Science Reveals Why Opening Christmas Gifts is Less Exciting as We Age




Do you remember how excited you were to come down Christmas morning to check out what Santa had left for you under the tree? What fun it was to tear open your Christmas stocking!

When we Boomers were children, the festive season did not begin as early as it does today. Christmas decorations did not start to go up before December and holiday gift catalogues certainly did not appear before Remembrance Day. But that still gave us lots of time to build up a lot of holiday excitement.

Later, when the children or nieces and nephews came along, their excitement became ours. It was fun to watch the wide-eyed wonder on their faces as they opened their presents. Some of you are re-living these moments with grandchildren or great nieces and nephews.

But nowadays, at least for most of us Boomers, the holidays are more subdued. We don’t experience the same euphoria we did as children when we ran downstairs to see what Santa had left us.

But did you know that there may be a biological reason why we may not get as excited as we once did about opening Christmas gifts? According to Steve Connor of The Independent, “the reason children tear open their Christmas presents in a frenzy of dawn excitement while grandparents leave theirs until after lunch comes down to how the ageing brain handles rewards. Scientists have discovered that a chemical in the brain governing the delivery and feeling of reward is altered physically as a person grows old, which explains why opening presents becomes less exciting.”

That’s an interesting concept and I am not disputing it entirely. But is it not also a possibility that the longer we live on this earth the more we come to realize what really and truly matters in life? For me, at least, the joy of Christmas is getting together with family and friends (and it need not necessarily be on Christmas Day) and attending the Advent and Christmas Eve services at my church.

What about you? Where do you find the deepest joy at Christmastime?


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