Christmas music is a year-round activity. Credit | Facebook

Mariah Carey just announced that her new single “Fall In Love at Christmas” will be released this Friday, and the reac­tions were split. Her fans were ecstatic about the news, but most com­plained that November has just begun. 

Hal­loween is over, Thanks­giving looms, and there’s really only one important question on our minds: When is it socially acceptable to start lis­tening to Christmas music?

Don’t pay attention to the rest of the world — enjoy Christmas music whenever you want. 

Those of us who listen to Christmas music at “inap­pro­priate” times face con­stant shaming. We have to fight to listen to Christmas music, arguing with those who make the mistake of waiting too long or, in a fit of hum­buggery, refuse to listen at all. 

There is no other genre of music that people attempt to pro­hibit during certain times of the year, and no  other genre of music directly linked to the cal­endar. No one sug­gests that you should listen to country music only in the sum­mertime, or that you rap music only when you’re working out. 

Nobody com­plains when I turn up the volume on Taylor Swift’s “August” in the middle of March, “Sweater Weather” by The Neigh­bourhood in July, and “Honey in the Summer” by PUBLIC in October. 

Guns n’ Roses toured America this summer, playing to big crowds from coast to coast, including Com­erica Park in Detroit on Aug. 8. I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure nobody booed when the band played “November Rain” at this sea­sonally inap­pro­priate moment.

I typ­i­cally start lis­tening to Christmas music when it starts to get cold and I need to whip out my winter coat. Just last week, I lis­tened to Phil Wickham’s entire Christmas album on a long car ride. This acoustic ren­dition of classic Christmas songs is del­icate and peaceful, and the Christian songs are perfect for prayer and study. I even lis­tened to this album over the summer. 

For many, this is scan­dalous. If it hasn’t started snowing, why listen to Bing Crosby’s dreaming of a “White Christmas”? 

Well, two days ago, Hillsdale had its first minor flurries. And snow already has fallen in the northern reaches of the state as well as Col­orado and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

No one cares if you listen to Christmas music in December, but if you start earlier people may think you’re fast-for­warding to Christmas and cel­e­brating way too soon. 

The real problem may be that we don’t listen to Christmas music too soon, but we don’t listen to it long enough.

A Christian radio station in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio —104.9 The River — starts playing Christmas music the day after Thanks­giving, and stops the day after Christmas. 

It ended the Christmas season on December 25, even though litur­gi­cally Chris­tians cel­e­brate Christmas until Epiphany.

You might hope a Christian station would know better.

That’s the meaning of a famous song, by the way: “The 12 Days of Christmas” are sup­posed to begin on Christmas Day. People who are sen­sitive to the cal­endar ought to play this song in January more than they play it in December. 

Some of our favorite Christmas songs aren’t even about Christmas. They don’t mention the holiday in their lyrics. “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Won­derland,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Home for the Hol­idays” may be classic Christmas tunes, but they’re just as fitting for New Year’s Eve. 

Music should add to the joy of Christmas, setting an atmos­phere as we dec­orate the tree alongside Andy Williams, make hot cocoa on the stovetop with Mariah Carey, or build a snowman with Michael Bublé. 

But music shouldn’t become a scale for how much we love hol­idays. Instead, it should draw us together. Don’t blame music for making us speed through the season. 

Rather than focus on the music your friends listen to this holiday season, focus on the holiday itself. If songs such as “Joy to the World” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” remind you of joy and grat­itude for family and friends, listen to those songs all throughout the year. 

And if you catch me lis­tening to “Mistletoe” in my car this week, let me sing with Justin Bieber in peace. I’m going to listen to Christmas music whenever I want, and you should too.