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Expert Discusses The ‘Psychology’ Of Celebrating Christmas

Shola Lee


Expert Discusses The 'Psychology' Of Celebrating ChristmasAlamy

Whether you’re itching to deck the halls with boughs of holly, or thinking of pulling a Grinch and elaborately stealing everyone’s trees, experts suggest there may be more to our love – or hate – of the holidays.

Ah, the festive season. The one time of year where you can eat chocolate for breakfast and wear the same clothes for days on end, because no one knows what day it is anyway. It’s the time of year for celebrating, forgiving and revealing your deep subconscious tendencies.


At least, that’s what I found when interviewing psychoanalyst and mindset coach Steve McKeown. So, whether you love trimming the tree or hate Christmas music, there’s probably a deeper reason for it.

Christmas tree (Pixabay)Pixabay

First thing on the agenda: Christmas songs.

Personally, I love them. They’re dramatic, catchy and pretty much every great artist has a festive song. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t play a Christmas song until December, but I do have a playlist entirely devoted to Christmas music. It’s called Pigs n Blankets, a questionable name for an even more questionable vegetarian, but I am trying.


Some people aren’t keen on Christmas music and that’s fine. They won’t be invited to my party, but it’s fine. I mean, I’m not actually having a party, it’s more of a wine and cheese night— maybe a quiz.

So, to settle why some love and others loathe Christmas songs, we spoke McKeown.

The psychoanalyst said:

I do think people like to listen to Christmas music, partly to evoke those old nostalgic Christmas feelings of the past. It’s a slow burn that allows people to build up to the day itself. I personally enjoy the lead up to Christmas day more than the day itself, so allowing Christmas spirit in by way of music can spark those positive emotions every time Christmas music is heard.


However, not everyone uses music to embrace the festive season. According to a Consumer Reports survey, 23% of Americans dread listening to Christmas music each year.

Mariah Carey (Alamy)Alamy

McKeown explained why this might be:

Those that tend to want to avoid Christmas music could be evoking other emotions, which could be associated to negative feelings. We have to remember that Christmas can bring about social pressures, be it financial, having to see family members that they haven’t seen in some time, etc. All bringing with them a decline in mental health. So, Christmas music can cause a number of negative triggers in many.


Now onto another important matter: the decorations. Specifically, why some people carefully curate their Christmas tree while others leave it until the last minute.

As luck would have it, McKeown shed some light on why this might be, explaining there could be ‘several reasons’ why some people go all-out.

Christmas lights (Unsplash)Unsplash

‘The Christmas tree becomes a centrepiece within our lounges for at least a few weeks and sometimes longer’, he said.


McKeown added that the delicately decorated homes might also be an effort to ‘keep up appearances’.

He continued:

So, having a finely decorated tree is more for others than for themselves, it’s a spectacle, a visually striking of display, similar to that of a peacock showing its feathers.

A person shows off only when they feel they need to. It’s only when they think that others don’t consider them important will they try to prove that they’re important. If you flick through your social media feed you will notice many displaying their creations in a hope to seek the gratification of others applause.

If some people can’t wait to carefully decorate their homes, what about those who don’t want to at all?

Well, this is something Rebecca Leslie of Living Fully Psychological Services helped explain.

Christmas Tree Farm (Alamy)Alamy

Leslie said:

If the decorations spark sadness around not being able to be with family for the holidays, having them up for a long period of time would not be beneficial.

So, for some, celebrating early is a way to peacock, and for others leaving things until the last minute may give them peace.

Whatever way your celebrating this festive season, we hope you have a great time.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Life, Christmas, Features, Psychology


Inc. and 1 other
  1. Inc.

    Neuroscience Says Holiday Music Is Mentally Draining

  2. HuffPost

    Psychologists Explain The Benefits Of Decorating Early For The Holidays

Shola Lee
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