Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Music: Do you quit cold turkey?

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and that means there are only so many hours left of the 2008 holiday season. For those who live in an area served by an “all holiday music station” where the radio has been cranking out holiday music 24/7 since December 1st or the day after Thanksgiving or like here since November 15th, the stroke of midnight on Christmas night will mean a return to their regular year-round format of programs – finis, the end, done with Christmas and seasonal music.

But what about the music sources you can control like your iPod, mp3 player, stereo system and so forth? When do you turn off the holiday musical recordings for the last time of the season? Do you have an established habit or is this an experiment this year; and how did you arrive at the date you chose?

Personally, I do not turn on the “all holiday music station” until the day after Thanksgiving, and even then I manage how much I listen. I prefer to not lose the freshness of the music and actually listen to it instead of it being an unconscious activity running on autopilot as background noise.

Over the past few years we have acquired a tidy collection of various holiday CDs. Back in the day we had a similar collection on cassette, and before than it was on 8-track, and before that it was on LP records. Over the years I have had different constraints (or lack thereof) about playing my own collection in order to maintain its specialness.

The past couple of years I have been more judicious in my holiday music use and consumption. This year I did not turn on the radio or listen to my collection until Thanksgiving weekend. One exception is George Winston’s “December” which I have played occasionally year-round. For the rest of the collection I play them starting at Thanksgiving but only when I am actually listening to them. I try to avoid using them as “white noise” to mask the uncomfortable parts of my life.

As the holiday season starts to wind down, I start my wean-off program the day after Christmas by cutting out vocals editions. Over the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve I carve the available recordings of instrumentals and the amount of time I play them each day. This way I sort of craft and build down from the holiday hype and build into a post holiday lifestyle without the abrupt shock of no holiday music.

This is not a perfect system and each year I tweak it a bit. It is also not the only way of dealing with the normalizing effect of hearing holiday music so much over so many weeks. If you have a developed a way of easing back into your non-holiday listening habits share them and a bit about how you created your approach.


Melissa Donovan said...

I know lots of people who loathe holiday music. I am not one of them. I love it! My all-time favorite is "All I Want for Christmas," by Mariah Carey but another favorite that's really growing on me more and more is Dean Martin's (original version) of "Baby, it's Cold Outside." Man, I love that tune!

chelle said...

Merry Christmas friend!

I love the music ... but not after Christmas day!

G's Cottage said...

@Melissa - When I first saw the "All I Want for Christmas" the tune in my head called up the song about the two front teeth. And I knew that couldn't be right. So I Youtubed it and figured it out. Your's is a nice song but not on my list this year. Now the Dean Martin I happen to remember when it came out. And if I recall it got spoofed on his show a lot.

@Chelle - Thanks for taking time out of your busy days to stop by.

Daisy said...

I love Christmas music and I confess, I listen to it year round. Many of my CDs are unique, and the beauty of the performances transcends the seasonal nature of the lyrics. Right now I'm listening to The Blenders: Nog. Next, I'll pull out Gloria Estefan's Christmas Through Your Eyes. :)