Why Does Christmas Music Make You Sad? There's A Reason & It's Depressing

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There's nothing better than watching everyone get into the holiday spirit, and a huge part of it is through singing and dancing to festive music. Between decorating the tree, setting a fire, and wrapping presents, there's always a never-ending playlist of Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra, and maybe even N'Sync playing in the background. Some people really just can't seem to get enough of it. However, while these classic holiday tunes are uplifting for many, other feel that Christmas music brings down their mood. So if you're wondering why Christmas music makes you sad, there's actually a reason for it, and it's incredibly depressing.

Although Christmas is a heart-warming time to celebrate with friends and family, the holidays can be super stressful for many people. Between paying for gifts, visiting relatives, and grieving over those who are no longer around jolliest time of year, Christmas music can trigger a reaction of sad nostalgia for many. Jennifer Buchanan, therapist and author of Tune In: Use Music Intentionally to Curb Stress, Boost Morale and Restore Health, explained why Christmas music can be a trigger for certain people. Buchanan told CBC News,

When people hear Christmas music, it may emphasize their grief, their loss that they've experienced throughout this last year, or perhaps over years in the past... Music affects many neural networks in our brains, many of which are a part of our emotional centres, so there's no question that music will affect people very quickly and very effectively, either for the good or the bad.
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Even those who are just generally stressed out can be totally brought down by Christmas music. Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the UK, told Sky News that listening to too much Christmas music too early on can trigger stress lingering around your pre-holiday to-do list. Whether you're behind on buying presents, finishing up work before the holiday, or if you haven't yet made New Years Eve plans, Christmas music can act as a nagging reminder to those who just aren't quite ready to get into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas music-induced stress is too real and unavoidable for retail workers during the holiday season. Even aside from external stresses, it's beyond annoying for store employees to listen to Christmas music from October to January. Blair said,

People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out — tune out christmas music — because if they don't, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else. You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.
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While Christmas music is almost inevitable for retail workers during the holidays, Buchanan says there are ways for others to stay merry and bright, and to not let Christmas music and external stressors get in the way. For those craving a little Christmas cheer without going through the entire overplayed Christmas library, Buchanan advises trying music with a different vibe and tone. She stated,

This is a great time of year to introduce new music into your current soundtrack... So it might be reggae Christmas, or jazz Christmas, and without the lyrics, and perhaps you can put that on and you can create some new memories with Christmas.

With the stress that the holidays bring to those in mourning, as well as others who are just totally overwhelmed, Christmas music can really bring a lot of people down. That being said, with Christmas music playing non-stop for about three months out of the year, retail employees definitely have it the worst. But with a variety of holiday-themed original albums, (i.e. Sia's Everyday is Christmas, my personal favorite), Christmas music doesn't have to be the monotonous stressor that some of us just really, really don't need.

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