Christmas is a holiday which needs no introduction. It’s a near-universally adored festive season, a time for giving and receiving and enjoying the company of others.

Naturally there are complaints; many Brits find the run-up to Christmas a stressful time, full of anxiety about sourcing the right gifts and the right food, and making sure it goes without a hitch – so why do we we love Christmas? Why are we so content to risk stress every year?

The History of Christmas

Many of our Christmas traditions can be traced back a long long way. The 25th December represents the melding of several traditions, including the separate Scandinavian and Roman celebrations of the Winter Solstice – Yule and Saturnalia respectively – and the Christian celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Adding in a sprinkle of legend regarding the famed 3rd century monk St Nicholas, and there we have it: modern day Christmas is born, with stockings by the fireside and feasts during the day, where gift-giving and love for friends and family take centre stage.

A Time for Friends and Family Alike

Christmas is first and foremost a time for loved ones – a chance to see family you haven’t seen in months, and a chance to reconnect with friends and family alike. Gatherings are part and parcel of the festive season, with warm drinks and warmer fires to bring you together out of the cold. With Christmas so closely twinned to the idea of re-convening, to catching up with your favourite people, it’s easy to see how so many people can look forward to this time of year.

Letting Your Hair Down

Christmas is also an excellent excuse for you to justify those extra little treats you might have been denying yourself through the year. It is a time of excess, and what better time to have that extra portion of cake?

The best thing about it is you’re not alone, and you can share in your guilt-free gluttony through-out the season. This freedom from dietary woes even seeps into our collective gift-giving practices; chocolate hampers are a wonderful and warmly-received gift for family, and the perfect excuse to enjoy yourself that little bit more for once.

Good Cheer All Round

The combined effect of all these factors, in a majority of people, leads to a collective cheer it’s impossible to ignore.

The power of this Christmas cheer is so strong that psychologists have discovered doing something as simple as putting your Christmas decorations up earlier can make you instantly happier. Besides, it’s hard not to crack a smile when so many people around you are smiling too.

Christmas is a powerful thing – it brings people together even in difficult circumstances, and something that strong is hard not to love.

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