Christmas Psychology: Effects and Benefits of Cheer

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Even people not completely invested in celebrating Xmas, feel a sliver of its warmth. Despite the annoying songs on repeat, panicked hunt for presents, family arguments and often overbearing sweetness, Christmas psychology has a knack for sparking varied emotions and reactions. Let’s take a brief look at why this is, using literature as a focal point.


Tales of Santa Claus and elves. Magical reindeer, toys, snowmen and trees. It’s a time when believing in incredible things is not only accepted, but encouraged. Adults have as much fun as children!

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas is a collection of his ingenious efforts to entertain his children with Santa’s adventures. It also made the beloved character feel like a real person instead of just a symbol.

Christmas psychology is largely based on the season’s sanction to bask in fantasy and use it to enlightening effects.


Typically, the messages behind Christmas stories involve love, kindness and just being a better person. A Christmas Carol epitomises these feel-good narratives, but which also contain degrees of sadness and hardship.

Think of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl or The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. All three of these books deliver the magic of Christmas contrasted with unpleasant yet very real themes: poverty, discrimination, death and more.

Modern writers, like Maya Angelou and her Amazing Peace, continue this tradition. Their aim? To enlighten readers on both the beauty and ugliness of life and society. To revive our morality and will to act as we enter a new year.


A number of psychological studies compiled by PsyBlog related to Christmas behaviours reflect an overall appetite for rich experiences, from good food and presents to happy company.

Diving into all the fantasies of the holiday – its emotional and moral stimulation too – is no less an indulgence. But what does this add to the psychology of Christmas?

Some people embrace these experiences for comfort. To ease their bittersweet reflection on the year’s events, whether personal or worldly. They can also be treats, a way to feel happy, unrestricted and full in heart and belly.

Yes, Xmas is an industry, a consumerist powerhouse. But it’s also an influential conduit. It can excite, inspire and fulfill the human psyche in many different ways beyond the points listed here. The useful functions of Christmas cheer are invaluable to keep exploring.

Dig deeper into the benefits of fantasy on Book Breath!

Author: Electra Nanou

Wordy weirdo supporting authors

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