People have varying reactions to the elaborate Christmas designs and Christmas lights that spring up every year. Some of us love them, and some of us hate them. Before you start yelling at your significant other about their feelings toward Christmas lights, you should try to understand where they’re coming from with their opinion.
New science uncovers the psychological reasons why people love and hate Christmas lights. This article examines potential influences that can influence people’s opinion on the animated light displays, so many of us love. Continue reading to learn more about why we feel the way we do about Christmas lights.
Do Christmas Lights Spark Happiness?
It’s no secret people can let their affection for Christmas lights run a little wild. However, few people look into the reasoning behind Christmas light hysteria. One of the psychological reasons might be the childhood memories people recall when December rolls around.
Over multiple studies, the data suggest that some of our strongest childhood memories pertain to the holidays, specifically around decorating during the holidays. Psychological studies indicate we may receive conditioning from Christmas lights.
As children, many of us have memories of decorating with family, eating good food, and exchanging gifts. All of these memories get tied up with Christmas lights. Christmas lights, then, represent a typical conditioning model wherein we release dopamine and serotonin when we notice Christmas lights popping up.
Christmas Light Conditioning Goes Both Ways
The conditioned response to Christmas lights works both ways. For example, if you lost a parent during the holidays when you were younger, you might not associate the same feelings of joy and happiness with the twinkly lights.
There’s even a word for the negative emotions someone feels during the holidays. Known as the “holiday blues,” the National Alliance on Mental Illness has a few tips for avoiding feelings of anxiety and depression during the holidays. Some of the tips are as follows:
Get enough sleep.
Stick to everyday routines.
Take time for yourself, and don’t isolate yourself.
Eat and drink in moderation.
Make a to-do list.
Set reasonable expectations for yourself.
Set a budget for holiday activities.
Listen to music.
Those who struggle with depression or anxiety might be more susceptible to the holiday blues than those without pre-existing conditions.
Holiday Blues Symptoms
Seasonal depression can seem especially challenging around the holidays. To combat SAD, you should consider the following symptoms. If you feel any of these symptoms, it might be best to receive counseling regarding your state of mind.
Feeling like simple activities become more challenging such as getting out of bed or taking a short walk.
Losing interest in things that usually bring you joy
Having trouble concentrating
Dealing With Post-Holiday Depression
People can also suffer from depression after the holidays end. You can try to address post-holiday depression by staying in touch with loved ones and planning activities with friends and family.
Other Ways to Flip the Script on the Holiday Blues
If you struggle with the holidays, you can implement a few practical things to improve your feeling regarding Christmas decorations. One of the best ways to deal with holiday blues is to focus on creating new traditions with your loved ones. Since most of the negative feelings toward Christmas lights stem from memories, the best way to eliminate the pain from those memories is to make new ones.
Another way to combat the holiday blues is not feeling like you have to be happy about them. Using cognitive behavioral therapy, you can expose yourself to negative emotions without feeling like you’re abnormal or like there’s something wrong with you for having negative feelings toward the holidays.
If you have traumatic memories about the holidays, you don’t need to feel alone. It is perfectly normal to feel negative emotions towards a past traumatic event, and you shouldn’t feel like something is wrong with you if you have trouble enjoying the holiday cheer.
Take the holidays at your pace, and don’t let anyone convince you that you have to do everything every day leading up to Christmas. If you like baking with friends but don’t like going sledding, don’t sled, just bake. One of the easiest ways to make the holidays a drag is by spreading yourself thin.
Decorating With Christmas Lights Can Help Establish New Relationships
Studies show decorating with Christmas lights earlier can help foster new relationships. One such study found that neighbors are more likely to associate your house as a welcoming home if you include Christmas lights in your repertoire.
If your neighbors seem friendly, and you just haven’t seen a window of opportunity to make your greeting, Christmas lights might be the most effective way to spark a conversation.
Another study found that people who put up Christmas decorations earlier are happier. The psychology behind this stems from those who have happy memories of Christmas recalling those memories earlier in the year. The conclusion makes sense. If you have fond Christmas memories, the earlier you remember them, the happier you become.
Conclusion- The Psychological Reasons Behind Either Loving or Hating Christmas Lights
The psychological reasons behind either loving or hating Christmas lights go both ways. Some people have very fond memories of Christmas lights. Naturally, these people experience positive emotions toward Christmas lights.
Others associate negative memories with Christmas lights. Regardless of our personal experiences with the holidays and Christmas lights, no one should be shamed for their view on Christmas lights. Understanding that people’s views on Christmas lights come from uncontrollable aspects of their past will help you avoid that argument you get into with your uncle every year.
Instead, offer him an egg nog and listen to him share why he doesn’t like Christmas lights. He may have had a nasty divorce. Perhaps your grandpa didn’t give him any presents. Whatever the case, Christmas should be about helping people, and sometimes all people need is someone lending an ear.