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(Vote) When is it acceptable to start listening to Christmas music?

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Here’s a good question to ask if you want to start a vicious debate around the water cooler today: When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?

Around this time of year, asking this simple question is equivalent to opening Pandora’s Box. Everyone has an opinion and is quick to share it. Seemingly mild-mannered individuals will emotionally appeal to tradition, sentimentality or common decency. Depending on your beliefs, you might lose a few friends.

In Birmingham, two radio stations–Magic 96.5 and Easy 97.3–started playing nothing but Christmas music a full week before Halloween. On Nov. 1, a friend got in my car and chastised me for having the Christmas station on this early in the season.

“Christmas music simply can’t be appreciated appropriately before Thanksgiving,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.” I once heard a person rattle off a string of expletives and insults directed at someone who insisted Christmas music should be fair game all year.

This is clearly a heated topic.

I, too, have a deep conviction about when it’s appropriate to listen to Christmas music. I wish I could say my beliefs are grounded firmly in logic and reason, but I’ll be the first to admit that sentimentality and personal conviction weigh heavily on where I land. But I want to put all my cards on the table and let the debate ensue from there.

Christmas music before Halloween just seems wrong. That’s like decorating for Halloween in late August. There’s something to be said for letting the rhythm of the seasons be our guide here. Christmas is a winter holiday, and in October I want to enjoy Autumn. Celine Dion’s “O Holy Night” (which is literally flawless, by the way) doesn’t have the same effect when I’m driving past a plastic decapitated head on someone’s lawn.

However, everything changes on Nov. 1.

At the beginning of November, I enter into a phase of Yuletide celebration that I affectionately refer to as Christmas Lite™, which lasts from Nov. 1 through Thanksgiving Day. I’ll listen to Christmas music, but usually only in my car. Around mid-November I might start to make my official Advent playlist on Spotify. I’m not decorating yet, but I’m starting to envision the perfect Christmas tree.

The moment I see Santa Claus on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas Lite™ ends, and I break out my snowman sweater and begin celebrating Christmas in earnest. I might even don a Santa hat. You never know. From Thanksgiving Day until December 25, all Christmas songs, movies, decorations, and traditions are permissible and expected.

Many people disagree with me. I’ve been outright rejected by close friends who maintain that my appreciation for pre-Thanksgiving Christmas tunes is hogwash. But I am responding only to the conviction I feel in my heart. I echo Martin Luther’s response during a similarly vitriolic debate: “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

So what do you think? When is it appropriate to listen to Christmas music? Vote below and then make your case in the comments section.

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