Christmas Music, Good or Bad?

Prompted by the cartoon posted by @peder in the jokes thread.
It is that time of year, some stores have had seasonal goods on sale for weeks, UK TV Channel 5 has started broadcast themed movies.
Last year one local supermarket had just four songs on a loop, it was dire.
Is all Christmas music bad except when played for the seasonal 12 days?
I might be persuaded to say not, I will happily listen to the Proprius album Cantate Domino at any time (and perhaps it should feature as a good example in What Is An Audiophile Recording).
Any thoughts and examples?

Never heard any good in-store music - at any time. I have often fled from a store because the music was so dire. Christmas, though, is especially bad.
Some years ago I worked in Heidelberg for a while, and there was a cafe on the main street that played good music through a decent system. Can’t remember what the system was. The music was classical, mainly string quartet or piano. Quite pleasant.
Years ago I thought it would be rather interesting to set up a company that would provide sound systems for pubs/clubs/restaurants. I would use all Naim gear. I’d still love to do that - let people know what a good system can sound like.

There are exceptions;

I love classic Christmas carols sung by a proper choir. The “modern” stuff though played in stores doesn’t cut it for me – awful. But, to cope with that, I have my Sennheiser PXC550…

Yes, I’d much prefer traditional Christmas carols - but in my view there should be a blanket ban on anything overtly to do with Christmas until December (shoos, TV advertising etc).

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I have heard both the excellent Low and Tracey Thorn Christmas albums in store and in full. No complaints there. Then again, it escapes me why people go in store from this point onwards. Place your present and food order online and there truly will be peace on earth. I rarely set foot in anything bar Fopp after October each year. It’s what the internet was invented for.

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Freedom of popular pubs?
French ornithological postal providers?
Foreign oological protection police?
Flippin’ October’s prematurely passed?

Bad. Bad. Bad.

I hate it…

There’s plenty of good stuff, though I agree anything before Remembrance Day (at the absolute earliest) is just not on. The problem in the wider world is more that the same songs get terribly overplayed so that familiarity breeds, at best, contempt and at worst, revulsion.

Mind you, the McCartney and a few others like Shakin Stevens wouldn’t need ahuge amount of airtime before it overstayed its welcome.


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My thoughts when I saw the cartoon and started this thread were along the lines that what might have been a fun pop song was acceptable within the seasonal period, possibly the four week scrabble to get the Christmas number one spot.
If a ban as IB mentions above were possible, does that mean that Handel’s Messiah could only be performed in the week before Christmas. Certainly Schubert’s Winterreise seems only to be performed at the end of the year, then by extension, should Stainer’s Crucifixion only be performed in the week before Easter.
The overuse of popular music has turned it to dross, I imagine the classical pieces I have mentioned would be regarded as worthy, so should all Christmas music be regarded as bad?
So to extent the question, are there seasonal pieces that are listenable regardless of the time of year?
A closing thought, imagine having to go to four concerts in a year to listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons!

Love Christmas music.

This is my current Christmas playlist on Tidal, (I also have an .m3u one on my NAS which includes some tracks unavailable on Tidal).

I suggested a ban on anything overtly Christmassy. Handel’s Messiah commences with prophets predicting Christ’s birth, and follows through to his resurrection after death, so I suggest is not overtly Christmassy. And perhaps I should have qualified that I meant in general public places: shops, malls, restaurants and pubs etc, and not to closed discrete events like concerts, and certainly not interfering in any way with places of worship.

Am I the only one who would prefer no piped music of any description whilst being forced to shop? Personally speaking, and with the exception of hifi equipment, if it can’t be bought online I tend not to bother. I find the entire concept of ‘shopping’ tedious, often malodorous, and muzak, of the Christmas or any other variety, is just the final nail in the coffin.


IB, absolutely no criticism or intended misinterpretation meant. I was perhaps playing devils advocate, thinking that the use of “background” music in public places is indeed intrusive. Certainly I avoid the supermarket in question and could describe the constant loop as torture for those working there.
There was meant to be a light-hearted element, as I hoped the final comment showed. Also any suggestion of something that I have not heard before is welcome. Possibly not Mr Shatner though.
As with all things, everyone to their own, silent shopping is a good option. Sometimes there are good intentions, such as the local bands and choirs that are invited into the local John Lewis to play and raise money for charity.

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Certainly not the only one. I also find massively increased enjoyment of cafes and restaurants where the atmosphere is created by conversation rather than music.

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