Psychological Benefits of Holidays and Special Occasions

Tricia Levasseur
15 min readFeb 7, 2021
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Read on for a full list of 2021 winter and spring holidays:

Festive occasions are always fun. But this year annual holidays are crucial because they are helping people meet important physical and psychological needs during these strange COVID-19 pandemic times. Holidays can inject a bit of normalcy into our new way of living under various levels of lockdowns. They also provide the ‘good vibes’ we crave while living under constant uncertainty.

During times of uncertainty and danger, people often use rituals to reduce their stress and exert control over their environment. From reciting blessings to raising a glass to make a toast, holiday traditions are full of rituals. Laboratory experiments and field studies show that the structured and repetitive actions involved in holiday rituals can act as a buffer against anxiety by making our world a more predictable place.

Psychologist Michele Brennan explains that the predictability annual special occasions produce fosters reduced anxiety by creating comfort and security especially for the younger members of a family. When we celebrate a yearly holiday it can “take away the anxiety of the unknown and unpredictable. Traditions are a wonderful way to anchor family members to each other, providing a sense of unity and belonging”.

The benefits of holiday celebrations can be felt not only in our personal lives and with our families, especially for children, but also at work too. For employees who aren’t able to work from home during this time, taking a few minutes ‘in the office’ for the team to mark a holiday with a short motivational speech or bakery delivery can do wonders to boost employee moral (and productivity in the process!).

The Power of Holiday Rituals:

Holiday rituals are so powerful because we actively participate in the celebration. They also have many sensory elements to them — smelling foods, seeing lit candles, hearing the rhythm of words as thanks are given, dancing to the beat of music, tasting favorite dishes made with love by family members. This sensory exuberance helps create lasting recollections of special occasions and marks them in our memory as events worth cherishing for our

Tricia Levasseur

Marketing Executive combining Storytelling & Digitial Technology. Techstars Mentor. Former Bloomberg Journalist. Cambridge MBA.