According to new research published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, the study interviewed respondents in the pre-Christmas period (16th – 26th of December) and then compared it to their levels of happiness and contentment in the post-Christmas period (27th – 31st of December).
It found that the period around Christmas gave people significantly less satisfaction and more negative emotions when compared to the rest of the year – unless you were Christian.
Other outliers in the study who appeared to take the festive stress in their stride were those with a higher level of education or with children at home.
Michael Mutz, the lead author of the study, suggests that the lower levels of life satisfaction around the festive period come from trying to fulfil social obligations in time, like buying gifts and attending tedious parties.
Mutz found that Christians are less likely to feel stressed by the consumer culture of the festive season, leading to greater happiness.
“People with Christian affiliation and a strong sense of religiousness celebrate Christmas differently than the majority of non-Christians,” says Mutz.
“It can be assumed that these individuals are less prone to becoming absorbed by the consumerism that precedes the holidays.”