‘Tis the season to be jolly — but when does that season start, exactly? If you’ve been around any mall, café or even a radio dial in the month of December (and increasingly, November), you’re sure to hear a holiday tune or two. And the Christmas spirit seems to be arriving earlier and earlier each year.
Canadian pharmacy Shoppers Drug Mart, the most popular drugstore chain in the Great White North, was among those retailers who sought to boost Christmas cheer just as soon as Halloween was over. On Nov. 1, the music systems at the chain’s 1,100 stores geared up for the holidays, swapping Bieber and Beyonce for Frosty and Rudolph. Two days later, though, the normal tunes were back. So what changed? The store says it received enough complaints about their seasonal music that they decided to pull the plug.
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Shoppers Drug Mart posted on Facebook last week that the company would be silencing Christmas music for the time being. “Hi everyone, due to recent complaints around the Christmas music being played in stores we want to advise you that as of midnight EST tonight, all Christmas music will be suspended until further notice,” the post read.
The holiday season tends to come a bit earlier to Canada than it does to the United States, where a late-November Thanksgiving holiday serves as a useful firebreak midway between Halloween and Christmas. But Canada celebrates Turkey Day in early October, leaving no natural barrier between trick-or-treat season and caroling season.
The chain’s Facebook announcement attracted thousands of comments from readers both pro- and anti-Xmas songs. “Starting this music so early takes the sacredness and meaning out of what should be such a beautiful season,” one commenter wrote. Others have threatened to never shop at the store again because of the chain’s cheerless attitude. Regardless of their beliefs, many simply thanked Shoppers Drug Mart for listening to customer demands.
While the chain may be silencing the music for now, they’re still advertising the holidays heavily on their website. Shoppers Drug Mart hasn’t announced when the carols will return, but customers have asked that it stay silent at least until after Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, which honors the country’s war veterans. Others have suggested rebooting the Christmas cheer sound effects as soon as the calendar flips into December.
All told, there is a season for the fa-la-la-ing and rum-pum-pum-pum-ing – but it’s probably not quite yet.