During holidays, teenagers tend to have nostalgia for good times long gone. This bittersweet feeling helps us to feel connected to old memories. Instead of holidays being an anticipated event, they end up being less meaningful.
“When I was younger, Christmas was special and important because it was the only time my siblings and I bonded and got along,” freshman Maggie Atkinson said. “Now that we’re older, we just fight every Christmas.”
Teenagers don’t only reminisce about old family traditions. They also remember fun times from elementary school. Old holiday celebrations, dressing up for Halloween, reading stories about Santa and making snowballs during recess rarely get experienced now.
“I liked the parties that they had in elementary school to celebrate holidays,” sophomore Maya Landwehr said. “In high school, we just keep going on with school and don’t acknowledge them.”
Most nostalgia comes after seeing or hearing something that reminds us of past times. Perhaps seeing kids on the playground building snowballs, sparks the memory from when we were younger. Even listening to a certain song could remind us of an event that took place during that time.
“By reminding us of events, customs, beliefs or rituals, holiday music can help us feel connected to others, even during times of stress or loneliness,” Dr. Krystine Batchon said in an interview with apa.org. “Most often, holidays remind us of people who have played important roles in our lives and the activities we shared with them.
Nostalgia helps many identify their sense of self and maintain a sense of belonging. Although many holiday traditions are no longer fun, that doesn’t mean it’s not good to flood the memories into our minds.
“My family used to do the chocolate advent calendars,” Landwehr said. “We had to stop after we couldn’t find them in stores and it makes me sad because I miss it.”
“My favorite holiday tradition from when I was younger was making gingerbread houses with my dad,” sophomore Kinsley Braten added. “When I got older they stopped being fun and it was boring to continue doing them, I wish I could go back.”