It’s the news that Grinches everywhere have been waiting for: overdosing on festive music is officially bad for your mental health.
Not least because of the clangy harmonies and insipid lyrics that make Christmas haters want to say “bah humbug” at every smiling passer-by in a bobble hat.
It turns out that Christmas songs actually stop us from being able to focus on anything other than mince pies and mistletoe.
According to psychologist Linda Blair, listening to “Santa Claus is coming to town” on repeat could actually have a negative effect on your brain.
“People working in the shops at Christmas have to tune out Christmas music because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else,” she told Sky News.
“You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
It might not come as a surprise to you that hearing Christmas music on repeat isn’t the best thing for one’s concentration – or sanity – levels, however, research shows that striking a good balance between festive smells and music can positively affect the shopping environment, making customers happier.
One 2005 study found that when this perfect symmetry between song and scent was achieved, it encouraged people to spend more time in a shop and subsequently boosted sales.
However, certain types of music are more effective than others, explains marketing professor Eric Spangenberg, who has studied the effect of holiday music in retail settings.
Slow tempos slow shoppers down, he told NBC, meaning that they will stay in shops longer whereas fast-paced tunes can rush customers through stores much quicker.
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