As winter holidays approach, people should engage more in holiday cheer


Maddie Misterka

At midnight on Nov. 1, I routinely lay down and listen to two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” and Straight No Chaser’s “12 Days of Christmas” holiday medley. Out of my 7 hour 28 minute Christmas music playlist, these two songs have never failed to make me feel full of holiday cheer. To me, once Halloween has passed, the Christmas season has started and it’s time to get spirited.

This sentiment is not agreed upon by everyone, however, and although I feel like I’m a fairly jolly person, I understand the pushback against holiday spirit.

The end of first semester is eternally plagued with finals, college applications, overcast weather and stress, frequently leaving students feeling burnt out and ready to sleep for the full two weeks of winter break. Some people don’t celebrate “mainstream” holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah, making the season less appealing without a big event to look forward to. 

 But despite the lure of negativity during the final few weeks of the year, from spirit weeks to Christkindlmarkt, CHS and the Carmel community provide countless opportunities to raise your spirits and get back into a joyful mood.

It’s cliche and overstated, but keeping a positive mindset benefits not only your mental health overall, but your social skills and outlook on life. This New York Times article cites multiple different studies on how happiness benefits your health, but it has been at the forefront of every Creating Connections session for a reason.

Allowing yourself to feel happy during winter, whether through small things like the way hot chocolate is finally “in season” to larger things like seeing your family for a holiday helps you cope with the bigger stresses that can weigh down your everyday life.

I’m a senior. I’ve been documenting this school year with all of the “lasts” and “last first’s” I’ll have in high school and as a kid, and I’m looking forward to celebrating my last Christmas before I’m an adult and living away from my family. 

Letting myself celebrate the holiday season and find my whimsy after a stressful semester means I can let myself be a kid again before forcing myself out into the world of college decisions and life-changing events.

Holiday cheer and extra winter-joy is a force for embracing the naivety we often lose as we grow up and while there is no age-limit on enjoying the holiday season, finding joy in the first snow of the season and seeing presents under the tree is a lot more enjoyable when you’re not the one late to your 9 to 5 from road-blocks and paying for Santa’s goodies. 

Being jolly brings harm to nobody, and at the end of the day it’s never a bad idea to try a new way to brighten your mood. So whether or not you have a holiday music routine or celebrate any holidays over winter break, letting yourself find ways to seek out seasonal cheer and being happy over the little things winter provides gives you a chance to boost your overall mood and get you ready for the next semester ahead. It never hurts to try, anyway.

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The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Maddie Misterka at [email protected]

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