Christmastime! Snowflakes start to fall and hot chocolates from each and every coffee place find their spots in people’s hands. Everyone rushes to class with a little spring in their step during this time of year, and the end of the semester lies just a short distance away. Lights appear everywhere, and Christmas carols can be heard ringing through every building. So why, amongst all of this holiday cheer, do some people not enjoy the season?
We dig deeper into the idea that the holidays can make you either really happy, or really grumpy.
From lights to lit trees, the holiday season always seems to have a glow of happiness surrounding it. People will laugh as they tell old stories of Christmas past, or gather around and play Dreidel with their cousins. But in my ever-long stage of coming to understand our complicated world, I’ve noticed that more people appear grumpy this time of year: more like the Grinch than Santa Clause. I wanted to know a little bit more about that. As a child, my mother taught that during Christmas time, and any time during the holiday’s, the season of giving begins. All of us give back to the community that we experience on a daily basis.
“It’s always been like that for most people,” psychologist Gabriel Tan stated in an interview with College Magazine. “Holiday’s are a symbol of joy. It adversely causes some sort of placebo effect on people. Not with a drug but with the feeling of the holidays. Some people feel the need to do good so they do, even if it’s not what they usually do. Material objects, for example, bring people joy, so many people will go out and buy, say, clothes for the homeless or poor and give to them because it makes them ‘feel good.’”
The whole “material aspect” in general comes as something that a lot of people don’t like about Christmas. The constant voice in the back of your head saying ‘You need to get this guy a present,’ annoys people.
Christmas used to be about giving and taking care of others. Now, it’s more materialized with commercials and stores. “I liked Christmas back then,” Penn State alumni John Paul said. “There were fewer commercials. No one was really in a rush. Now, it’s crazy.”
For other people, the idea of starting Christmas so early makes them grumpy.
“November first,” Penn State junior Chris Tassillo said, “is the worst day of the year. I can’t tell you how many people I have met who instantly start to play Christmas music at the top of their volume. I don’t like it starting so early. By the time Christmas actually comes, I want to jump out the window if I hear another Christmas song.”
For others, the holiday’s will always come with happiness for them.
“I have definitely met people who hate the holidays,” SUNY Old Westbury junior Kristina Morales said. “They never really focus on the fun part of it. Even if we do have finals there’s still this overwhelming sense of happiness in the air. It gives me something to look forward to and to want to finish my finals strong. And once my finals are done I’m even more excited for the holidays. It’s like a break from everything, school and the stresses of life in general. I’ll always love this time of year.”
So, whether you feel the Grinch or the festive Elf taking over, be sure to stay warm and drink some cocoa for the long nights coming.
“I always thought they were fun,” Tan said about his holiday experiences. “For some they don’t enjoy it because of the effects it might have, but at the end of the day, I always just came together with family. Despite the stresses the holiday’s might bring on people, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Family and fun times.”
Which is true. Whether or not you love this time of year, everyone’s going to have to face that aunt that pinches their cheeks still.