The Christmas Carol Controversy
By: Makena Vass
Christmas memories are often accompanied by upbeat, lighthearted music played on a continuous stream over the holidays. Even the Christmas grinches can’t escape the sounds of comfort and joy, but when is it appropriate to start the music? When should it stop? Some people start listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and don’t stop until New Year’s Day. On the flip side, some people find themselves in tears when “Jingle Bells” is played on the radio for the seemingly one-hundredth time that day.
When it comes to listening to Christmas music, there appears to be two extremes: people who start on Halloween and people who are still listening to their summer playlist on Christmas day. There are also people that don’t stop until mid-June and people who stop the day after Christmas. Both sorts of people reside in every family, but the Christmas carol controversy is more widespread than people realize, expanding far beyond their own families.
To Savannah Presson, there is no such thing as too much Christmas. The fourteen year old in Tennessee and her family put up their Christmas tree the day after Halloween. They are the first in their neighborhood to do so every year. Of course, with the tree, comes the music. “I love Christmas music so I probably start on November first,” she beams. To her, the earlier the music starts, the merrier. She and her family love Christmas, which is why she finds that “after Christmas, it’s just kind of depressing if I listen to Christmas music.” Christmas music in the moment is festive and encouraging to her, but when it comes to waiting a whole year for the season to return, Presson thinks the music becomes the equivalent of the blues. According to her, there should be no haste in starting the music, but after the holiday, it’s hard to think about the long wait for next year’s Christmas season.
In contrast, Dixie Gray, a senior resident also living in Tennessee, believes that people don’t “need Christmas music on Thanksgiving because it takes away from Thanksgiving.” She waits another month to start decking the halls and turn up the jingle bells, which is December first. Gray also mentioned that Christmas music might still be relevant on New Year’s Day. In her opinion, it depends on what she is doing. Gray likes to reminisce on Christmas memories in the days following the holiday through the music. She enjoys the music as she slowly picks the ornaments off the tree and packs away the last of the wreaths. The music is more than holiday cheer: it’s also memories, reminding people of Christmas’s past and filling them with joy as they conclude the most wonderful time of the year.
Moving further north to Maryland, Mason Sullivan, a seventh grader at Glenwood Middle School, agrees with Gray that Christmas music needs to wait until after Thanksgiving. However, he has a different idea on when to stop listening. He gives the holiday a longer allotted time to fizzle out. “We take our decorations down around mid-January, so I feel like that’s when all the Christmas music and Christmas stuff stops.” Christmas music, to Sullivan, revolves around decorating, and as long as the tree stands and the lights twinkle outside, the Christmas music is playing. According to Gray and Sullivan, decorations are a major player when it comes to Christmas music. Some people, like Sullivan, prefer to wait a little longer before summoning the energy to finally call an end to the Christmas season.
At Glenelg High School, Holly Clickner, a Sophomore, is a Christmas enthusiast. According to her, she listens to “Christmas music anytime, I like Christmas in the summer.” However, in terms of the holidays, she starts listening after Thanksgiving and stops around New Year’s Day. Although, it stands to reason that she might like to sneak in a carol or two during the summer. The presence of decorations do not apply to this music fanatic, as long as the song suits her mood, she will happily listen. Unlike Presson, Clickner doesn’t think Christmas music is ever depressing and that it is a pinnacle of joy any time of year.
In a poll, five teens were prompted to answer the question of when they start and stop listening to Christmas music. The conclusion can be made that the majority of people hold off until after Thanksgiving to start Christmas music. One person was all in for starting on November first, but three people agreed that the day after Thanksgiving is ideal. Only one other sided with the week prior to Christmas. However, the end date remains skewed for stopping the carols, by a small margin, most people agreed that they stop on New Year’s Day. Two people believed the end should come on New Year’s Day and another pair believed it should end around mid-January. The data left only one person to agree that they never truly stopped listening.
People differ in opinions about when to indulge in Christmas music. Although many people agreed that it is best to wait until after Thanksgiving and to stop around New Year’s Day, listening to Christmas music is an old tradition that has lasted for decades. Families may be split about when it is appropriate to turn on the carols, but at some point, a Christmas song has put everyone in a joyful spirit, whether they acknowledge it or not. It sets people up for the holidays with joyful spirits and preserves memories. Christmas music gives a magical persona unlike any other playlist. Whenever people start listening to Christmas music, smiles will accompany it. Even if the bah humbug in the family tries to hide it.
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