We need a little Christmas

Now more than ever, people are looking to Christmas music for comfort and joy

Keegan Daley, Staff Reporter

Illustration by Micky Flores-Nieves

The question of when to start listening to Christmas music is a contentious one. Some people think the holiday season starts December 1, some think it starts when October 31 ends. But now more than ever, Christmas music is bringing people a sense of joy when they need it the most.

“[Christmas] has been the one shining light at the end of the year for me,” said former Seattle Pacific University student Hannah Flores. “I started listening to Christmas music the week of Halloween because I needed a little serotonin boost.”

Flores and many others have felt emotionally drained because of all of the stressful things that have been happening this year, like COVID and the election.

“I needed to just live in a little bubble and forget about all of the things that have been stressing me out this year. I listened to it a lot during the election day and week,” Flores said. 

Many people would say that that is too early to start listening to Christmas music, and their argument, research suggests, may have some validity. 

According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, listening to Christmas music too early can lead to feelings of stress. Blair talked to Sky News about it in 2017.

“Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality,” Blair said. “Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early.”

However, looking back, 2017 didn’t have the onslaught of hardships that this year has brought. 

“I think [Christmas music] reminds us of how things used to be,” said junior communications major Courtney Peril. “When it comes to holidays, people are clinging to this idea that we can be around our families, we can see people, we can be in larger gatherings like we used to be able to.”

Many artists are releasing Christmas music this year, saying that we need the Christmas spirit now more than ever. Country music singer Carrie Underwood, released her first Christmas album, My Gift on September 25th, 2020. 

“This year, it was just kind of on my heart to do this Christmas album,” Underwood said in a teaser on her Instagram for My Gift. “I just felt like this was such a fitting time,  kinda feel like it’s a more perfect time than ever to record an album like this.”

From Dolly Parton’s country sound in A Holly Dolly Christmas, to Leslie Odom Jr.’s modern take on Christmas classics in The Christmas Album, 2020 is gearing up for a festive season full of new music. 

“Recently, I’ve been listening to John Legend a lot. He put out a Christmas album called Legendary Christmas. It’s like a good mix of modern music and the old classic stuff that I like to listen to,” Flores said. 

Peril’s Christmas playlist, Christmas Morning has classics like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole, as well as a few modern favorites, like Michael Buble, and Ariana Grande. Peril says that this music has been a big part of her enjoyment of the season. 

“Christmas music, since it’s seasonal, brings back so many memories that people hold onto from their childhood,” Peril said. 

KSPU’s media manager Andrew Stez recently posted a poll on the KSPU Instagram story that asked, “Now that Halloween is over are you guys playing songs for the Holidays???” 56% of people voted yes, and 44% voted no.

“I thought this was a good time [to post the poll] as I was talking to people at work–I work in retail–who were saying how they were shocked by the sudden shift to Christmas stuff even though at the time Halloween hadn’t even happened yet,” Stez said.

Stez said that some people feel that Thanksgiving deserves it’s own time in the spotlight before we move on to Christmas.

“It is also hard this year, because it seems like all the holidays are blending together, so I enjoy that the holiday music is bringing some holiday cheer to wrap up this overall crazy and terrible year,” Stez said.

Everyone seems to be feeling a similar way about the end of this year.

“I definitely needed a little more positivity and a little bit of a break, and so I think right now in general, I think people are just waiting for this year to be over,” Flores said. “I think that Christmas music has been providing a good outlet for me, to stay positive.”