There’s something about the holidays that creates a feeling unique to this time of year. The frost in the air is biting and all you want is to be inside cuddling up with a cup of hot chocolate and your Netflix account. Warm memories of holidays past captivate your thoughts and invoke the inevitable seasonal nostalgia. There’s the occasional rekindling of that tummy flip only brought on by the childhood anticipation of Santa and running into the one you’re crushing on. The other thing about the holidays is that love tends to an inescapable presence and suddenly you begin to realize that “love actually is all around,” to quote the adorable Hugh Grant in “Love Actually.” But what is it exactly that creates this indescribably feeling cast upon us during the holidays? What puts us in a love haze? When it comes to holidays and love, why is this time of year the most significant?
I believe that without a doubt one of the reasons this season puts us in a lovey dovey haze has to be the weather. The cold weather is new enough not to be sick of or even depressed by it, we haven’t seen snow in a year, and we associate the weather with the holidays. Because we are constantly cold, we seek comfort. We therefore may crave companionship whether that be in a significant other, a loved one, or your labradoodle, Henry. In addition, we seek to live through the romanticism of winter weather. There’s the provincial ice skating pond, catching snow flakes with our tongues, or going to a ski lodge with a boyfriend. The new cold promises the possible fulfillment of warmer wishes.
Then, there are the holidays. Oh what fun it is to stress over presents and plans. There is this tremendous pressure to perform during the holidays if you’re in a relationship. And if you’re not, it’s a time to see how you matter to the one you like. For some reason, we value our self-worth on giving and receiving the best present from our significant other. Without getting into a whole other spiel about couples feeding into a commercialism ploy, because hey, “he went to Jared” — I think we associate presents as a representation of how much someone cares. Even if you are one of those people who doesn’t believe presents matter, the smallest gesture warms any heart. So while it shouldn’t matter how expensive or lavish our presents are, it sometimes does, because of what we have been trained to think matters. Instead, we should keep in mind the effort and care behind anything given or received.
Putting aside the superficial side of the holidays, there’s the intangible side as well. For those who celebrate religious holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah, there is a kind of mystery and wonder that comes with these celebrations. It makes everything that happens around the time of them extremely significant and promising. The holidays are usually a time for family and friends to express their love for each other. All this love creates more love and can therefore be a facilitator for romance.
Lastly, there is the finality of the current calendar year. Even though we are celebrating the new year, New Year’s always feels like a day where something ends. You definitely left a few things behind as you begin a new year of your life. There’s the feeling leading up to the new year that time is running out. It makes you reflect on the people in your life and can create revelations in these reflective thoughts. The scene in It’s A Wonderful Life where George Bailey pleas that he wants to live after his suicide attempt is the kind of beautiful epiphany that comes to mind. These annual revelations can make you act quicker on things you have been waiting to say and even cause you to rekindle old flames. New Year’s is one of the most special holidays for human nature. It’s a secular day of reflection, thanksgiving, and love.
While most of the reasons love permeates the holiday season are wonderful intangibles, there are a lot that we can feel in the flesh, like gripping hugs you receive when you finally go home for the semester or a kiss at the stoke of midnight on New Year’s. No matter what the reason, the holidays are a time to love and there’s no reason not to embrace this special time with all your heart.