The Reason for the Season: The Psychology of Traditions

This is the most wonderful time of year, and they did not make a whole song about it for nothing! People wait all year to perform their own holiday traditions, such as baking festive cookies, hanging lights outside, or watching their favorite holiday movies. It seems that no matter how old a person is, this time of year brings out the child inside of all of us. While the hype around this holiday is clear, one might wonder, why do people actually love Christmas so much? 


This question can have a myriad of answers; however, experts have their own speculations. Assistant anthropology professor, Dimitris Xygalatas, suggests that people are drawn to the familiarity and tradition surrounding this time of year. In an interview on the website The Conversation, Xygalatas states that: “Everyday life is stressful and full of uncertainty. Having a special time of year when we know exactly what to do provides a comfortable sense of structure, control, and stability.” That testimony makes perfect sense, the holidays are packed with experiences that we only have during the holidays; no one is making fruit cake, or decorating a tree in June. These customs give us something to look forward to, and are the reason so many people count down the days until Christmas morning.

Senior, Victoria Shultz, a notorious holiday lover holds her family’s traditions close to heart, her favorite being wrapping presents with her grandma; she says “I have done it since I was little, and it makes me feel like the holidays have finally arrived.” Fellow Senior, Julia Germond-Loudon, looks forward to decorating cookies with her family, and although “it usually ends up being a big mess, it is a lot of fun.” 

People’s love for Christmas is undeniable, whether it be psychological or not. Something about this time of year warms up hearts like a tall cup of hot chocolate, and makes eyes shine just as bright as the lights hanging on porches. While some festivities may look a bit different this year, the magic of the holidays is still alive and well. So, turn on your favorite holiday flick, and have yourself a merry (and safe) little Christmas.

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