Easter may be just around the corner, but some residents across Greater Victoria still appear to have their Christmas trees up, based on photos taken around the community.
They continue to brighten up dark mornings on rural roads or light up downtown apartments as dusk falls.
So what inspires residents to keep up their Christmas trees?
“As a psychologist, I would tend to say that is better to ask them,” said Frederick Grouzet, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria, with a chuckle. “They could have different reasons. But based on what I know about the psychology of people, I would say my best guess would be that people would like to maintain what the Christmas tree is representing, so the symbol of the Christmas tree.”
A Christmas tree represents joy, a positive feeling. “It represents also family.”
A Christmas tree represents a sense of connectedness and its ongoing presence may help people compensate any feelings of loneliness, he said.
“Every time that we feel lonely, it is good to refer to memories or to refer to periods of the year, when people are together and Christmas is a time when people get together,” he said. “Maybe not this year. This year might have been different, but it is a way to remember those times when we were all together.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disconnected many from their families, said Grouzet. “So one way to reconnect with the whole family – even in a symbolic way – is to keep what represents family and Christmas could represent family,” he said. “It is a way to keep this notion of family close to us.”
More broadly, people may be tapping into a very important psychological resource: nostalgia. “When we don’t feel good, when we feel lonely, we tend to bring nostalgia, which will bring some positive emotions. So nostalgia is not something negative. It’s a positive emotion that serves a purpose.”
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