Christmas is in the air!  Indeed, Christmas music seems already to be everywhere in restaurants, retail stores, malls, grocery stores, hotels, even in medical and dental offices. One reporter wrote: “Holiday creep is nothing new, as each year retailers start the Christmas season earlier and earlier.”

Why is Christmas music played everywhere? Because people like hearing it! And because smart businesses know that Christmas décor and music put customers in a buying mood.   This year, Christmas music is more vital than ever to businesses trying to elevate the customer experience and shopping atmosphere. 

Here are timing strategies to make sure your customers (and employees!) rejoice at your holiday music, instead of recoiling from it.

Think About Your Business Type

“Are we talking about a retail store, a dentist, or a restaurant?” asks John Bradley, Custom Channels co-founder and Chief Music Officer. “Each business category has different timetables of when to start playing Christmas music.”

Retail wants to start the holiday buying cues for customers a whole lot earlier than other businesses. Retail stores start playing in November – often before Thanksgiving – because retail stores sell physical products and Christmas music is an important shopping activator. Just because Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving doesn’t mean people don’t start their Christmas shopping before that, especially this year as consumers will be keen to buy early due to perceived price inflation.

“Certainly, restaurants don’t need to start those audio cues in early November,”  said Bradley. “For them, Thanksgiving should be Thanksgiving. Let’s not kick Christmas into high gear until after Thanksgiving for restaurants and grocery stores.” 

For personal services like salons, spas, dental offices, etc, people aren’t going there because it’s the holiday, as they are with retail shopping. So Christmas music doesn’t need to be an early activator for visiting the dentist.  Anytime after Thanksgiving should be fine to get your customers and staff in a holiday mood.

Don’t Start At Full Blast

“I think there’s always the timing issue of not only when to start Christmas music, but how much,” said Bradley. “We talk to our clients frequently about timing and amount.”

It’s not a 100% “on or off” proposition. Businesses will sound better when they scale up their holiday music as Christmas gets closer.

“Start with a few songs an hour,” advises Bradley. “Then ramp it up to 50%…then 75%…all the way to nothing-but-Christmas in the days before December 25.”

The music played in your business year around should be well designed to fit with the brand. So integrate Christmas music into the regular music mix in late November and December. 

Not only will this better match with the expectations of customers, but it will also help keep your employees sane through the holidays. After all, if you’re doing the right thing for your customers (musically), you’re likely doing the right thing for your employees at the same time.

Don’t Play Trick Or Treat With Christmas

“And by all means, avoid the Christmas Creep. NO Christmas music before Halloween, please,” said Bradley. Even Christmas music diva Mariah Carey agrees about when to start. Watch video.  

Now that you’ve read The Right Time For Christmas recommendations, it’s time to read Old, New, Remakes, Originals – There’s More Christmas Music Than Ever to learn more on how businesses can pick appropriate songs to match the atmosphere and brand. 

Unsure how to legally stream music for customers in your business? Visit our Music Licensing Basics page or give us a call at 303-444-7700.