Keep the music seasonal

By Stacie Wieland

DeKALB | In a time when merely uttering the word “Christmas” can spark a heated debate that was once reserved strictly for the political arena, music celebrating the season has become a hot topic. Questions have been raised about whether or not it should be played in public places, about how much is too much and, most importantly, about when it should be played.

Christmas music is an interesting creature — it hibernates for the majority of the year, lurking in the back of the collective subconscious, just waiting for an over-eager department store to let it out of its cage. Every year, it seems as though the winter holidays succeed in creeping closer and closer toward their biggest rival: Halloween. In malls across America, puzzled shoppers have reported Santa Sightings before their Jack ‘O’ Lanterns have had a chance to rot away or be smashed by passing ruffians. This is when people begin to have problems: when is it too early for anybody to be thinking of mistletoe?

“I enjoy the music when the season’s right,” junior history major August Tang said. “It was October and places like Wal-Mart were playing Christmas music. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ That peeves me.”

Junior communication major Patrick Frierson, has one point of contention: listening to one of his favorite songs of the season, “Let it Snow,” sung by Boyz II Men.

“I can listen to that anytime,” Frierson said. “It could be 95 degrees and I’ll want it to snow.”

While Frierson’s zeal can be understood and even shared, it appears that many see eye-to-eye with Tang — that Christmas music is, indeed, as holly-jolly and as wonderful as the time of the year, provided it is played during the winter holiday season.

Despite it being virtually inescapable — one can often find a radio station playing it 24 hours a day, seven days a week — when the time is right, the music is met with genuine appreciation and enthusiasm.

“It builds suspense, hypes you up,” Frierson said. “The songs uplift you and get you into the spirit.”

As it should. Is it not, at its core, the season of giving, comfort and joy? Holiday music is powerful and holds a special place in countless hearts, minds and memories. How many have heard a favorite selection and spent the rest of the day with a grin on their face because of it? Who has helped teach the correct words to younger siblings or relatives only to think, laughing all the while, the child’s version is far better in comparison? And what can be better than reminiscing with friends while a familiar melody floats through the air?

But the reality is, that time has come and gone. January has swept in, and with it, the usual frost, frigid temperatures and frustrating flurries. It’s time to let go and get back to work already; pack up the Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, Boyz II Men and Trans-Siberian Orchestra until next Christmas.

“After Christmas, it’s just too much,” said Alanna Redd, senior child development major.

Nazli Yetgen, a junior public administration major, said she wasn’t sad to hear the popular holiday tunes go back into hibernation, either.

“It’s nice during that time of the year,” Yetgen said. “I like listening to Christmas music, but if you hear the same song over and over, it can get annoying.”

And so, with Christmas music out, and two more months of winter yet to come… let it snow and hail the New Year; have a cup of cheer in a one-horse open sleigh; you better not pout, cry or shout on the busy sidewalk; and fa la la la la la la la la with a partridge in a pear tree.