Over the years, how I experience Christmas has changed. For example, when I was younger, I was super excited for Christmas. In fact, I could hardly fall asleep on Christmas Eve. I have gotten a little less excited over receiving gifts each Christmas for the last few years. Now, I’m more focused on just seeing family members who I have not seen in awhile. I also find it more fun to give gifts now, rather than receive. I have seen friends and family, who each year are less excited about the special holiday coming up. I’m beginning to witness this change from a different angle because I’m starting to see my little brother go through it as well. My little brother Ty is about to turn 10 in February, and he has started to find giving gifts more fun than receiving gifts, just like me. I wondered if this was simply a family thing for me, but I interviewed other students on this subject to find out if this happens elsewhere.
The Horizon Sun: Has Christmas excitement changed over the years for you?
Addison Gleason, eighth grader: Yes, when I was young it used to be more fun, but now it’s not as exciting.
Sofia Ricci, eighth grader: Yeah, it’s still fun though. Presents are always good.
David Vitagliano, teacher: It has not gotten more or less fun, but the way you have fun is different. When I was a kid, it was getting the presents, like hoping to get the certain things from your family, the elation of getting gifts from everyone. Now that I’m a parent, the joy is now in giving to friends and family. It’s fun now to create joy for other children. Merry Christmas.
In fact, there is science surrounding this change. According to The Independent, “scientists have discovered that a chemical in the brain governing the delivery and feeling of reward is altered physically as a person grows old, which explains why opening presents becomes less exciting. When young people are involved in receiving prizes, their brains become highly activated before and after being given them. This contrasts with the chemical activation in the brains of older people, said researchers at the US National Institute for Mental Health.” Older people are more encouraged to give because it makes them happy to see others happy, and who better to give gifts to than younger children.
Christmas changes as you get older, and as you get older the Christmas spirit is not lost, but shifted. Christmas will always be fun, just in new ways.