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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It really is! The holiday season is wonderful, beautiful, and magical for ‘kids’ of all ages. And perhaps the best part of holiday celebrations is that they’re actually good for you!
To address the elephant in the room, or in this case perhaps, the Santa in the room, it’s true that the holidays can be a little stressful; shopping, decorating, preparing for guests, cooking, etc. But overall, the time of year is a blessing and beneficial.
In fact, Everyday Health reports that holiday celebrations are a form of self-care. The connection with family and friends boosts our mental, emotional, and physical health because we’re connected in powerful ways, with the people we love most.
Holidays help us to ground ourselves by providing a feeling of familiarity. This sense of normalcy is vital now, after almost two years of COVID. In addition, the rituals and traditions we practice during the holidays help us to feel more anchored and in control.
Commenting about holiday decorations, experts suggest that the sooner, the better. “Decorating,” said psychologist Debora Serani, “creates a neurological shift that can produce happiness” by spiking the good feeling hormone, dopamine. Furthermore, it can bring out your inner child, stimulating happy childhood memories.
For many, holiday celebrations can help get those creative juices flowing through decorating, cooking, shopping, etc. And this, in turn, can help enhance one’s cognitive functioning.
Ritualized gift-giving is important, far above the obvious material aspect. It helps to ensure reciprocal relationships and maintain important social ties. In addition, researchers have found that people who spend money on others experience higher levels of happiness and can even lower blood pressure.
And then there’s the music. Listening to holiday music is uplifting and beautiful, and actually singing or performing it can help lower blood pressure.
The multi-sensory sensations of holiday rituals shouldn’t be underrated. Aside from the pure enjoyment of great smelling and tasting foods, seeing beautiful decorations, dancing, listening to holiday music, and more, help create and maintain happy memories.
At Friendship Village, we have abundant observances and celebrations for the winter holidays. These include, but are not limited to Christmas in the Village, Hanukah events, visits with Santa including a horse-drawn carriage, musical entertainment, a weeklong Holiday Hootenanny, holiday movies, a Christmas cocktail party, a decorated Candy Cane Lane, lifelong-learning programs including the story of Charles Dickens and the Making of a Christmas Carol, and more.
The magical holiday season is more wonderful when you’re among friends.