The Science of Christmas Spirit

As the year rolls to an end I thought a blog on Christmas Spirit might remind us what Christmas should mean to each and every one of us. (AND I’m not talking about the spirit in your glass that magically plonks you in the spirit of Christmas either).

Whether you are religious or not, Christmas has a unique way of drawing us together to embrace our families and friends. Christmas can mean different things to different people. Some love it, some hate it, but at the heart of it is Christmas spirit. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, at some point you loved Christmas and you felt the essence of Christmas, and maybe just maybe you still do. How do you get Christmas Spirit back if you don’t feel it anymore?

In 2003 Scientists uncovered what makes the Spirit of Christmas ‘Christmassy’. Researchers from Neurosense found that a combination of sight, sound and smells are essential for the magic of Christmas; however, it has to be the right combination of these that prompts the spirit to take over.

What would these three sight, sound, and smells be?

1. Christmas tree

2. A bell

3. Honey glazed ham cooking in the oven

No, according to the study what really conjures the Christmas spirit is a combination of candles, carols and the smell of cinnamon! I’m not sure I agree; my idea of getting into the spirit would be snow, carols, and a tawny Port…. Bottle.

Anyway, under strict scientific and Christmassy conditions (scenarios), 30 participants were asked to give a score out of 10 acknowledging how each Christmassy scenario made them feel; this resulted in candles, carols, and cinnamon being rated the highest at 7.3. Oxford University spokesman Dr. Charles Spence commented, “This study is the first of its kind to investigate sight, sound, and olfaction simultaneously within a real world context.”

At least we know more Christmas studies will be forthcoming to really help us understand the ins and outs of how Christmas spirit works. But in the meantime, I compiled a list to enable you to get into the Christmas spirit sooner!

1. Turn on and turn it up loud – nothing will get you into the holiday spirit faster than Michael Buble or Mariah Carey.

2. Grab the family, Christmas tree and decorations and make it a night of decorating.

3. Once the lights have been placed, stand outside to feel your Christmas spirit soar. Lights transform trees and houses into something extraordinary.

4. Get comfy and watch a Christmas movie. There are some classics out there like A Christmas Story or newer movies such as The Grinch or my favourite ELF!

5. Make hot chocolate or egg nog (with a sprinkle of cinnamon of course).

6. Enjoy the company of your family.

Christmas is truly a magical time of year. It’s a time for family and friends to gather together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a time for eating lots of delicious food; a time to get fat, a time to give freely to others, a time to spend way too much money and a time to increase your electricity bill. But it’s once a year and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Merry Christmas Everybody!



Melissa Coleman View All →

I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories and articles I feel are worth writing about.

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