Nostalgia and the Holidays

Right around Thanksgiving, those familiar holiday songs start playing on the radio, and the decorations are in full force. If you’re anything like me, you look forward to the holidays every year. I often think why I love the holidays so much? They were much more enjoyable as a child. Now we have to coordinate plane tickets, which family gets what day, how to stay on budget, and indulging but not overindulging. But even with all the holiday stress, that familiar nostalgia starts to creep in come November.

We start to set up holiday decorations after Thanksgiving, and my husband finally gives in and lets me listen to Christmas songs on the radio in the car. As a child, Christmas was so wonderful. My whole family together, the decorations, the almost unbearable anticipation for Christmas morning. I loved it all. I still love it, even though it will never be the way it was when we were younger. But nostalgia helps get me through, helps me to hold onto the memories of the holidays when we were kids.

The holidays as an adult give us a chance to bring our past traditions to light, or to make new traditions. It gives us a chance to go through old photographs, or celebrate the life of a loved one we lost. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, eating and decorating cookies is always a good time.

What I have noticed over the years, is while my nostalgia for the holidays seems to grow each year, my husband does not share my enthusiasm for all things festive. Why is it that some people love the holidays, while others loath them? Does everyone feel nostalgia in the same way? Can nostalgia have a negative impact on our emotional state, especially around the holidays? Dr. Kristine Batcho, a Nostalgic Expert (who knew there was such a thing!) answers these questions along with some others regarding Nostalgia and the holidays. Whether you can’t wait to listen to holiday music and watch old movies, or you’re counting down the days until January 2nd, The Biltmore Psychology and Counseling Team wish you and yours a very happy holiday season.