London: Many Europeans do not experience the run-up to Christmas as jolly time and often feel despondent and stressed, finds a study.
However, Christians, particularly those who are very religious, are the exception to this pattern, the researchers found.
In a study on Christmas and subjective well-being (SWB), Michael Mutz of Georg-August-University at Gottingen in Germany analysed large-scale data from the European Social Survey (ESS) for 11 Christian European countries.
Respondents interviewed around Christmas showed significantly less satisfaction with their lives and experienced more negative emotions than those surveyed at other times of the year.
However, this was not the case among very religious Christians, who responded that they felt more positive and content with life during the run-up to Christmas than other respondents.
Furthermore, people with higher levels of education or children at home also tended to take the holiday period more in their stride.
“The lower levels of life satisfaction and emotional well-being observed may come as a result of the stresses involved in the pre-Christmas period such as buying presents and fulfilling social obligations- and a growing material consumer culture, with its related financial concerns, surrounding the festive period,” Mutz stated.
The results do not show that Christians are completely immune to the effects the Christmas period has on people’s emotions.
“They just seem to be less affected than non-religious people,” added Mutz in a paper published in the Springer journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.