Christmas Music at McDonald's Already: Are You Lovin' It?

Christmas music playing early at McDonald's
Christmas music playing early at McDonald's

On a 60-degree October morning at a McDonald's in Manhattan, I wolfed down my Sausage McMuffin to the strains of Brenda Lee's Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree.

My ears didn't deceive me. This McDonald's (MCD) has been been pumping out holiday music since Oct. 15, the day it received the CD from corporate, store manager Luis Tapia said. And when corporate sends its monthly CD, Tapia explained, you play it. "They make research," he told DailyFinance, noting that the jolly soundtrack perhaps takes peoples' minds off war and recession.

But isn't a tad early? Like "I haven't even bought a last-second Halloween costume for my third-grader" early?

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It's not a mistake, according to McDonald's HQ in Oak Brook, Ill. If stores received the Yuletide anthology, they can play it at their discretion. So some of the nation's 14,000 McDonald's -- 85% of which are independently owned -- are already decking the halls with sounds of Christmas cheer.

"Some restaurants kind of get into the holiday spirit earlier than others," McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said. "As it relates, we do have a holiday theme that has already begun on some of our packaging. That may have prompted the holiday spirit a little."

Proud said if it makes the customers happy, McDonald's is behind it. "I certainly don't think it's a bad thing," she said.

returned to the same McDonald's to see if the early-lunch crowd was, as the ad goes, lovin' it. "It's early but it's funny," said Sara Dia, a display host at a nearby Whole Foods Market.

James Michael Hicks, who works at a funeral parlor in Queens, listened for a moment to Winter Wonderland. "It's not the proper time to play the music," he said.

Any suggestions? "Rock 'n' roll," Hicks replied. "Or how about a little Halloween music?"

But Tapia said his outlet getting its Santa on makes "everybody happy" and he hasn't heard any complaints.

Enrique Gomez, a student waiting for his food at the counter, agreed. "It's calming music," he said.

For some fast foodies like myself, however, sweating out the Nov. 14 deadline for McRib availability is stressful enough. Now we have to worry about Jack Frost nipping at our nose, too.

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