Mariah Carey, Darlene Love, and Bing Crosby are making you depressed. Well, listening to their Christmas songs ad nauseam might be, according to British clinical psychologist Linda Blair.
Blair says that holiday songs can remind people of their holiday stresses, all of the things they need to do before the holiday season ends. It can be exhausting.
“You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” she told Digital Music News.
It’s important to note that the effects of Christmas music specifically have yet to be studied, but the impact of music more generally has been proven time and time again.
“Music has the most powerful impact on shoppers on all our senses. When the songs are targeted properly – when a shop gives its customers what they expect to hear – it really does get people to buy stuff. So, if you play classical music in a wine shop, sales go up. Or if you play romantic music in a florist, sales go up.”
These impacts are driven by emotions, which in turn are shaped by memories.
“So that means if you play songs people associate with difficulties in their past, they’ll have a negative reaction to it. And of all music, Christmas probably gives the strongest of those reactions,” Blair said.
Blair says the stressful effects of Christmas music are the worst for those who hear the most Christmas music, specifically retail workers who might hear “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” a half dozen times during one shift, the poor folks.
So be extra nice to everyone working at the mall this holiday season, and if you can, shop online and avoid Christmas songs for as long as possible.