Christmas music starts playing earlier and earlier, but Americans still love it. (Flickr)

Thanksgiving traditionally kicks off the holiday season in the United States.  It’s the time of year when many put up outdoor Christmas lighting, decorate their Christmas tree and start listening to Christmas music.

In fact, some radio stations play holiday music 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the season.

But over the years, Christmas cheer appears to be coming earlier and earlier.

According to the website Insideradio.com, 15 radio stations around the country switched to an all-Christmas format two weeks before Thanksgiving.

“This is the 16th-consecutive year that KOST 103.5 has provided the soundtrack for the season to Southern California.  We’ are honored and excited that each year millions of listeners make KOST 103.5 a part of their families’ holiday traditions,” said KOST’s John Peake in an interview with the website.

That station said last year it averaged 5.2 million weekly listeners during the holidays.

While some people may grumble that Christmas music is being played earlier and earlier every year, there’s no doubt that Americans love the music.  And if Google searches are any indication, interest in “Christmas Songs” begins to rise in early November and peaks right about Christmas Day.

According to the Insideradio, about 500 stations will eventually go all Christmas music over the holidays.

Determining the most popular Christmas tunes in the United States is a little hard, but here are two lists, one based on data from music streaming service Spotify, and the other based on Nielsen ratings data. Both lists are from 2016 data.

From Spotify:

5. Wham!, “Last Christmas”

4. Justin Bieber, “Mistletoe”

3. Pentatonix, “Hallelujah”

2. Michael Buble, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

1. Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

 

 

From Nielsen:

5. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee

4. “Mistletoe,” Justin Bieber

see above

3. “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” Trans-Siberian Orchestra

2. “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn & Katie Lopez

1. “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey

see above