Breaking the Psyche: The Psychology of Christmas

As the holidays approach many began to become excited, feeling like they’re in the “Christmas Spirit,” as many say. I mean it is the middle of November and I along with others cannot wait for Christmas.

As Christmas begins to be less encompassed around religion, tradition starts playing a huge role in why people love the holidays. The world around us can get pretty crazy and chaotic. Having these traditions creates a sort of peace within ourselves because we know what the plans are centered around. Not to mention being surrounded by those we love.

Christmas as a child was typically huge. Whether your family celebrated it or your school talked about it, we learn about Christmas and all the traditions that go along with it. Such as Santa Claus, many families start the tradition of either seeing Santa, writing letters to Santa or both. This creates social learning. Social learning is the process of learning what is accepted and what is not. This helps people feel like they fit in.

As we get older though why do we feel the need to continue traditions? This may be due to the fear of punishment. This may sound extreme but let us take this word from its modern-day use. Punishment means we are afraid of what may happen if we stop these traditions.

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Consistency also plays into this because we want to continue on in our habits, beliefs and traditions. We have consistency in our everyday lives. When this special time comes around it is easier for us to stick with traditions rather than try something unknown.

Additionally, having consistency helps us feel safe from embarrassment and other negative emotions. However, as we grow older traditions such as sitting on Santa’s lap may be passed down to avoid embarrassment.

  Nostalgia also plays a massive part in the jolliness we experience and see. For those who may not know, nostalgia is a strong desire to return to a former time in life. When the world around us turns into a winter wonderland, we often experience the happiness we had as a child. This feeling can often help with increasing self-esteem and hope for the future.

The scents that are associated with Christmas like pine, cinnamon and candy canes are also full of nostalgia. Foods and different sights, such as light displays gracing the neighborhood, can also help with this feeling.

Christmas films have become an important part of the season. As humans we identify with storylines. Many Christmas movies are incorporated into traditions. It has become a tradition in many elementary schools to wear pajamas and watch “The Polar Express” during the Christmas season.

Christmas plays an important part in the minds of the families who celebrate it. Being aware of the reasons behind the feelings it brings can help you strengthen traditions in your family to create a lasting feeling of satisfaction long after the snow melts. It also gives an explanation as to why you may feel so excited to celebrate before the month of December has even started.

Ashley Brown
Reporter

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