While many folks are singing along to their favorite Christmas music, decorating Christmas trees, adorning their homes with fantastical light displays, and settling in to stream a myriad of Christmas-related movies, those in the conspiracy theory crowd have become ambivalent to the so-called war on Christmas and have wondered if there is a sort of psy-op type of torture that is happening with Christmas songs being played too soon on the radio. There is now a term for the moment where Christmas music is inappropriately played and decorations go up after Labor Day — it is called Christmas Creep. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks with Radio Hall of Fame inductee and host of the Dr. Demento Show, Dr. Demento about NOSFERATU WEPT – SEASON’S SCREAMINGS AND YULETIDE PERIL.
While many folks are singing along to their favorite Christmas music, decorating Christmas trees, adorning their homes with fantastical light displays, and settling in to stream a myriad of Christmas-related movies, those in the conspiracy theory crowd – have become ambivalent to the so-called war on Christmas and have wondered if there is a sort of psy-op type of torture that is happening with Christmas songs being played too soon on the radio.
We can hear rants all we want by talk show hosts who see Starbucks offering satanic coffee cups – or we can nip in the bud the evil that exists, which is the grating sounds of Christmas music being played too soon.
This type of programming has become just as annoying as Daylight savings time.. turn back the clock and then turn on the Christmas noise.
On October 31st, Halloween, both Wes and I came into the studios where we work and we were completely shocked that one of the radio stations there had already started playing Christmas music.
Christmas songs are like Pumpkin spice — They end up being pushed on our way before they should be.
When Christmas songs are played to early Nosferatu weeps.
While Christmas songs are harmless, it was still a bit irritating that while there were skulls, jack o lanterns and bats on the walls — Mariah Carey returned way too early in the year –and to add insult to injury so did McDonald’s McRib.
We also noticed that when the Spirit Halloween stores showed up at your defunct Walmart, there were Christmas decorations and all sorts of pre Black Friday sales — that were happening right next store.
I am a firm believer that there is something very wrong with playing Christmas songs before or immediately after Halloween.
Playing them on the radio on Black Friday is permissible, but wouldn’t it be prudent to wait until the turkey carcass gets thrown out with all of the other leftovers?
For some people, Christmas music is the embodiment of the holiday spirit; it signals the beginning of the Winter season. But that is the point, right?
They represent the winter season — not the autumnal equinox..
There needs to be some penalty for playing cheerful Christmas music before election day — if we can just get past the elections, like passing a twisted sardine can — our reward would be sugar plumbs, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Dean Martin, The Carpenters and Barabara Streisand.
After all business is business, and the songs that we hear take the fun out of Halloween and leave a bad taste in your mouth during Thanksgiving.
There is now a term for the moment where Christmas music is inappropriately played and decorations go up after Labor Day — it is called Christmas creep.
The Christmas Creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers introduce Christmas-themed merchandise or decorations before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, which in the United States is on the day after Thanksgiving.
When a radio station starts playing Christmas music too early – they are participating in the Christmas Creep. It is simply a strategy to get retailers to spend their Christmas budgets and in some cases, it is a ploy to position itself as a “Christmas listening destination.”
Prior to the early 21st century, radio stations commonly began adding some Christmas songs to their regular playlists in early December and then playing an all-Christmas playlist on December 24 and 25.
After the year 2000, some stations began playing an exclusively Christmas format for December, a practice that became more widespread in 2001. In subsequent years, such stations have commonly shifted to an all-Christmas playlist after Thanksgiving, or even several weeks earlier.
Some satellite channels now play Christmas music from November 1st to January 1st.
It is still extremely rare to hear stations other than those pulling a stunt between changing formats change to Christmas music in October.
Most people agree that Christmas music before Halloween is simply wrong – just like heavy snow and super cold weather in the Midwest before the first day of Winter.
I mean, they skip over Halloween, Thanksgiving and other national holidays just to go straight to Christmas. It’s getting so ridiculous. Christmas comes only once a year and like a selfish lover it apparently comes too soon.
When the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 31, it turns into the holiday season. Though holiday cheer and merriment may seem like a good thing, you may want to hold off on the eggnog and Christmas carols. As it turns out, celebrating the holidays too early may actually be bad for your health.
A psychologist named Linda Blair claims that playing holiday music too early makes some people feel trapped psychologically.
It’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater to people, and organize celebrations. It can become stressful because we also need to organize family planning for Thanksgiving as well and for some, it is too much and having a Christmas reminder that happens too soon can trigger depression or worse.
And beyond the personal blows, our addiction to Yuletide tracks serves retailers, who make a small fortune off of our holiday anxiety, blasting “Jingle Bells” on a loop starting November 1.
Some department stores like Best Buy have been known to pump out Christmas tunes in their stores two months before Christmas.
If the Christmas playlists start up in October, all the hits will become grating by now, let alone the actual holiday.
There has always been this debate on whether or not there could be some sort of halfway mark, where somehow there can be Christmas songs that can still reflect the Halloween spirit.
After all we have now made room for Krampus, and he comes in the first two weeks of December — sort of a Halloween’s revenge for those who torture us with Grandma got run over by a reindeer.
I like Christmas. I’d like to continue liking Christmas. We need to all agree on a reasonable date for full-fledged Christmas festivities to begin, the first of December would be reasonable — but it is Hallmark cards and retailers that find the idea abhorrent — we need a 24-hour commercial of something to get your Jolly’s off.
But while this phenomenon seems like it is new — it really comes in cycles– doing the holiday early — happens during times of a bad economy –when things are plentiful, Christmas schedules can get back to normal– but there have been editorials as far back as 1901 that talk about the Christmas creep and how it is a reminder of how penniless people have become.
How upsetting it is to be reminded that the kids will only get socks and underwear this year.
In 2015, a story went viral about Nordstrom’s “one holiday at a time” policy—no Christmas decorations in their stores until after Thanksgiving. The internet rejoiced that, finally, someone was taking a long-overdue stand against Christmas creep—but then it turned out that, actually, Nordstrom had been doing the same thing every year since at least the 1980s.
Some say they have been cursed by this decision as they are always shutting down their stores.
According to many desperate posts on Reddit :
Christmas music should not be played until December 1st, and it should stop being played on January 1st. Playing it outside those times should be more frowned upon.
I wonder if perhaps we should declare it bad etiquette.
I say that it is still in poor taste; in fact, it sends a message of desperation and also adds to the cliché that Christmas is just too damn commercial.
It has become a holiday that is being hijacked with cultural appropriation complaints that this period of history in America is frequently white-washed – which leads some Americans to ignore the Holiday.
The fringe Left have always found a way to take the joy out of Thanksgiving and Christmas– and even Halloween now that I think about it — It has one from a fun hay ride, bobbing for apples holiday to one where the militant religious think that kids begging for candy is akin to worshipping the devil.
Believe it or not, our cycle of the Christmas creep has been around since the assassination of President Kennedy.
President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. Then Peaceful civil rights protesters had been brutally clubbed by state troopers on a bridge in Selma, Alabama, and tens of thousands of young American men were being shipped off to fight and die in Vietnam.
The nation was hungry for reassurance — a return to a nostalgic past that was simple, sincere, honest and understandable.
Christmas music in the Fall was the answer and as it faded in the mid-1970s — it has returned again — and indication of how times are bad enough to air Christmas songs and hang decorations mega early.
So the earlier we hear the Christmas music the more we are reminded of how bad things are.
Dr. Demento has been celebrating “mad music and crazy comedy” on the airwaves playing everything from Spike Jones to Frank Zappa for nearly five decades. He is responsible for introducing the world to the Dr. Demento Show’s #1 most requested song of all time, “Fish Heads”, and even launching the career of the most successful artist in the entire history of funny music–“Weird Al” Yankovic. Throughout the years, the world-famous Doctor’s influence on pop culture has earned him induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, an hour long Anniversary special on Comedy Central, featured guest appearances on Late Night with David Lettermen, Larry King Live, and countless others including the award winning animated sitcom, The Simpsons.
Dr. Demento is a world-renowned record collector and music historian, whose lifelong passion for music of all kinds is reflected in the weekly selections heard on the Dr. Demento Show. In addition to live appearances and performances nationwide, the Doctor lectures at educational institutions drawing on his extensive knowledge of the history of Comedy, the music of Frank Zappa, the history of punk rock, and many other topics. His website is drdemento.com.