OPINION | How to feel holiday magic, despite having Christmas blues

Many students feel like they are too old to enjoy and indulge in holiday festivities. While there are many feelings surrounding the holidays, there are still plenty of ways to keep the magic alive and make the most of it, despite being in a different stage of life. Kellason Walker | Sun News Daily

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It’s early on Christmas day. You and your siblings rush into your parents’ room in the pajamas you opened last night and jump on their bed to wake them up because the excitement of seeing the presents downstairs has overcome you.

Under the decorated tree are presents galore and full stockings hung on the wall. The cookies you left out for Santa are all but crumbs now.

Fast forward to the present day, and Christmas feels completely different now. It has become less traditional, more complicated and more stressful.

When my relationship with my family changed, Christmas began to feel different. The holidays are focused on family time, and that’s tough for people who have lost loved ones or struggle with their relationship with their family.

Christmas feels magical when you’re a kid. You don’t have a care in the world other than waiting to see what’s under that tree on Christmas morning. As I got older, Christmas had an element of bittersweetness and usually involved financial stress and high expectations that weren’t ever met.

Behind Christmas magic is a whole lot of stress, and this is something we didn’t think about when we were younger. We simply got to enjoy Christmas for what it was. Now that we can see how stressful the holidays are, Christmas doesn’t feel the same.

The holidays are different for everyone. Each person is dealing with their own level of stress and version of the Christmas blues. In a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 55% of 775 people found themselves remembering happier times in the past compared to the present. The sadness that some experience around the holidays can be brought on by varying reasons including feeling stressed, lonely and jealous.

Surrounded by holiday cheer, it’s easy to feel out of place when you feel sad during the holidays. It’s important to know that this depression surrounding the season is experienced by 6% of the population, so you are not alone.

Prioritize self-care during times of heightened stress and lean into things that make you happy. There are various things you can do to bring back some of that Christmas magic that we feel we’ve lost since growing up. Activities as small as listening to Christmas music or watching old holiday cartoons can do the trick.

Traditions are what always made Christmas special to me. When I feel the Christmas blues, I find it helpful to take traditions I enjoyed when I was younger and put a new spin on them. Baking Christmas cookies, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, and decorating a small tree for my apartment are activities that I still enjoy doing. Even though we have grown up and these traditions won’t look the same, we can still find some Christmas joy in doing them.

Looking back at memories is bittersweet. Instead of being melancholy about what once was, accept where you are today and ask yourself how you can make Christmas special for yourself now.