The Den of Christmas Spirit

cri2cri3If you watch the bright Christmas lights with eyes of wonder, while walking in the familiar streets of your city like a little child, if you get lost for hours in a mall searching for gifts to put under the tree picturing the joyful reaction of those who will receive them, if you are thrilled only at the idea of gathering around a dinner table with your family and friends or simply if you find yourself sitting at the window hoping for the snow to come ( I might actually wait for years or decades here in Rome), well, this is the spirit of Christmas that comes to visit you at this time of the year. But rather, if you are annoyed by the people who crowd in frenzy streets and shops and if you are anguished and appalled by the imminent visit of your friends and relations and if a sense of nausea arouses, just thinking at the presents you’ll have to buy or the faces you’ll have to see, or if you just don’t stand at that window, because in case it really snowed, Rome would be paralyzed and we would pay the consequences for weeks and weeks, what does that mean? That you are an insensitive, cruel, selfish human being? Not exactly. It means that you suffer from the bah humbug” syndrome. I’m not joking, this is science or better: Science with capital letter.

 cri1A group of Danish medical scientists in their own spirit of holiday fun, published a study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) asserting that the spirit of Christmas does not actually come to visit us every year, but rather, it resides in us and precisely in our brain.That is why this tradition with its blissful and magical atmosphere has lasted for hundreds and hundreds of years. A team of researchers of Rigshospitalet hospital, in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen, set out to locate exactly where the old spirit of Christmas hides in the brain using modern MRI machinery to study the changes of oxygenation and blood flow that occur in response to neuronal activity. So, they divided participants into two groups, one of people who had strong Christmas traditions and the other with people who did not celebrate it. The latter group included Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi and Turkish people who expatriated or were born in Denmark. People who did not celebrate it, but still felt a strong connection to the holiday were excluded, as were people who did celebrate but had a negative association with it. In short, 20 people were examined while they were watching  84 images with Christmas themes alternated to scenes of everyday life. For example, they were shown a street decorated with lights and then an ordinary street. 

cri5Among the participants who were placed in first group,  the researchers  have identified five regions of the brain which lit up like Christmas trees when holiday images were shown. These regions are commonly associated with spirituality and they control the sense of touch and body language interpretation . This led the researchers to determine there is a “Christmas spirit network” in the human brain. It’s in these brain areas that the spirit of Christmas resides. Therefore, those who do not like Christmas and believe that it is all nonsense, are actually affected by what scientists call bah humbug” syndrome.  A syndrome that affects millions of people, especially adults and that could be cured.  The researchers, in fact, suggested that locating the Christmas spirit in the brain can help reverse that sad syndrome. Maybe someday there will be a complex machine that can generate the Christmas spirit in people, and why only at Christmas time? Couldn’t we enjoy it every single day of the year?
In the meantime, I wish you to fully enjoy your Christmas spirit and have a great time.
Merry Christmas.
Stefy. 🙂
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29 thoughts on “The Den of Christmas Spirit

  1. I confess, Stefy, I have Bah Humbug syndrome not just for Christmas but for New Year and birthdays. The regions in my brain “commonly associated with spirituality and they control the sense of touch and body language interpretation” blew a fuse many years ago where such festivities are concerned, as a result of which these ‘Christmas tree’ regions remain dark and lifeless. I am a lost cause. But it doesn’t stop me hoping that others will get the very most out of it, especially those who deserve the happiness that comes with it! And, let’s face it, who doesn’t deserve happiness in their lives?

    Buon Natale, Steft, to you and yours!

    • Dear Chris, I wouldn’t say that I suffer from ” Bah Humbug” syndrome yet, but I feel that some parts of those regions are inesorably going out. This is mostly due to events of life or maybe I ‘ m just ageing. However I’ll use what is left to wish you the most sparkling and fantastic Christmas ever to you and your family. A presto ” Salvo” 🙋 Stefy.

  2. I loved this Stefy. I would say the world could use some Christmas spirit all year long. As for the snow I just shoveled the neighborhood. Careful what you wish for. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and Mimmo!

  3. Scrooge and the Grinch were my heroes. Then they converted. Such disappointment. I was really down until I figured out a solution that would really make my toes sing. In the chimney Santa comes down at my house, I lit a fire on Christmas Eve and made myself a hot toddy. I waited and waited, stoking that fire just right. You know the “right” that is perfect for burning marshmallows. Finally at 11:59 1/2 on Christmas Eve, I hear this pounding on my rooftop and a ho-ho-ho and then a sound of Santa pushing his body into that chimneytop. You ever see a Saturn rocket take off. That was Santa when he touched down on that fire. Talk about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. This was more fun than going to Disney World after a Superbowl game. Anyway the crux of the whole thing is that I got a letter this morning, letting me know Santa ain’t coming back to my house next year. I am on probation for two years. After that, Santa will be backing down my chimney again. Well, have I got a big surprise for him. I am saving up my pennies and buying a cannon. That should get him back to the North Pole faster than an elf running from a polar bear crying lunch. By the way, Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and yours. And remember it’s not Feliz Navidad. It’s police know it all.

  4. Belated Buon Natale and Happy New Year, Stefy. Great article. I think Dickens would be smiling ear to ear, knowing that the Christmas Spirit resides in the heart — and the mind. And God bless us, everyone! 🙂
    Thanks for your continued support of Bookshelf. Cheers, Alex.

  5. That’s a really interesting article! In my opinion all the adults suffer the Bah Humbug syndrome only because they are adults. They live Christmas time with anxiety and not with the happiness and excitement typical of children. During this time adults have too MANY things to think about, such as presents, preparations and they don’t have time to relax themselves. This is adults’life…isn’t it? I still preserve the Christmas spirit and it’s my favorite celebration, unfortunately it’s finishing..

    • Because you are YOUNG!!! That’s why you think you are presenving the spirit of Christmas, and you are still innocent like Blake’s children. But not for long 👹. Enjoy your time and see you tomorrow.🙋

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