Christmas Creep: Radio Stations Are In Full Holiday Mode

If you thought that you could avoid Christmas Creep by staying out of stores — think again. It’s annoying you on the radio as well.

Reader Matt says:

I’m probably one of the biggest fans of the Christmas holiday on the planet but the spirit isn’t typically shown after Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten a few laughs on how many stores started with the Christmas Creep extremely early this year. Well it extends beyond the stores. After dropping my fiancee off at Logan Airport this morning, which is in Boston for those not familiar with the area, I started scanning the radio to find some decent tunes. And what did I find on Oldies 103.3? You guessed it Christmas music. When I got home and took a look at their website, , it really put the icing on the cake. The “holiday season” has gotten out of control this year and I just wanted to share my experience with you guys.


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  1. BeeBoo says:

    Another reason to avoid radio.

  2. kpetree10 says:

    My local “Holiday Music Station” 101.5 The River started advertising christmas music at the beginning of OCTOBER! Eventually I bet they will try to make “Christmas in July” a real thing!

    Thank goodness for my mix CDs and XM radio.

    • tmlfan81 says:


      We used to have 101.1 ‘The River’ in St. Louis but they changed to Movin’ 101.1. After some issues with what I’m assuming to be ratings they are changing the format again at the start of 2009 so back in October they started with holiday music.

      • Suttin says:


        I believe it was late September that they started playing Christmas music. All I know was that It was warm enough to be wearing shorts still.

      • u2acro says:

        @tmlfan81: I think I first heard 101.1’s change around Oct. 5. I nearly wrecked my car! I don’t listen to the radio much anyway, but since my iPod was stolen, I was flipping around while driving. Within about 40 minutes (including flipping), I heard “The Christmas Song” (the “chestnuts roasting…” one) THREE FREAKING TIMES! Argh!

        101.1 is supposed to change to a sports talk format at the beginning of the year. Lordy, that can’t come soon enough!

  3. Raekwon says:

    Hehe I made this exact comment in another creep post. Radio stations in my area were actually competing to go all Christmas before one another. One did the day before Halloween to beat out the others that do it the day after Halloween.

  4. TheBovaEffect says:

    In Buffalo’s Alt weekly, there was a great ad for a jack format station that said “Happy Halloween! Only two more weeks until the other stations start playing christmas music”

  5. enascar88 says:

    In Utica NY we have a radion station that has started all Christmas music beginning November 1st. Me personally i have avoided that radio station until its closer to Christmas

  6. Jnetty says:

    WCBS-FM 101.1 in NY had Christmas music last night. Way too early so I changed the station.

  7. Xerloq says:

    I’m OK with this. It’s nice to be able to switch over to the Christmas station for a couple of minutes now and again.

    My question is, for the rest of you (except Christmas haters – you know you’re out there), when is it OK, in your humble opinion, for Christmas to start?

    Qualification: I’m not looking for a discussion on the commercialization of Christmas.

    • cabjf says:

      @Xerloq: I think after or on Thanksgiving (in the US anyhow) would be the most appropriate time. Can’t we finish one holiday before we’re on to the next? And it would still give a good month until Christmas and New Years.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Xerloq: Except for our tree, we’ve started decorating for Christmas. The Thanksgiving decorations are coming down (there weren’t that many to begin with) but I think overall, Christmas creep starts in our house only because we like Christmas season more. Thanksgiving dinner is generally yummier, but Christmas is a season. And also, all we had was a tree given to us by family, so my weekends have been consumed with shopping for ornaments. And since I’m obsessed with getting the best deals, it’s right up my alley.

      • Ghede says:


        First they came for Thanksgiving, and I said nothing, for I preferred Christmas.
        Then they came for Halloween, and I said nothing, for I preferred Christmas.
        (Skipping past the boooring holidays.)
        Then they came for Independence Day, and I noticed I was the only one still celebrating a holiday that took up nearly half the year. This made the opening of the gifts incredibly depressing.

    • bluewyvern says:

      @Xerloq: Black Friday, of course. That’s the day. Start of the season. Always has been. Never will be again, though.

    • concordia says:

      @Xerloq: Black Friday. Not a day earlier.

    • B says:

      @Xerloq: Christmas music is okay year around, as long as it’s good music. I’ve got a number of Christmas favorites in the regular rotation on my iPod.

    • NYGal81 says:

      @Xerloq: I’ll listen to one specific Christmas song ON Thanksgiving (The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole version), while I’m driving to the store to pick up something I’ve forgotten for dinner, or in transit to another person’s house. That’s my personal tradition.

      I know that retailers have to get their stuff out early, especially stores that cater to crafters (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.), but something about seeing Christmas crap in K-Mart, Target, Macys, since September (in some cases) and seeing “Santa’s Village” in the mall LAST WEEK is disturbing to me.

      I know you don’t want to hear about the commercialization of the season, but that seems to be really what’s driving the dissatisfaction. It’s not what people do in their own homes, it’s what we’re assailed with when we shop for our Thanksgiving turkeys and can’t avoid seeing that the “seasonal” aisle in Kroger is full of Christmas stuff.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @NYGal81: I’ve been looking for Christmas creep in my area, and I was surprised that my local Target didn’t put up Christmas merch until the day after Halloween. I even asked when they would put it up, and one of the clerks said not until after Halloween.

        It’s been fine for me, since I love that everything is on sale.

    • TangDrinker says:

      @Xerloq: Advent.

      even if I no longer go to church, we still follow that tradition.

    • CFinWV says:

      @Xerloq: After Thanksgiving. That’s my 2 cents. I remember watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade JUST to see Santa as a kid, then the flood gates would open and you’d see and hear Christmas everywhere. I used to look forward to it.

    • sponica says:

      @Xerloq: When Santa reaches Herald Square on Thanksgiving Day. I’m not a Christmas hater, in fact I love it. I just want to A) FINISH HALLOWEEN and B) celebrate thanksgiving before I enter the Christmas season.

      I’m keeping my halloween decorations up as a form of protest. Thanksgiving is a fall holiday and Christmas a winter one. So I want my apartment to look like fall, not winter.

    • u2acro says:

      @Xerloq: After Thanksgiving. Pure and simple. Use it as a tool for the holiday shopping bonanza of Black Friday Death Day. But even then, I refuse to listen. Blech.

  8. am84 says:

    Wish 99.7 in Pittsburgh has also started with the 24/7 Christmas music already. Come on. They could at least wait until Black Friday.

  9. thrashanddestroy says:

    This isn’t really anything new, here in Michigan most radio stations that play Christmas music have generally started November 1st for as long as I can remember with a few actually going into NOTHING BUT Christmas starting the first of December.

    • vortec42 says:


      100.3 WNIC (Detroit area) is 100% Christmas already. I noticed on November 1st, not sure exactly when they started. It made me furious. Then I just decided not to venture in the 100+ band of the radio so I can be assured not to accidentally tune to it.

      • thrashanddestroy says:

        @vortec42: Fantastic, that means when my vacation ends and I’m back to work Thursday, I’ll be hearing nothing but the sweet sounds of sleigh bells and Christmas cheer 8 hours a day.

    • AngryEddy says:

      @thrashanddestroy: Detroit here. Yeah, every single “easy listening” station is now 100% Christmas all the time – and most offices have it cranked. Makes me want to puke.

  10. theblackdog says:

    It’s not just radio, TV commercials are starting to show Christmas themed commercials as well.

  11. HRHKingFridayXX says:

    Whatever. I LOVE Christmas and the holiday season in general (minus the shopping).

  12. rpm773 says:

    This always amuses me. The music being played isn’t even decent Xmas’s just the covers pop music stars have released over the last 30 years so that they can collect some revenue long after they’ve achieved complete irrelevance.

    My theory is this:

    Any sane person out there thinks that A) It’s far too early for this, and B) songs like John Mellencamp’s “I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Clause” is pure garbage, but I think that people faithfully listen to this stuff because they think they’re doing their part to combat the perceived war waged against Xmas. They don’t actually like it…it’s trench warefare against the haters.

    Then again, I could be dead wrong.

  13. Outrun1986 says:

    Thankfully I listen to internet radio mostly (shoutcast), the Christmas songs are there but they are few and far between, you might here 1-2 per listening session at most.

  14. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    here in charlotte, 3 of our radio stations are playing xmas music…
    91.9 (christian station), 104.7 (“cool rock”) and one more i can’t remember.
    not sure if this is full-blown christmas music, or it was just christmas music weekend…

  15. milrtime83 says:

    In Milwaukee, there are at least 2 stations playing Christmas music all day already. 99.1 (pop i think) and the other one is a classic rock station.

  16. concordia says:

    They might as well go all-out and rename Thanksgiving to “Pre-Christmas.” Or maybe “Christmas (Beta).”

    Christmas “Thanksgiving Edition” RC1 (nightly build)

  17. stillkarenann says:

    Also in Boston, 105.7 is infected.

    I’m livid that that stupid Paul McCartney tune assaulted me nearly 3 weeks too early.

    • IrvCrapper says:


      I had that song. I used to adbsolutely adore Christmas music. Now I can’t stand it. Much of the Christmas holiday thing makes me sick – commercialism & materialism.

      I do it for my son.

    • gandalf88 says:

      @stillkarenann: That’s the station I normally listen to at work, until they did this. If they had waited until after Thanksgiving I would have stuck with them, but now I found a station that is actually closer to what I like, so the jokes on them. Guess I won’t be going back after Christmas.

      That part that really depressed me was my coworker suggested 103.3 when I told him what 105.7 did, and when I turned them on it was the exact same thing.

    • Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:


      Hey, “Wonderful Christmastime” was a Wings song! (Not a Macca solo.)

    • My Iron Lung is Rusted says:

      @stillkarenann: That’s funny, our station in West Michigan that plays Christmas music all the time is 105.7, too.

      Also, our 103.3 pretty much sucks, too, but for a different reason (top 40 crap).

  18. Eldritch says:

    In NJ, a whole Comcast music station on TV switched over to xmas music pre-Halloween.

  19. techstar25 says:

    In my market (Orlando), even the Christian stations don’t play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.
    By the way, if you are looking for some new Christmas music that maybe you haven’t heard before, check out a Christian station during the holidays. You’ll hear many new arrangements of the classics, by artists you don’t know yet. It sure beats the stale, old Mariah Carey, Madonna, John Melloncamp, Bruce Springsteen crap that you are used to. Seriously. Give it a try. You don’t have to be super-religious. You just have to love Christmas music.

  20. ModernTenshi04 says:

    At least my local oldies station waits until the day after Thanksgiving, usually. I think last year they started the week of Thanksgiving.

    Hell, the theater I work one night a week at has already put out the Christmas decorations, though management explains to me that this was directed by corporate, and not anyone working in the building.

    Seriously, do Turkeys not get any love anymore?

    **puts out his hand with fingers spread** I love you man!

  21. chiieddy says:

    Just to update you on that lovely banner (grrr at 103.3), Boston has a brand new Holiday music station in ADDITION to the one shown above. 105.7 WROR FM has gone to the dark side.

    Where’s the Hannukah music station? All dreidel, all the time.

  22. IrvCrapper says:

    Christ, cities have Christmas shit up on light poles already.

    It is fatiguing. It makes me think that my country sees me only as a consumer.

  23. OletheaEurystheus says:

    XMs christmas music starts on the 18th

  24. Bloberry says:

    I’m a person who doesn’t enjoy the Christmas season at all, and it’s impossible to avoid an overdose of the whole thing. Music 24/7, tv and radio ads, Christmas crap in the stores in October, music blaring in all the stores. It never ends. For someone like me who sits on the opposite end of the spectrum from all the little Christmas robots who lap up this crap like crazy, it’s a painful season to endure.

    • kairi2 says:

      @Bloberry: thank you. it’s all consumerism bs. christmas isn’t even a sacred holiday anymore, it’s just buy buy buy!! take a break, get a starbucks latte, and then buy buy buy some more!

  25. cottiescot says:

    A common thing happens in the 4th Quarter with Radio.. Rating Books come out around the end of Oct, and most station formats Change in January.. so on occasion they will transition with Xmas music. I agree thank god for Sirius.. I’d be lost w/o it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Sad but true…

    My girlfriend and I were on our way on a 7 hour drive from St. Louis and flipped on a local lite station in Iowa (104.1 if you know it) to listen to Delilah and she’s playing Christmas songs already too. She’s angry because of that and doesn’t want to hear Delilah at all now. At least I’ll get to listen to my stations now a bit more though :D

  27. courtarro says:

    I’m not bothered by radio stations that play Christmas music, so long as I can change the station or turn off the radio. The worst problem is when you’re sitting in a doctor’s office or hotel lobby and they’re playing the local Christmas-only station. It’s a good method of driving away paying customers.

  28. NotATool says:

    Why? Dear God, Why???

    I can understand the Christmas creep in the stores. They want to sell merchandise, and people may want to buy it on Oct. 15 or whenever.

    But beginning the actual ‘celebration’ — i.e. decorating homes and playing 24×7 songs on the radio…well, ever hear of too much of a good thing?

    I remember that it was great, way back when, radio stations would play Christmas music all day Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That was great, and that was all that was needed.

    Starting Nov. 1 is just insane.

  29. arkangel says:

    Ugh…there seems to be no escape. Between this and that accursed Countdown to Christmas clock on QVC, I’m set to be visited by 3 spirits on Christmas Eve. Bah, humbug! :P

  30. jonworld says:

    Wow. When I lived in Boston, they didn’t start it until after thanksgiving.

  31. Cary says:

    And that’s why God invented Sirius.

  32. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    OK, I’ll agree on the timing, but not the idea of 24/7 x-mas music. It gets me in the holiday season AND I find some pretty obscure gems. DYK? Hendrix, Cash, Queen, ELP, Ringo, The Boss, and many others have released various x-mas songs/albums over the year.

  33. wordbox says:

    Or, alternatively, that’s why God invented Pandora.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I program 2 radio stations, and I refuse to add Christmas music to them until Black Friday. Even then, it’ll be sparse, gradually building to Christmas Day. I’ve heard from listeners that actually get stressed hearing Christmas music too early in the year – I don’t want to be the cause of that stress.

  35. watchwhathappens says:

    I was at Macy’s a few days ago and they had “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” BLARING. Um, no it *isn’t* beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Just STOP.

  36. kairi2 says:

    this sucks even more for the people who have to worry about how they are going to afford presents for their family. now it’s just an extended constant, and seemingly badgering, reminder that they fail at life.