Why do people hate/dread Christmas music?

I see all the time on Twitter and other places that people hate Christmas music and dread its return every year. Some even go as far as to say that they wish they were deaf so that they don’t have to listen to Christmas music. Why is this? Is there a joke I’m missing here, or do people genuinely hate Christmas music?


Some people do not have family or good relationships with family. They may not have children or they just may be the Bah Humbug type of personality. Christmas may not bring up good memories for them, so they take it out on others.

My cousin was born on Christmas Eve and he hates Christmas because he always only got one present for both his entire life. That and there is no where to go and party on Christmas Eve, no one comes to celebrate your birthday because they have other family commitments. So he has decided that Christmas sucks for everyone except little kids.

I have a good relationship with my family, but I hate Christmas. I espeically hate that it has gone from one (or 12 days) to a “season” consisting of way more than a month every year. I don’t need 1/10 of my life dedicated to the birth of Christ. The music the OP mentions is but a constant reminder that the December 25th holiday has crept forward to mid-November (or worse). If they started play Christmas music on December 20th and stopped on the 26th, I’d be okay with it.

The complaints I see about Christmas music usually fall into three categories.

#1: Places start playing it out of season. (E.g., I once heard Christmas carols playing in a mall before Hallowe’en.)
#2: It’s inescapable while shopping. (I might like the Beatles, but I probably wouldn’t care for hearing only the Beatles play in every public area for a period of 2 months.)
#3: Some Christmas songs are outright terrible. (E.g. Christmas Shoes.)

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain that every Christmas song ever written is objectionable and not worth listening to one time.

I heard one explanation that has stuck with me as to why many people don’t like Christmas music. “It’s not good music. If it was good music, people would play it at other times than Christmas.”

I don’t totally agree and like some Christmas music. But if I listen to a Xmas channel for a couple of hours, I am good.

I think it’s because there’s a limited playlist of Christmas songs, and starting the day after Thanksgiving every second shop is playing that limited playlist OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OH GAAAAD IT’S EVERYWHERE I GO AND I CAN’T ESCAPE IT SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!!!

Two words: Mariah Carey.

That and nearly every song having the distinctive hallmark of Christmas music: jingle bells.

Well stated, @Procrustus.

Hell, if shopping’s bad, lets not forget about the people working there. I used to do seasonal retail. Imagine hearing “SIMPLY HAVING A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME” 8 times a day for a month!

Of course if there is any bad music, people are not going to like it. However, consider a piece of medieval music: if it does not conform to “classical” tonality, it may sound weird to modern listeners. It’s not Handel’s Messiah that the hypothetical critics are complaining about?

In my younger days, I worked in radio. I was the person whose responsibility it was to PLAY those damn Christmas songs, hour after hour, day after day . Nor could I escape them when I was not on the air, because of course our station’s music was being broadcast throughout the building.

Although I’ve heard enough Christmas songs for several lifetimes, I’m not a complete churl. If my wife wants to play holiday songs in our house, I’m okay, as long as it’s only all day on Christmas Eve and until 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Day.

I dunno. I don’t hate Christmas music but I can’t listen to much of it. There is a narrow band of songs that I like. I hate the “pop” Christmas songs. I’m looking at you Mariah Carey. I tend to cry when I hear Christmas songs, particularly carols. Therefore I don’t listen to many. I also cry when I sing hymns which is why I don’t go to church.

As several have already noted: a lot of radio stations and stores that play Christmas music tend to overplay a very limited number of songs (and specific recordings of those songs, at that).

I remember reading an article in the Chicago Tribune, in which they interviewed the program manager at a Chicago radio station that’s known for running an all-Christmas format this time of year. The guy said that there are only about 30 recordings on their Christmas playlist that people really want to hear, and while they attempt to incorporate other songs, if they do too much of that, they get a lot of complaints.

So, instead, they play those 30-odd recordings to death (as does every station and store which plays those songs), and a lot of people get burned out on them very quickly.

Moving to Cafe Society

A few of the basic reasons:

  • The same selection of songs is played incessantly in stores over and over again for two months. People get tired of hearing the same songs repeatedly. No other holiday is like this. And the time when they are played keeps getting longer and longer.

  • Most Christmas songs are fairly insipid, and even the good ones are given bland arrangements. So it’s not the best music in the first place.

  • People often hear them in crowded stores when they are under stress trying to do their holiday shopping, so they associate them with an unpleasant experience.

Really, it’s mostly this. I like Christmas. I’ve even enjoyed caroling with friends. But there’s a very short playlist that gets played OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And while I like most of the traditional carols, hearing dogs barking “jingle bells” was entertaining exactly once, and I’d be happy to never hear it again. There are a few others that are even worse.

Usually, when I hear a bad song in the radio, at worst it’s popular now, and after a few months I won’t hear it often. Some of these songs I’ve heard multiple times a day for months for years now. So yeah, I am always unhappy when the “Xmas music season” begins.

I like good Christmas music. “Good” consists in part of “not overplayed”. That tends to eliminate vast swaths of pop-recording stuff. “Good” for me also includes “no jing jing jing jing”, so forget Rudolph and Jingle Bells and even Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. “Good” obviously excludes “bad” and some songs are just bad — cloying or too babytalk-infantile or whatever.

They do NOT, however, have to be hymns or carols, although a disproportionate number of the good ones are because these don’t tend to jing or be disgustingly cloying or get overplayed (even individual songs that are overplayed like Silent Night or First Noel are being performed by different performers). But I’m happy to listen to the Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) or I’ll Be Home for Christmas, which aren’t carols.

These threads are the antidote:

I used to hate the Christmas music that poured out of every radio 24/7 in the period leading up to 25 December. After I had lived in Moscow for eight or nine years, I found I positively missed it. Moscow can be pretty grim in the middle of winter, and the New Year’s celebrations there don’t make up for having no Christmas.

(I loathe the New Year’s holiday. All it does is remind me that I’ve lost another 365/66 days out of my life.)

I hate Christmas songs because they are part and parcel of the marketing of Christmas. The reason I have grown to dislike Christmas is rooted in the fact that it’s a holiday that is marketed to the masses. It represents the commercialization of pretty much everything in our society. When I hear Christmas music, it’s another form of propaganda telling me that I have to be in a good mood, that I must go out and spend money because…reasons.

And like so much of modern music generally these days, the shit is way, way overplayed. It’s formulaic. It’s predictable. It’s like turning on cable TV and seeing 24 hours of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Christmas Story.” It’s a manufactured tradition.

2 words. The Carpenters. I can go 10 months or so of the year without listening to Karen sing in her manly female voice. But during the season, I have to listen to her, even if the half second it takes me to change the radio station.