The Harbinger Online

Understanding Christmas

The twinkling lights, strings of tinsel and jolly Santa Clauses of Christmas time make me so happy that I have quite literally cried when walking into Target to find that their Christmas section is set up. I have always felt that Christmas is, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of year. The decorations are breathtaking, the music is jolly, the sweaters are cozy and the food is delicious… what’s not to like?

I admit, my love for Christmas has always made it hard to understand the disdain certain people feel towards the season. How on earth could a time filled with candy canes, snowmen or Santa Claus be disliked? Anything Christmas-related should never be described as “overdone” or “annoying”, so I have always treated these comments with indifference. Christmas-haters are obviously missing the point.

Though, it turns out that these people are not in the mass minority. According to Psychology Today, a North American Survey found that 45 percent of residents dreaded the holiday season. Hospitals and law enforcement also found that there are higher levels of attempted suicide during “the most wonderful time of the year”. While I’m happy-crying in Target, others shed actual tears of despair.

Though depression is not foreign to me, I was baffled by the massive number of people who feel so dejected during Christmas. To me, it’s a time where all the pain and hopelessness seems to lessen. It’s nearly impossible for me to feel sad when I’m in my reindeer onesie, listening to Mel Torme’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and sipping hot chocolate from my Santa mug.

After reading about the phenomenon, I finally realized why some people can’t enjoy the lights or the music or the Santas. Psychology Today states that the most notable cause of Christmas related depression are the unattainable expectations for the perfect Christmas, both socially and financially. The image one strives for, of a happy family gathered around their tree opening perfectly wrapped gifts, often isn’t reality.  Even I, a Christmas enthusiast, can understand this. When your brothers won’t stop bickering during Christmas Dinner? Working all day on a pumpkin pie only to have it burn to a crisp in the oven? That sucks.

So now, instead of rolling my eyes when others complain about the holidays, I try to see their side. There may be many reasons to feel upset at the constant reminder of Christmas joy that they don’t know how to feel. Just because I get a rush of happiness everytime I see a particularly elaborate light display doesn’t mean everyone does – or should.


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