Christmas And The Anticipation Effect

It’s been coming for quite some time and now it’s close enough to touch.

The looming, emotional power of Christmas is enormous with the build-up starting even before we have got excited about Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Everyone needs something positive to look forward to in life and a healthy sense of “anticipation” can keep us going, energise our lives, and even help us get through some rough moments.

It depends who you are and what you do but for many Christmas is an escape room that they don’t want to escape from. Work might be tedious, frustrating or intolerable so the milestone of Christmas is a big deal even if it amounts to just a few days off.

Critics say that Christmas starts too early and no one should be putting up their decs in October.

But the anticipation is doing some people the world of good. Anticipating a future situation can sometimes help us to get through difficulties in the present. It gives us something positive to “look forward to”, it fuels happy thoughts and can be a stepping stone towards hope and a better future.

What’s wrong with being positive and optimistic about Christmas? If that’s not your cup of tea then let others enjoy the build-up.

Dunn and Norton (2014) note that the French verb helps us out here: se réjouir meaning to capture the experience of deriving enjoyment in the present from anticipating the future. They say that the se réjouir period of Christmas “provides a source of pleasure that comes free with purchase, supplementing the joy of actual consumption.”

We might actually enjoy the months, weeks and days leading up to Christmas more than Christmas itself.

When Christmas does arrive, some of us don’t actually know what to do with it. But if the anticipation makes us happier then let it snow!

Happy Christmas! Santa’s coming! Rejoice!

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