Magic and Nostalgia of the Holiday Season

Tori Williams, LMHC December 6, 2021

The holiday season is full of stress and anxiety for many adults. But by tapping into the magic and nostalgia you felt as a child, you can build a holiday season that you enjoy. Here’s how.

The year is quickly ending. With 30 days left until 2022 (what?!), this is the time of year in which we begin to celebrate with friends and family, sharing the infectious, hopefully joy-filled, bustle of the holiday season. 

You’ll likely spend the next few weeks engulfed in things to do—preparing for guests, planning for travel, shopping for the perfect gifts. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year, or a combination of them all, you likely have a loaded schedule that you’re already anticipating (or dreading) from which you will need ample recovery. 

To enjoy your holiday season, make sure you’re managing holiday stress. If you notice too much holiday anxiety, consider starting new holiday traditions this year by tapping into the magic and nostalgia of the season. Use the tips in this article to help you in handling stress during the holidays. 

Think Back on Your Favorite Holiday Memories

If you’re old enough to read this, perhaps you have taken stock of how much your priorities around the holidays have shifted since childhood. Your younger self couldn’t wait for loads of gifts, staying up until dawn, and consuming all the forbidden sugar and sweets in the period of holiday amnesty. 

As I think back to my childhood, I recall holiday memories filled with the decorations and symbols of celebrations from cultures worldwide. Year after year, what always captivated me most were the lights. 

Lights of all colors illuminated my local neighborhood’s homes, front yards, storefronts, and my favorite shows on the television screen. I remember imagining that the lights were a sort of transportation. Like if I could only figure out where they started, I’d somehow be able to travel through different neighborhoods (hopefully without my parents ever finding out). 

For me, the lights represented the enchantment of the holiday season. Of course, I didn’t have a clue as to why. I just knew that even with something so simple, there lies delight and the possibility for magic.

What enchants you?

Why Nostalgia in Childhood Turns Into Holiday Stress in Adulthood

As children, with only a tiny glimpse of the world at large, any and everything seems possible. But as adults, existing in the mundane, we overlook and even dismiss the importance of imagination, creativity, and magic in our lives. We deny the power we hold in creating magic for ourselves within the various roles we inhabit. 

I mean, let's face it, real-life can be difficult. We trudge through our days, only hoping that something new, fun, and exciting will happen occasionally. 

The truth is: it can if we let it.

How to Enjoy the Holidays Again

Think about it. How might things be different for you if you spent time inviting magic and miracles into your life? There’s magic in even the smallest things—a baby’s smile, quiet rainfall, the sunset, a starry sky, or how the sunshine feels on your skin. It’s just up to you to create it.

In adulthood, PTO and booze-y good times might hold a bit more value than breaking the prohibitions of childhood holiday celebrations. While these are certainly pluses, I encourage you to engage with this holiday season a little differently. 

Try Creating New Holiday Traditions

Establish new traditions if the ones you remember weren’t the best. Spend time creating the memories you wish you had or that your younger self needed. Enjoy this holiday season in whatever way feels good to you. 

Allow yourself to sink into the acute nostalgia of your light, or the thing that captivates you. The thing that makes you believe in the unthinkable. Tap into the people, places, and things that invite magic back into your life—the same magic that once made us feel so alive.

Holiday Anxiety Tips

Heading to your in-laws? Traveling to stay with distant family? Visiting your estranged friend? Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time? ‘Tis the season for anxiety and stressful situations. Sometimes there’s no getting around it. 

If the holiday season is particularly anxiety-provoking for you, use the following quick tips to stay calm and carry on:

  • Plan ahead
  • Be realistic
  • Stick to a budget
  • Set aside differences
  • Learn to say no
  • Maintain your health habits
  • Take a breather
  • Seek professional help if you need it.

Along with remembering what you love about the holidays, these tips can help you ward off stress and anxiety. Acknowledge how you feel. But make sure you don’t abandon your health habits. Things like getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating healthy meals allow you to avoid overindulgence and truly enjoy the season.

Enjoy the Holiday Season

We are wishing you a safe, joyous, and magic-filled holiday season. And if it’s not going so well, we’re here

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