christmas music in October, you are in the wrong. We still have to wait two months until Christmas, and you are forgetting about the spooky hits of “Thriller” and the Ghostbusters that really do not mash with Christmas music the same way “The Monster Mash” does. 

Although we do not have much in the genre of Thanksgiving music, I would tend to say that November 1 also fails. In the Catholic Church, we celebrate All Saints’ Day, which is indeed a day of celebration, but also one of remembrance and a focus on heaven. If we play Christmas music on All Saints’ Day, the saints will not come marching in because they’ll be too busy covering their ears from hearing about Christmas gifts on their big day.

What about mid-November? We would then skip over the special holiday of Thanksgiving, a time focused on the harvest, community, and fall. Instead of getting excited about the turkey on the table, we are too busy praying about snow and thinking about winter. 

Black Friday is also not a good day to begin the listening of Christmas music. Everyone means well, but a day focused on consumerism and money is not quite the proper occasion to start listening. 

So, when is it right to begin listening? To be honest, I think the Church has it right: the first Sunday of Advent. Saving our Christmas music to that Sunday can create a more intentional and proper season to prepare for Christ’s birth and the holiday we all know and love. It is a time focused on welcoming others into our homes, for the gingerbread contest, Christmas feast, the nativity blessing, and the many more events that come with the Christmas season. The listening should continue until the feast of the Epiphany in January, so that our Christmas season too may feel more complete and like a season instead of a day.

Yet, we are left with one question: what about November? If I am not listening to Christmas music then, what shall I listen to? This is one of the great unanswerable questions of our time. I would be prone to calling us to create more Thanksgiving folk tunes, but some disagree. For now, let’s keep November a time for our normal music tastes (like country music) before entering into the season of Advent, ready to prepare room for Christ and Santa Claus in our hearts before Christmas day.