The Significance of Holidays 

Addie Mount, Staff Writer

When we think of the holiday season, we often think of certain foods, music, traditions, and spending time together. But what about these things really makes the holidays significant? While the significance of holidays is different for everyone, there are common things that put everyone in the holiday spirit. After the initial stress of finals, present shopping, and travel pass, the holidays are a time filled with positive memories and love.  

Food is a significant factor in many holidays. The process of making it can be a fun tradition and sharing a meal with loved ones is a good way to mark the holiday. According to The Conversation, “The long hours spent in the kitchen and the dining room during the preparation and consumption of holiday meals serve some of the same social functions as the hearths of our early ancestors. Sharing a ceremonial meal symbolizes community, brings the entire family together around the table and smooths the way for conversation and connection.” Cooking together and preparing a meal is a good activity for all ages; younger children can do more basic and safe jobs with the help of older siblings and relatives, while adults can handle things like slicing or the stove. Junior Tevi Segal shared his experience with holiday meals, stating “We have big feasts with some family friends and extended family.” Holiday meals are also often an opportunity to catch up with family or friends that live far away or that you do not see often. 

The connection to community can also be a significant factor in celebrating holidays. Many holidays have values centered in community, such as Hanukkah. Segal shares how he feels connected to his community during Hanukkah, stating, “I just feel a lot of happiness around everyone, and the holiday makes for a pretty good time to tell stories from previous years.” While many of these holidays are about gifts and material things, it is important to remember to give back and be grateful for those around us. Sophomore Kaila Mckinnon shares that the holiday season makes her feel “connected with [her] family, I get to see family that I have not seen, I get to travel out of state, so it is really just this happy time for me.” Expressing our gratitude and appreciation for others in addition to gift-giving is a good way to emphasize their importance and value.  

Aside from shopping, travel, and school stress, the holidays can be a good time to let go and be relieved of everyday worries and stress. The Conversation brings up the point of familiar events and certainty around the holidays, stating, Everyday life is stressful and full of uncertainty. Having a special time of the year when we know exactly what to do, the way we’ve always done it, provides a comfortable sense of structure, control and stability. From reciting blessings to raising a glass to make a toast, holiday traditions are replete with rituals. Laboratory experiments and field studies show that the structured and repetitive actions involved in such rituals can act as a buffer against anxiety by making our world a more predictable place.” People with anxiety often seek familiarity and something they can predict, so the holidays can be a very anxiety relieving time. These familiar events and traditions also connect us back to our inner child and help us have fun even in stressful times.  

Another thing that is familiar is traditions. Traditions can be a great way to mark the holiday season and spend time with those you love. Whether it is baking a certain dessert together or watching a holiday movie together, holidays are a great way to have family time. According to Psych Central, Holiday traditions are an important part to building a strong bond between family, and our community. They give us a sense of belonging and a way to express what is important to us. They connect us to our history and help us celebrate generations of family. Most people can say, ‘Oh, this was great grandma’s tablecloth we always used for Thanksgiving’ or ‘I remember stinging popcorn with my mom when I was young’. They keep the memories of the past alive and help us share them with newer generations.” Traditions are a good way to connect to not only the past, but the future in a way; looking forward to doing a tradition the following year is a good way to spark excitement about the holidays. Starting new traditions can also be a good way to learn a new skill or hobby as a family. 

Overall, the holidays are a time of good food, family, traditions, and community. The holiday season is always something you can count on to be there to uplift you and relieve stress. Happy Holidays!