Yesterday I was at the dentist’s office, getting my teeth cleaned. As I was reclining in the chair, with the dental hygienist sand-blasting my teeth in a desperate attempt to make them slightly less dingy, she groaned. “Oh no! They’re playing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer again!” she said.
Sure enough, some uninspired, generic version of Rudolph had just begun to play over the office sound system. I hadn’t really noticed until she mentioned it, but the sound system at the dentist’s office was tuned to a local pop music station that starts playing a steady diet of Christmas music as soon as Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror. It was only Wednesday of the first week of the Christmas music marathon, and already the hygienist was feeling the pain of the relentless carol barrage. I said, “Well, you’ve only got four weeks to go” when she removed the scraper and saliva-sucking tube from my mouth. She smiled bravely behind her mask but responded, “I’m not sure I can make it.”
I like holiday music, particularly the classic versions of carols and pop hits like Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree or Blue Christmas, and I’ve got a playlist of Christmas music on my iPod that I listen to while doing my holiday baking. I could probably listen to an endless loop of the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack for hours and be perfectly content. But the generic stuff, like a version of Do You Hear What I Hear by the latest one-hit wonder pop star, is nothing but grating. I can’t imagine being forced to listen to instantly forgettable renditions of holiday music all day, every workday, and I’m grateful that I work at a job where that isn’t part of the performance expectations.
Employers should consider whether it’s only fair to their employees, and their sanity, to take an occasional break from the Christmas music every now and then. Who knows what a dental hygienist, armed with hooks and scrapers and sand-blasting implements, might do after being driven around the bend by the 25th playing of Celine Dion’s version of Feliz Navidad?