There’s just something so magical about Christmas that people instantly go happy thinking about the holiday. I mean, everyone has this swift transition from October to November. It’s like everyone’s just waiting for Halloween to pass so that they can get their Christmas decorations out and hang them without feeling guilty. But have you ever wondered why you feel that way? Why does the holiday spirit just kick in?
It’s nothing new that people get a lot of criticism for getting into the Christmas spirit too early, but a study by a group in Denmark reveals why this happens and it makes such perfect sense because there’s a reason for it. It’s because they actually discovered a holiday center in our brains that shows activity when we think about or experience Christmas-type things. This could be anything from gift wrapping to listening to our favorite Christmas tunes or decorating the Christmas tree!
The objective of the study was to figure out the spot where the brain activates the Christmas spirit, and this kind of does explain why we get that warm and fuzzy feeling associated with the world’s favorite holiday. This study took two small groups of people, one with strong Christmas traditions in their family background and one without any Christmas traditions or ties to the holiday. Both of these groups were shown a series of Christmas-themed images with neutral images in between while their brains were scanned to monitor the activity.
After studying the results of the brain scans, they found out that there was significant activity in 5 different parts of the brain: the sensory motor cortex, the premotor and primary cortex, and the inferior and superior parietal lobules. What was interesting was that the significant activity in these parts of the brain only occurred in the participants that had strong ties to Christmas in their family history.
The study also showed that people who did not associate with the festival showed no activity in these parts of the brain when the Christmas-themed images were shown during the study. Well, this does prove that there is a center in the brain that is solely related to the Christmas spirit and it is activated in the minds of people that have a strong love for the holiday.
The study also suggests that the holiday center also associated Christmas for something that they use to spend time with their loved ones. It probably reminds them of the times they get together with their family, all gathered around the fireplace, singing carols over steaming cups of hot chocolate, or opening gifts, and whatever they could possibly do together as a family.
But, the scientists who carried out this study said that it has, so far, only been done on a small number of people, so to come up with a more concrete evidence, the study needs to be carried out on a much larger scale. Further research is necessary for them to fully understand what this holiday center in our brains do and if there could be even more holiday circuits that we don’t know about yet.
But, aren’t you glad to know that you’re not alone in this? It offers some sort of comfort to know that there are quite a few people other than you who share the same enthusiasm when it comes to Christmas and they too, just like you, are waiting for Halloween to pass so that they can get their Christmas decorations out and finally paint the town red with love and joy because it’s time for everyone’s favorite holiday/festival!