The calendar has slid into 2014’s final month and, just in case someone hasn’t noticed from the over-stressed and under-slept students or the bitter, cold wind blowing them down State Street, we can always count on one thing to slap us across the face with a heavy dose of December: holiday music in public places.

It’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” that remind shoppers they need to keep their eyes peeled for that perfect snow globe to add to Grandma’s collection or that quesadilla maker from Kohl’s their favorite Daily Arts Writer has been eyeing (*wink*). Throughout the month, the soundtrack to our lives is strategically altered and encourages over-spending and general happiness, and that is 100 percent OK. Bring it on, Target.

That said, holiday tunes must be restricted to holiday stores. It gets a little freaky when you’re in the Safe Sex Shop looking for a dildo to use in a family game over winter break and Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” comes on. All of the “bells” magically turn into “balls” when you’re confronted with a six-foot display covered in condoms. Christmas music, pick your battles please. Will you rein me into my third copy of Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red? More than likely. A box set of flavored condoms? Probably not (OK, well just the peppermint ones). Peppermint-flavored products aside, the holiday music may have gone too far.

Everyone has an opinion on when Christmas music should be played (not until after Halloween or Thanksgiving, etc.), but few take notice of where it should be played. Clearly, it’s always acceptable through headphones no matter time or place; do your thang. Deciding which background music to play in public places is trickier. Let’s start here: if there’s an entire section devoted to the holiday, let it play. The same can be said for department stores and coffee shops (Peppermint mocha, anyone?).

Restaurants are a bit more complicated. It may be the holiday season, but restaurants are not directly holiday-related like department stores where people shop, nor do they usually roll out holiday-themed menus like coffee shops. However, the closer holidays get, the more acceptable holiday music is in restaurants. A Christmas album on repeat starting Dec. 1 is a little intense, Applebee’s. Furthermore, Christmas music should never be played in bars. That is the set up for a sad scene in a “Grey’s Anatomy” holiday episode. The only exception is Bob and Doug McKenzie’s “12 Days of Christmas.” If you don’t know it, do yourself a favor and check it out.

It’s time to stop complaining that “it’s too early for Christmas music.” That debate has been argued every which way and no one will agree. It’s time to complain that “it’s not the place for Christmas music.” Pick your battles, holiday tunes and whoever is the DJ behind that intercom. It’s time to get it together because Christmas music in a sex shop (and many other venues) just is not going to cut it.

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