The Psychological Attraction of Christmas Decorating During COVID

What effects can Christmas or winter in general have on us physiologically?

Seasonal+Affective+Disorder+effects+5%25+of+the+US+population+every+year%2C+and+is+most+popular+in+young+adults.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder effects 5% of the US population every year, and is most popular in young adults.

What is it about Christmas time that makes people have an array of emotions?

In the past year, the number of youth that struggle with depression has increased to 19% of the teenage population. 4.58% of adults have thoughts of suicide. (Mental Health America) Now, more than ever, people are struggling to stay happy, thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many people are looking  towards Christmas as a way to bring joy to our lives, and have already started celebrating. But many other people are dreading the negative emotions and affiliations that come with Chrismtas. 

Junior Emma Campbell is able to see both sides, but overall, she thinks that people should wait it out. “I think that Christmas is, like, the best time of the year, but I also think that you need to celebrate when it is time to celebrate,” said Campbell. When she was asked if it was to help bring joy during a dark time, Campbell said, “No, I get it, like I love Christmas, but there is a time and a place.”

The Triton Voice decided there are two important questions to ask about Christmas. 

Question one: Why does Christmas time make us happy? 

Question two: Why does Christmas time make us sad or stressed?

Let’s start with question one: Why does Christmas time make us happy? Well, for many people, Christmas music has a sense of nostalgia. The Christmas music on the radio is primarily the same music you listened to as a kid, with exceptions for All I Want For Christmas is You – Mariah Carey. You hear the same versions of Silent Night and The First Noel as you have for years. This sense of nostalgia is comforting for many. There is also the fact that for years your brain has associated these songs with a positive time and feeling. Christmas music has a feel that is similar to many 1940s songs. There is an old-fashioned charm to Christmas songs that many people enjoy. 

“I love the joy and happiness that comes when you see family and friends receiving gifts from loved ones. And, I love to give gifts,” said Tim Harris, a father of a Triton student. 

Many people see families that they havent seen in a while. Seeing family can make people happy, especially after the past 2 years, where many have been unable to see their loved ones. People are especially excited for this Christmas as it is safer to be with family members.

After the mood of the past few years, with a pandemic that has killed so many, and the polarization of our country, Triton Voice has found that a common mood is, “Oh, whatever! Let’s put up the tree!” This is because Christmas has such a bright and cheery mood that people are looking for a reason to celebrate. 

It has been scientifically proven that Christmas will help brighten your mood, as well. In a study done by Hougaard, scientists compared the brains of people who had Christmas traditions and those who didn’t. The scans found that people who had traditions had increased brain activity.

Question two: Why does Christmas time make us sad or stressed? As I said before, that same nostalgic feeling can make people sad! It can remind people of loved ones they have lost or traditions with family that are not being done anymore.

PsychCentral found that Christmas time, and winter in general can bring a lot of sad feelings. One major phenomenon that is extremely common, especially in teens, is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) more commonly known as “seasonal depression.” According to Springer, SAD is “recurrent depressive episodes occurring typically in the winter.” It is caused by the lack of light in the morning, and the general gloominess and dark feel of the winter. “I actually had (seasonal depression) last year,” Said junior Emilia Joyce. “It was really difficult. I don’t get as excited for holidays as I used to, and the winter in general makes me upset.”

The time can also be stressful for parents of young children, as they are constantly reminding their parents that Christmas is coming!  Having to buy presents for families is an added stress for parents, especially middle class working parents who may not have money to spare. “As much as I love Christmas time, I find it can be stressful because so much time and money is spent preparing for one day that is over in the blink of an eye.” Said Karen Harris, a fulltime nurse and mother of two. 

While Christmas time is full of joy, it can also be a stressful time for many people. Many people feel strongly one way or another.