A battle is going on in homes and Facebook pages across the country this month, and it fortunately does not involve the electoral college — but it does involve a drunk family member at Thanksgiving. November is not only the time of year when Americans vote, it is also when everyone stops being spooky and pretends that they like eggnog for two months.
The holidays have arrived, and with the holidays come Christmas songs. Holiday music is unique because it spans genre and is unified only by the time of year it is played. Christmas music does not necessarily even have to be about Christmas; “Let it Snow!” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” make no mention of any holiday. Indeed, the only thing making a song a “Christmas song” is that everyone agrees we play it in December.
There is disagreement, however, on whether or not to play these tunes in November. In a non-election year, this argument would likely dominate social media. Before the election, I had this conversation with many and it comes up year after year. So, while people you have not spoken to since high school debate whether or not the next four years will be a re-greatening or apocalyptic, let’s settle an easy debate: Christmas music should be played year-round.
There are those that are aghast of the sound of bells before Thanksgiving, and they make a valid point. Thanksgiving is a holiday in its own right and defined more by gratefulness, camaraderie, crunchy leaves and eating than the love and wistfulness of December. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, and it deserves its time in the spotlight. With that being said, I hate “Albuquerque Turkey,” and I am not thankful for every time I heard a group of grade schoolers singing it in all high notes.
I am not arguing for Thanksgiving to be overshadowed by Christmas, I want to hear the silver bells year-round. In fact, Christmas music is better than almost every other holiday-themed music. Katy Perry’s “Firework” is so overplayed on the Fourth of July that the explosion of an actual firework comes as a sweet reprieve. It should be noted that what is commonly referred to as “Christmas music” is a misnomer considering Christmas music is really winter music that includes songs about holidays other than Christmas as well as nondenominational feelings. Unfortunately, “holiday music” is too vague, so the common vernacular will have to do in this situation.
Christmas music spans themes and emotions. For many, Christmas is not a joyous celebration. The new classic that is Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is perfect for those longing for someone any time of year, let alone Christmas. It seems like every musician has a Christmas album or song. With such an expansive catalogue it is easy to find something for any mood — even an evening of Netflix and “chill” (see: Lady Gaga’s “Christmas Tree”).
I implore everyone to mix Christmas songs into their main playlists. There are songs in every genre and by almost every artist that are looked down upon because they have the word “Christmas” in the title. Curling up inside to a slow song is not just a Christmas pleasure, and neither is celebrating with a festive jam. Living a life without limits is impossible unless you allow yourself to listen to “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” whenever you desire.
Spreading out Christmas songs keeps them from overwhelming us in December and annually ruining themselves. If everyone listened to Christmas music all year, then Thanksgiving would be less under siege. There is an obvious desire for Christmas music and the mood it creates. Depriving oneself of a song simply because it is summer is no way to practice self-care. Put “All I Want for Christmas is You” on in the car in August, and I guarantee people will sing along.
If we all expanded our love for Christmas songs beyond December, the fears held by many that protest the genre in November would go away. It is a beautiful compromise; more Christmas music for everyone while sparing Thanksgiving from being overshadowed. It is my sincerest hope that this will lead to an expansion of all holiday music. “Monster Mash” is only an October song if you limit yourself to that way of thinking.
It all starts with Christmas music, a genre so joyous people feel freed in December when they are allowed to play it without a public shaming. Society — and Spotify — should free itself from these tyrannical chains. Now more than ever Americans need the warm spirit of the holidays. Mariah Carey may be our only hope.