Spirit waning from teens: Stress takes away the joy of the holidays

December 13, 2019

The holiday season is in full swing and it seems that just about everyone is filled to the brim with Christmas spirit. Houses gleam at night from the lights, Christmas cookies are being eaten by the dozen, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is bound to rise to the top of the charts once again. But for some people, including many teenagers and students in High School, the holiday spirit just isn’t there.


Maybe it’s the loss of the magical part of the holiday. Maybe it’s because one must wake up at 7 a.m. on Dec. 25 instead of sleeping till noon. Or maybe it’s the detrimental pressure put on students at the end of the semester.


As high school students, the entire month of December is crammed with last minute units and tests, worrying about final grades and of course studying for midterm exams. This crammed schedule leaves very little room for the holiday spirit and is therefore one of the main causes in teenagers’ diminishing Christmas cheer.


It can be argued that getting into the holiday spirit just isn’t that important. Many people, maybe even teenagers themselves, might believe that instead of singing Christmas carols, students should be studying, and focused on their grades and future.


However, according to Psychology Today the holiday blues are very common, and often come with the stress of the holidays and changing weather. Most students aren’t dealing with the stress of buying presents or cooking holiday meals, but they do have their own stress, such as exams and grades.


Psych Central suggests that dealing with the most stressful parts of the holiday earlier, so one can really indulge in the holiday spirit closer to the actual date of the holiday is one of the best ways to cope with the holiday blues. This brings me to a rather simple solution: let students out of school earlier for Christmas.


Last year, according to the OLSD 2018-19 school year calendar, the last day of school was Friday, Dec. 21, meaning the first day of break was Monday, Dec. 24. Students were given almost no time between the stressful week of exams and Christmas to decompress.


If it’s suggested that adults handle their stressful parts of the holiday season earlier to avoid the holiday blues, then the same should be applied to students. Mental health is very important, and I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that for myself and many others it’s a lot easier to be happy and joyful when enjoying the holiday season rather than feeling like I’m missing out because of a math test the next day and a paper due later that week.


In addition to letting students out earlier, another solution to the diminishing Christmas cheer is to just put less stress on students in general. Having three tests crammed into one day isn’t helping anyone out, and no one is really learning anything if they’re just cramming information into their heads.


High schoolers are only 14-18 years old and stressing them out to the point of not being able to enjoy the holiday season shouldn’t be happening as often as it is. For myself, I know I’ve spent the last few holiday seasons avoiding the normal traditions I have with my family so I have time to study, and I regret that. The holiday season should be spent with family and friends not textbooks. 


To all the underclassmen, learn from my mistakes. High school is very important, but the difference between an 85 percent and 80 percent is not big enough to ignore the holiday spirit. Getting out of school earlier or being given less homework may be helpful, but nothing is going to change this year. So, join in on the traditions anyways: make cookies with grandparents, go to the zoo lights with friends and maybe even watch a holiday special with family. 


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