Holiday-themed music can only be magic in moderation.
As November once again trickles away, the holiday season looms before us. Akin to all the years before, people are already getting into the holiday spirit and Christmas music is undoubtedly pumping out across every PA system in every mall in North America. The process seems so excessive, particularly in the case of music.
While nothing embodies the holiday spirit more than the music that strings the season together, nothing is more abused at the same time. A machine fired up as early as November, becomes so tired by the time Christmas Eve actually rolls around that it is unable to serve its original purpose. Our eagerness to usher in the holidays and unwillingness to let them go makes them commonplace and ordinary, and the enchantment of Christmas is lost.
Fortunately, unique to any other time of year, Christmas brings humanity together. If there is anything that makes us all willing to help one another, and love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves, it is easiest to see at Christmas. We’re surrounded by it by just walking down the street. It’s in the music, too. All music shares its own bit of emotion but Christmas music seems particularly effective at doing so. The songs we are all familiar with are able to reduce us to tears or raise us—and everyone else around us—up. The cultural context we all seem to fall into one way or another gives us a great medium. All emotion becomes easily conveyed and all music sharp to the touch.
But Christmas cannot be a month-long event. It cannot be bought in bulk, yet we treat it that way. Christmas is not having more: it is having less and sharing. Drawing out the holiday is asking too much from it, and too much from us.
Forcing a holiday spirit to exist for a month exhausts everyone involved, and makes its final climax so utterly determined and prepackaged it becomes boring. There is no spontaneity left in Christmas, the only surprises being the ones under the tree. The context that raises the music up is lost, squandered by a million attempts to drag it out for a month.
Christmas music has its special place in our hearts and helps make the holiday as joyful as it is. But over doing it just steals all that is magical away from it, making it boring, repetitive, and irritating, early December is not the time or place for Christmas music to consume all aspects of life; when it is devoid of the immanent oncoming of Christmas, it is a hollow shell of its former self and loses all meaning. The music has the ability to move us from the loneliest lows to the highest highs, or cast our defences away, leaving a raw ball of emotion.
We should all enjoy Christmas music, but it is best enjoyed in moderation, allowing for genuine emotion to come through.