Whether it’s at the workplace, hanging out with friends, or on social media, the topic of when it’s “appropriate” to start playing Christmas music is very divisive.
While many refuse to “Rock Around The Christmas Tree” until a couple of weeks before December 25, others are screaming “Go Tell It On The Mountain” as soon as the first leaf falls.
According to a very detailed—albeit clustered—graph posted by EveryNoise, which tracks Spotify plays by country and day, a vast amount of geographical locations begin listening to Christmas music as soon as the calendar flips to November.
The country that begins playing Christmas music first is the Philippines, which enjoy the classics along with local favorites starting on September 1. By late October, a couple of days shy of Halloween, other countries such as Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Finland join in the fun.
But not every country is “all-in” on Christmas music so early. South American countries like Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina don’t get into the holiday spirit until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Most Christian and faith-based radio stations are supported by their listeners, so there’s a bit of strategy that must be implemented regarding when to flood the station with Christmas music. Many stations struggle to find the balance between being the first to play Christmas music and making sure listeners aren’t upset because it’s too early.
According to Christianity Today, Word FM Radio in Eastern Pennsylvania says its listeners want to wait until after Thanksgiving before hearing Christmas music. “The network offers a 60/40 mix of Christmas music… starting the day after Thanksgiving. One week before Christmas, the 16 stations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland switch to an all-Christmas playlist.”
Although a lot of Christmas music focuses on things not associated with the birth of Christ, many of the classic songs paint a biblical picture of the “fullness of God in helpless babe.”
Word FM program director Meg Geissinger says that Christmas music can attract those that normally wouldn’t listen to Christian radio.
“The opportunity to play Christmas music that is quickly recognizable means the person searching for Christmas music may land on our station and stay awhile,” Geissinger said, “this presents a deeper opportunity to introduce the listener to Jesus.”
What about you? When do you start listening to your favorite Christmas tunes? Are you jamming to “Jingle Bells” long before the turkey is carved, or do you wait until later in December?