Avoiding the Jingle Bells


By Rachel Simons

Photo courtesy of Jim, the Photographer.

For some of us, the non-stop Christmas tunes in November and December can become the very bane of our existence. Jollier folk may claim it is merely a lack of holiday spirit, but hearing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” over and over can make even the calmest person a little testy. Escaping the cacophony of merriment may seem difficult, but don’t worry, there are solutions. Here are some suggestions to make it through the holidays without hearing nary a festive tune.

1. Do all your shopping online.

Sure, everybody flocks to the internet on Cyber Monday, but think of how convenient shopping on the web is: no traveling needed; no manic crowds that you must weave through to buy that one present you really want; and especially important, no hour long wait on the checkout line where you’re forced to listen to a dozen different pop versions of “Let it Snow”.

If you shop online, you simply click a couple buttons and your gift will be sent to you pre-wrapped while your ears are blissfully unharmed. Also, while going to big name sites such as Amazon may seem like the obvious choice, you can support smaller vendors by searching Etsy or going to an individual artist’s page. This ensures good craftsmanship stays alive and you get a unique present that would be hard to find otherwise.

2. If you must venture out into the stores, bring your music device.

It can be hard to avoid the brand name stores during the holidays, particularly if you live in a major city. Even if shopping isn’t the priority, your family will probably want to see all the window displays and perhaps even go on the infamous trip to visit Santa.

If walking through jingle bell hell seems unavoidable, simply fill your listening device with some of your favorite tunes and carry it along. The moment you hear that first note of “Frosty the Snowman”, put your headphones on and be transported to symphonic sanctuary. You won’t even get mad at the three-year-old screaming their head off five feet in front of you.

3. Even if you don’t have a music device, get a pair of noise canceling headphones.

So perhaps you don’t have a music player, or your family thinks it’s rude to bring one along. Don’t fret, there is still a simple solution: noise canceling headphones. When those groups of traveling carolers pass you by, put those babies on and revel in the sound of silence.

For further cancellation, attach some fabric to each end and if anybody asks, tell them the headphones are actually earmuffs and your ears get cold very easily. You may have to learn how to read lips, but your eardrums will definitely thank you later.

4. Start up your choice of streaming service and avoid the holiday category.

One of the most insidious ways holiday music sneaks into our lives is through those heartwarming Christmas movies that cable channels play on repeat all throughout the month of December. Thankfully, with the advent of streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, users can now pick and choose what movies and shows to watch, therefore avoiding even the slightest chance of seeing and hearing merry musical interludes.

Want to catch up on all of those blockbusters and multiple television seasons you missed? Now is your chance. Snuggle up with non-musical holiday treats, blankets, and eggnog, and then press play. You will be entertained for hours and might even forget about the holiday season completely.

5. Listen to your favorite podcasts instead.

When it comes to holiday music, there are plenty of covers and re-mastered releases, but not a lot of new material. There are only so many hymnals, jazz, rock, and pop versions of the same dozen songs you can listen to before they drive you mad.

Instead of listening to boring old recordings with your family and friends, why not check out a couple podcasts (we’ve got plenty to choose from) and put them on while you’re enjoying the holidays?

The world of podcasts is large and diverse, ranging from music-based programs that introduce listeners to the latest bands, to news and talk show podcasts that cover topics like current events, food, and the entertainment industry.

Rather than feeling annoyed with what is playing out of your speakers, you can spend the holidays discovering new shows and bonding over them with others. After all, togetherness is what the holidays are really about.