Emotions at Christmastime

20 January, 2020
Christmas isn't a time to force yourself to feel happy at all costs. It's a time to reflect, take care of yourself, and recognize what brings you peace and joy during the holiday season. Here, you'll discover the psychology behind the emotions most often felt during Christmastime.

As the December days approach, streets and towns become adorned with decorations. A festive spirit fills the air. Holiday plans are made, Christmas cards arrive, and you shop for gifts for loved ones. It’s a time of gathering, of giving and receiving, and of sharing.

While Christmas is often thought of as a happy time, the reality for some is quite different, with feelings of nostalgia, sadness, frustration, stress, and even pain. These emotions are directly related to one’s life experiences, and Christmas is often the time of year when they feel them most strongly.

Feeling the emotions of Christmas.

How do you feel about Christmastime?

Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone. Each person has unique thoughts and emotions in response to events that have occurred in their lives, as well as in their childhood.

For children, Christmas is a time associated with holiday breaks from school, gifts and traditions, and the magic of Santa Claus. There are fun Christmas activities, family reunions, and more. Therefore, as a child, it’s easier to feel positive emotions at Christmas. However, a child’s perception of Christmas most often depends on the way their parents treat the holiday.

On the other hand, feelings of anxiety at Christmastime are more common in adulthood. Anxiety can appear for various reasons, including:

  •  Finalizing end-of-the-year projects at work.
  •  Holiday parties, company dinners, and other social commitments.
  •  Gift-buying and planning for holiday meals and celebrations.

Thus, Christmastime can feel extremely hectic, sometimes so hectic that you become overwhelmed with stress and end up hating the holiday season. Furthermore, if you’ve recently lost someone or experienced a break-up, you may not be exuding the holiday cheer others expect.

Christmas from a psychological perspective

Psychologists assert the importance of taking time to reflect on how you feel during the holiday season. Do you feel happy? Or do you feel sad, melancholic, or angry? 

It’s important and necessary for you to understand your emotions, allow yourself to feel them, and do what you can to manage them and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t convince yourself that everyone else feels happy at Christmastime. And if you’re not feeling happy, don’t force yourself to. In reality, you need to accept your mood, while at the same time do as best you can to engage with the season.

Put emotions at Christmastime into perspective

When you aren’t having an easy time at Christmas, one of the best strategies is to put your emotions into perspective. You don’t have to force happiness at Christmas. You don’t have to feel pressure to resolve problems or attend every holiday party you’re invited to.

By putting things into perspective, you’ll realize that, just like the rest of the year, you should feel free to experience the Christmas season on your own terms, with your own emotions.

Set new goals at Christmastime

Take notice of negative emotions you feel so you can take measures to make positive changes. Learn to consider Christmas a time to view problems in a new light. It can be a time to understand yourself better and to manage how you feel. Give yourself the opportunity to feel better.

A woman finding positive emotions at Christmas.
Christmas can be a time to set new personal goals and begin working on them.

Upon deciding to make a change, firstly, you’ll need to set new goals. Then, you can take steps towards achieving your goals. It’s true that even taking actions towards one’s goals contributes to a rise in positive emotions, such as increasing motivation.

The power of positive thinking

Your mood is driven largely by your attitude. Therefore, you play an active role in the state of your emotions.

Controlling negative thoughts and thinking positively also helps to improve your mood. For example, if you associate Christmas with sadness, your thoughts will trend in the same direction. Your mind will fill with negative ideas, such as “What a sad holiday”, “I hope it passes quickly”, and “I can’t bear to see everyone else around me feeling happy right now”.

Take care of yourself, and use your mind for positive thinking. Don’t allow yourself to dwell upon negative thoughts. This is how you put your emotions at Christmastime into perspective, neutralizing your thoughts towards the holiday season and making things easier on yourself.

Emotional psychology plays a key role in your well-being

Emotions at Christmastime can be very diverse, and sometimes even ambiguous, leading to mixed emotions. You can improve your emotional well-being at Christmas by taking the time to reflect and respect your emotions. Also, if you take the initiative to change your attitude (and at least see what happens), you can distance yourself from your negative perceptions of the holidays.

Enjoy your family and friends, just as on any other day of the year, without the pressure of forcing happiness and without the negative thoughts.