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Studies Show Different Responses to Christmas Music

This time of year, the songs of the season are everywhere: at the mall, in elevators, on TV, and in the earbuds of many personal audio devices. But recent research has conflicting ideas about how this music affects people.

Mayo Clinic experts say tuning in to music can be good for you. Dr. Jonathan Graff-Radford says research suggests listening to or singing music can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Another study shows music may also help reduce pain.

But other studies show the opposite result. According to a 2017 study conducted by British psychologist Linda Blair, listening to cheerful, jolly Christmas could harm a person's mental health. Blair said the continuous playing of Christmas music in the car or at stores reminds people of all the things they need to do before the holiday arrives. "You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing," Blair said.

Meanwhile, a 2005 study showed an even different result. When Christmas music was combined with Christmas scents, it encouraged people to spend more time in a shop and subsequently boosted sales.

Possible Preaching Angles: The Christmas/Holidays season brings out very different reactions in people—joy, longing, stress, sadness, reunion, loneliness, etc. But no matter what we're going through right now, Christ can meet us in this season.

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