Last Call: Is November too early for holiday music?

Vintage caroling figurines beside a Christmas tree
Photo: azndc (Getty Images)

It’s November 4. Depending on where you live, this means that for the better part of a week, some local radio stations have no doubt begun rotating holiday tunes into the daily lineup, without a hint of subtlety. Some stations might have even made the switch to becoming dedicated 24/7 all-carols hubs, looping a playlist that includes everything from “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to the always distasteful, never quite amusing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” Whenever the holiday hits start marching in, everyone’s hottest takes and strongest opinions show up right on cue. So, what are yours?


I’ll listen to any amount of what I refer to as the non-chintzy holiday songs. This encompasses both traditional arrangements like “Sleigh Ride” and top 40 hits like “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town,” but decidedly excludes anything that turns Christmas into a weird metaphor for intimacy, like “Last Christmas,” “Santa Baby,” and the like. I also heard a song at the mall last year whose lyrics were composed entirely of “Gimme gimme gimme, whoa-oh-oh // Santa baby, oh // Gimme gimme gimme // Santa, baaaaaayyyybeeeee, yeah.” This is not a holiday song; it exists purely to fill the air between Zara and L’Occitane. Barring offenses like that, however, I’m down for most December tunes and I tend not to get sick of them, even though the onslaught occurs every year.

Maybe you’re someone for whom all of this music is totally acceptable—but only after December 1. Maybe early November is just too damn early, and you’d rather separate Thanksgiving from the holidays that follow. Maybe, in true Scrooge fashion, you just can’t stand any of it and want everyone to know. Do any of these stances sound familiar? What station should we tune in to for the remainder of the year?

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.


Once upon a time I didn’t mind holiday songs. Then I got a job in retail for a few years, and spent several weeks a year trapped for hours at a time forced to hear the same things over and over. And now I can’t stand the music.

I don’t mind the humorous songs, and will break out my playlist on Christmas for a one day event. But they are funny, not Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

And let’s be honest most of today’s musical talent just wishes they could compose a real classic, or even just perform one as well as someone like Bing Crosby did.