We’re getting oh so close to Christmas. Maybe you haven’t lost your mind yet. Maybe you’ve decided that this is the year you’ll scale back. You won’t do the outdoor lights or bake. Maybe you’ve taken my advice and got a sweet pre-lit tree. Perhaps the gift gods have shined upon you and you’ve stumbled upon the perfect gifts for everyone. Well, there’s still time to go insane. It’s actually so easy that you almost can’t avoid it.
#8. Play Christmas music. Okay, okay…I know you’re thinking, “Oh my God! Is she the Grinch? How could Christmas music possibly cause you to lose your mind?” Well, consider that it’s December 17th and we’ve probably been listening to Christmas music for well over a month and a half now. That’s right…radio stations, commercials, stores…they’ve been subliminally slipping in the Christmas music since before the day they put their Halloween candy on sale for half price.
The radio stations by me have been playing Christmas music since November 1st. Yup. It’s not even cold yet! We haven’t even had turkey yet! What’s going on? When I was a kid, Christmas music, Christmas movies…they didn’t start till mid December, when everyone was ready for the holidays to begin. What’s the rush???? The rush is for the sole purpose of making you lose your mind by Christmas time.
At first, you’re happy to hear those few little notes of holiday cheer. You start humming along, giddy at the sound. The songs remind you of Christmases of yesteryear. There’s actually some memory reaction that music triggers in our brain, so this whole “playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving” isn’t an accident. Retailers are trying to get us to remember Christmas and feel all warm and fuzzy about it. And SHOP. Shop in their stores that are playing “Joy to the World” while you’re looking for Back to School supplies. And it works. You’re remembering playing “Jingle Bells” on your mini keyboard for your family when you were nine—so you grab an identical (and updated) mini keyboard for your own child, hoping she’ll enjoy it as much as you did (you “lost” it in your closet somewhere around New Year’s, but you never remember those sort of details). As you pass the pre-made gingerbread houses in aisle six with “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”, you recall making gingerbread houses with your nana. You toss the gingerbread house in your cart as well—your kids will love it. You can make that when you screw up the cookies Then you pass that damn cologne counter in the mall that usually makes you choke, but it doesn’t this time. ‘Cuz they’re playing “Blue Christmas” and you can smell your grandfather’s cologne. With tears in your eyes, you realize you must buy this for your hubby, boyfriend, significant other. (Which is a little creepy.)
The overkill isn’t just in stores. We’ve been playing it for awhile at home now, too. We’ve listened to Christmas music while putting up lights. We’ve listened to Christmas music while wrapping. We’ve listened to Christmas music while baking. We’ve gone to our kids’ Christmas concerts at school, we’ve gone Christmas caroling, we’ve been singing Christmas music at church. We’re hearing Christmas music in the car, on TV, at work…we’re hearing it in our sleep. It’s lost its cheerfulness. It just reminds you that Christmas is fast approaching and you’ve got a ton of crap that still needs to get done. Christmas music becomes that countdown clock in our heads that is tick, tick, ticking away at a breakneck pace. Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, and Hanson…all singing about how your holiday isn’t as great as theirs. (Well, of course it’s not—I don’t have a maid, a nanny, or a billion dollars.)
All of a sudden, we’re FaLaLaLaLa’d the %&$* out with still over a week till Christmas. At this point in time, we actually don’t want to hear any more Christmas music—ever. We’re dying to turn on the radio in the car and hear Beyonce singing about something that isn’t mistletoe or boughs of holly. You know every verse to “Silent Night” and that’s all you want…a SILENT NIGHT. No Jingle Bell Rock, no Deck the Halls, no Little Drummer Boy.
You vow to take your sanity back. You pour yourself a cup of tea, turn off the radio and sit in blissful silence. For about thirty seconds. Then you jump up and return to your holiday duties…after all, you still have so much left to do.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Christmas music isn’t stressing you out. You’re one of those people that have “Everything done” (and are so quick to tell everyone on social media about it and how you don’t understand why the rest of us suckers are still rushing around like headless chickens). In that case, you can listen to your Christmas music—in your own car, your own house, your own headphones. But don’t let me hear it…I just may go off the deep end.