Roundtable: When is the best time for holiday music? 

Halloween just ended and it’s time for holiday season to begin. The Daily Campus Life section debates when the best time to start playing holiday music is. Illustration by Van Nguyen/The Daily Campus

The arrival of Nov. 1 signifies more than just Halloween hangovers. It represents the end of spooky season, which supposedly leads into the next best thing: the holidays. 

Heated debates have continuously been held around this topic – calls for justice over Thanksgiving recognition, countered by some who consider turkey day to be just another part of the festive season. Others simply want an excuse to resurrect Mariah Carey, who only seems to come alive during Christmas time. 

Themed music is no doubt the most obvious indicator of a season, particularly when it comes to the holidays. As lovers of conflict, our Life writers provide some of their thoughts on when we should really start whipping out those red-and-green tunes. 

Taevis Kolz, CC 

As Halloween comes to a close, Christmas decorations will inevitably flood department stores, and poor retail workers will not be able to go two hours without being forced to listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” against their will. Every year, the holiday season seems to start earlier. 

In an ideal world, holiday music would begin playing no earlier than Dec. 1, or at the very least, Thanksgiving. The density of such music would start out light with an exponential growth pattern building up to the big day itself. However, that vision is an impossibility in today’s consumerist society. 

The main issue with most holiday music is that it starts playing so early that by the time the actual holiday rolls around, many have gotten sick of it. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” may be a good song, but not when it’s the 50th time hearing it in a month. 

Many of the best holiday songs are delicate and slow, evoking imagery of sitting around a fire with loved ones as a blizzard rages outside. Selecting any holiday-themed song from the catalogs of Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby is always a safe bet. However, none compare to Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Christmas Time Is Here.” It commands an intense feeling of nostalgia like no other, standing alone as the holy grail of holiday music. 

Max Soroka, CC 

Personally, I start listening to Christmas music on Black Friday or even throughout the Thanksgiving meal. I understand that some people prefer to start earlier – like right after Halloween – but I find starting that early leads me to become very sick of the festiveness by the time Christmas is here. Listening to holiday music on or slightly after Thanksgiving allows just enough time to listen to it without growing tired of it. 

As for specific Christmas songs, anything from Mariah Carey is pure gold. Every year, I physically get excited when “All I Want For Christmas is You” comes on for the first time, and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is iconic. Other classics like “Feliz Navidad,” “Silver Bells,” “Last Christmas” and so many more are also very beloved and will be heard audibly by all my neighbors when I return from Thanksgiving break (sorry in advance). There are also plenty of great Christmas songs that have been released in more recent years. Cee Lo Green’s “What Christmas Means to Me” and anything Michael Bublé touches are just two of the many examples. 

But if I hear a single note from “Wonderful Christmastime” I will dive into the business end of a snowblower. I don’t have anything against Paul McCartney – he is one of the greatest musicians to ever exist. But this song is so annoyingly catchy it’s criminal. If its unoriginal chorus gets stuck in my head, it will drive me to lunacy.  

Karla Perez, CC 

Nothing brings more warmth to my heart than playing Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé on repeat during car drives. However, it’s inevitable to have that one passenger cry, “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!”  

There must be a gap between the intense partying from Halloween and the commencement of holiday festivities, but the craving for even the slightest bit of holiday cheer can be consuming. That is why I say that the week of Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start listening to holiday music. It isn’t too early to where you will be constantly bombarded with Scrooges – although you may still get a few.  

While Thanksgiving doesn’t have as much music centered around it in our cultural lexicon, it is still part of the “holidays” everyone knows and loves. It’s an event that should be spent with the ones you love, so why not enhance it with a little “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas?” I always find the buildup to a certain holiday more exciting than the actual day itself, and doing festive activities while singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” with my family and friends gives me immense joy. Christmas music makes people happy, and everyone should do whatever helps them look forward to the holiday season.  


  1. I don’t know if the internet is driving it, but yes, music, in stores and on the radio, for specific holidays seems to be played earlier and earlier. Retail merchandising in prep. for most holidays seems to begin several MONTHS before a given hooiday, instead of several weeks before, as was before, when I was a kid in the ’70s or even in high school mid 1980s.

    This has the effect of holiday fatigue by the time the holiday in question rolls around, and more folks actually can’t wait for the day AFTER the holiday! That’s the real shame.

    Retailers, and music outlets – radio stations both terrestrial and online streamers, have a choice as to when to ‘unofficially begin’ a given holiday.

    It was mentioned in this article, and I think it’s a god guideline – let Christmas(the commercialized version) begin in late November, after Thanksgiving. No more Halloween candy aisle, or decorations up, until October 1st! No more Easter candy, or egg decorating kits, in February. Early March or early April is fine for that holiday, owing to it’s occerence to swing by up to one month in either direction.

  2. I love various thematic playlists that can be found, for example, on YouTube. And the cool thing is that now you can easily download them to your phone or laptop. I usually do it with Tubidy. Sometimes it’s very cool to find music on YouTube, for example, for a New Year’s party or for Halloween, and download it for free to a laptop in excellent quality. I think it’s very convenient and cool that it’s free.

Leave a Reply