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wundayatta's avatar

Do you still get that "night before Christmas" feeling?

Asked by wundayatta (58638points) October 20th, 2010

I use that image (night before Christmas) because it is the best way I know of describing the feeling I’m interested in. I’m sorry if people who do not know anything about Christmas are excluded. Perhaps after a few answers you might get the idea.

The night before Christmas, for me as a child, was a most amazing kind of “high” feeling. Not just the night before, of course, but that is where it is all set up. It’s like creating the expectation of ecstasy and you get so anxious and alert and the world looks bright and sparkly, and then it’s Christmas day, and your dreams come true (well, maybe not, but the night before, it is still possible).

We do different things as adults, of course. But I hope we all get to do things that give us that feeling or something like it. Where do you get that sort of feeling nowadays and why does it make you feel that way. If you like, try to describe the feeling itself. The more descriptions we get, the more other people will be able to see what it is.

One other aspect of this feeling I am interested in is whether you feel like it could be addictive. It’s a kind of high feeling and it should make you feel really good. Sometimes, people get so focussed on the feeling that they get obsessed with doing it over and over, just for the rush. Did this ever happen to you?

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33 Answers

syz's avatar

I would say that I experience a pale shadow of what I did then. I still get excited (trips, adventures, etc), but now that I’m an adult, I get too caught up in the arrangements, details, costs, and responsibilities to be able to loose myself in that unrestrained joy.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Th best “night before Christmas” feeling for me was of warmth, comfort, and excitement. Each year on Christmas Eve, before we (my brother and I) went to bed, we all sat in the family room, around the tree with all the Christmas lights on (and all other lights off) and listened to Christmas music. It was so relaxing and we knew that the morning would bring a bunch of surprises under the tree.

Now, as an adult/parent, I still get those feelings. We still do that same thing I did on Christmas Eve. Once our son goes to bed, we put the gifts under the tree. The excitement now is seeing my son’s reaction on Christmas morning. It’s so nice to see his face light up with surprise when he sees the presents under the tree!

Coloma's avatar

I have great memories of when my daughter was small and all the Xmas fun, but..her now being grown and being divorced for almost 8 years, I have shifted and adjusted to my changed holiday scene and really love the way it is now!

Zero stress all fun!

Have downsized all the crazy buying, focus more on intimacy of my connections to loved ones and don’t feel any pressure or hype about the holidays being any particular way.

So no, I am not overly sentimental or excited about Xmas these days.
It comes, it goes with little fanfare and thats the way I like it! lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

Christmas is just another day for me, so no. Im so sick of christmas by half way through November, the only reason I look forward to it, is so I can finally stop hearing all the fucking same songs over and over and seeing the commercialized bastardization this holiday has become in every freakin store

ucme's avatar

Oh yeah! Frequently, mostly revolving around the kids. Birthdays & such like. Basically i’m just a high on life type of fella. On a related note, I much preferred Christmas Eve night than Christmas Day itself. The anticipation, I could taste that forever & be very, very contented.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Surprisingly, the magic has not gone, although it has shifted in perspective a bit. I agree with @syz that being an adult that can create a pall on the planning end, but once the day of the event, be it a holiday, celebration or trip arrives, it’s that childlike excitement all over again.

It is beautiful when the innocence doesn’t die. I spent a week watching my SO and his father constantly check on a fake duck egg hatch in a glass of water we kept on the mantel. The first meal I made for his parents about sent me into cardiac arrest as I cannot cook, but to sit down and have them eat it and actually enjoy it was better than Christmas morning as a child.

I feel sorry for those that either lose or have to put aside this magical feeling.

wundayatta's avatar

@ucme Does anything else bring you that feeling now?

@uberbatman This really isn’t about Christmas. That was just an example. I’m interested in some feeling you experience that you really get high off of, so to speak. What is it?

@Pied_Pfeffer Same as @ucme—is there something else in your life that gives you that feeling?

Kardamom's avatar

I had that experience recently. I had not been camping in about 15 years. My brother’s little boy just turned 5 this summer and our own father just turned 85. Our dad took me and my brother camping for the first time when each of us turned 5 so my brother suggested that we take a short camping trip (to the same place we camped as kids) with our Dad and my nephew. The anticipation was ecstastic. The trip was a fabulous sucess. I took pictures of us all in some of the exact spots where we had old black and white snapshots taken of us back in the old days. It was great.

ucme's avatar

@wundayatta Oh I thought I made that clear, did I not? Whenever the kids’ birthdays come around or school sports day. Our family holiday. I feel massive excitement for what’s to come genuinely feel like a kid again.

Joybird's avatar

I’m don’t practice Christianity anymore so don’t always feel obligated to celebrate Christmas per say. But I remember the feelings inspired when I was a kid. I still feel that feeling everytime I hang an art display that people are going to view and I get to experience their reactions. And I still get it when I am anticipating making love to a beloved (although I have none currently). I get that feeling before the first kiss. I get that feeling when I have worked long and hard to achieve some goal and then it manifests. I get it when serendipitious events occur in my life.
I think it is looking at the world through eyes and a heart still open and able to be awed.
I like to travel but have never really gotten much of an opportunity. I have a feeling that traveling would make me feel a bit like Christmas eve everyday I am on holiday.

flutherother's avatar

Yes, but not as strongly as before. I used to be unable to sleep on Christmas Eve for excitement. Now I go out like a light.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yes,I do still get that feeling.When I am waiting for my kiln to cool down so I can see how everything turned out.When I am drawing out an idea that I want to make.The anticipation of a road trip gets me going as well as getting ready to go to an event.
The best however,is the excitement of knowing you will see a loved one.
I enjoy life,damnit! XD

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year, and not just because of anticipating watching my kids tear into their gifts; my husband proposed to me on Christmas Eve. I absolutely love that day because of that.

JustmeAman's avatar

That feeling came to me this year. To explain, when my wife and I got married many years ago we went on a long trip down the west coast. Well I told her we would come back and do it again one day. Well she has been in the hospital for almost a year and was very sick and nearly passed on but she came home and has been getting better so this year I took her on that trip. Both of us had that feeling when we first sighted the ocean and walked on the Beach. What a thrill it was and then we both got to go out on a ship and see the Whales and this was total pleasure without anything to disturb our enjoyment. So yes being able to take my wife on this trip was one of those Night Before Christmas feelings for me.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I used to adore Christmas for that magical feeling. The tingling in the air, the calmness, the “fuzzies” that the lights, tree, and decorations give you. The overall warmth, even when it’s freezing outside.

But that’s all gone now. My best friend killed himself a week before Christmas, so I know I’ll probably never get that feeling back. Last Christmas was… Bizarre, unreal, and very not right. Opening presents felt wrong, making things look pretty felt wrong. I’m not looking forward to this Christmas, either. Halloween gave me similar feelings, and while I still like Halloween, I just don’t feel it anymore. The magic’s gone.

Cruiser's avatar

Going on vacation is a biggie, seeing seedling sprout for the first time, then bloom and then bear fruit is always a thrill of anticipation, watching someone open a gift from you and I agree with @lucillelucillelucille on the knowing that you will see a loved one. Gets my heart racing every time.

Austinlad's avatar

Absolutely—still… and I’m Jewish! But let me tell you about the Christmas when I found out there was no Santa. I was pretty young, and my folks had parked me at my sitter and her family‚Äôs home over Christmas so they could out of town. Granny, as we called her—maybe a tad too stern for my taste, but sweet as they come, I know now—had taken care of my brother and me for years. This was in Fort Worth, Texas, and Granny, like half the population, was Baptist. Around 11 Christmas Eve, I planted myself in front of a big picture window to wait for Santa. It was raining a bit, and I was fretting that this would somehow slow him up. Yes, this little Jewish lad was still being led to believe in Santa (and in retrospect, I’m glad my parents played it that way). Granny came over to me and said it was time for bed. I asked her if the snow would keep Santa from coming, and she put her hand on my shoulder and said—I still remember the words—“Aw, honey, don’t you know there’s no such thing as Santa Claus?”

OpryLeigh's avatar

I know that feeling and get it every so often (not so much at Christmas anymore though). It’s amazing. Sadly, I can’t remember the last time it happened which means I must be due for that feeling soon right?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Ah, I think I understand. I told you adulthood puts a skew on these experiences. :)

My then boyfriend and I had discussed that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, which included a marital commitment. I told him that my only wish was that he pick out the engagement ring on his own. This was a huge risk, as his method of shopping it to pick up the closest thing to the door. After he bought it, he said that he would give it to me on my birthday.

Since his parents would be staying with us, he said that he’d just pull me aside at some point during the day and that “we will have a bit of a chat.” (Thank you, my British bloke.) The whole anticipation of how he would propose and when was almost torture. What if he backed out? It’s a miracle that any sleep occurred.

Is this what you mean?

And to respond to the final part of your question, it isn’t addictive for me, but it sure does create a form of being high. And I like that feeling.

wundayatta's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes. Exactly! GA. And GA to so many of the rest of you, as well, especially @JustmeAman. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad you got a chance to take that second trip with your wife. That must mean so much to both of you. So many of us don’t get a chance to do something like that with people we care so much for.

Austinlad's avatar

@DrasticDreamer, I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope some of the magic returns one day.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

In honor of this question, my avatar has been changed to reflect what “Christmas Day” looks like after the gift is given.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, the only time I feel any pleasant anticipation is the day before a trip out of town. Regular holidays don’t mean that much to me anymore.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@YARNLADY – Yup, me too. But I love seeing the shining eyes and glowing little faces on Christmas Eve or on Thanksgiving.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@wundayatta well i get really high off the feeling of weed :P…. Honestly, there arent any days I look forward too. As others have said, there are days I look forward to because some event on that day, but its never some specific day every year.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have to say that since I moved back to civilization, almost every day gives me some kind of high. Even I didn’t realize the depth of deprivation I was feeling after almost 6 years in the middle of nowhere surrounded by dramatic natural beauty. And sometimes the heights of human abilities but more often the worst of human’s undesirable traits.

Now it seems as if I have something to do each day that I really enjoy and look forward to. It is great to be an employee again, to have a definite time to leave work, to have “the buck” pass me by on its way to the boss. I love taking my dog to agility and obedience classes. She loves it and I love watching her perform and coaxing the best out of her. I have classes for myself lined up for the next couple of years, mostly art related. I run along the beach, I take an exercise class, I play a little tennis, squash and golf. We eat out at least once a week and go to the movies. We treat ourselves to Cold Rock Ice Cream with add ins now and then. I live in a small town by US standards but there is so many choices for me. I truly feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

risingonashes's avatar

Now that I have a daughter that feeling is even stronger than when I was a kid!

Plus you find out exactly what is meant by it is better to give than receive as you get older.

xxii's avatar

I haven’t felt that in awhile. Especially after I started dating a few years ago, and “the pure joy of Christmas with the family” became “not being able to spend a special occasion with my boyfriend.”

But lately, especially since leaving home for college, and only being home during Christmas and select parts of the summer, I’ve gained a new appreciation for my family, and Christmas has become more exciting. I still have a boyfriend, but we’re on separate continents over Christmas anyhow, and I also think I’ve gotten more mature about the whole thing.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No. I used to feel that way when we knew my grandfather would be driving into town or when I’d be flying out the next day to see family but now, not so much. The last time I had that type of euphoria is when my partner told me we’d be going to Disneyland and I couldn’t sleep, so excited to get on the road.

Jeruba's avatar

An electric current of thrilling anticipation that makes your skin prickle and your breath come fast and your brain dazzle so brightly that you can’t think clearly. That’s how I used to feel on Christmas Eve. And something smaller, but similar, on Hallowe’en night, when a different kind of excitement is abroad.

Later it was very much like the feeling of first being in love. A little bit (not a lot, but a little) like the sensation of the first day of school or the first day on a new job. Even more like the shimmering elation of new motherhood.

Does anything give me that magical feeling any more, that shine, that glow, that rush? Not on that scale. Travel doesn’t have that effect for me because the actual business of traveling is such an ordeal. But I did feel something of the kind when I visited Scotland, which of all places I’ve been was the one I was most eager to see.

The nearest thing to it for me, otherwise, has been recreating the Christmas Eve mood for my own children. In building that atmosphere, with all its special qualities, I’ve glimpsed that wonder again and felt that glistening spirit that sparkles like stars and shines like angels and sings like frosty air. They’ve outgrown it now, too, that breathless awe on Christmas Eve, but I hope they remember.

Sometimes it comes in unexpected moments, comes and goes quickly like a single perfect snowflake on your sleeve, lingering just long enough to recall another world.

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder how necessary this feeling is in our lives. I know that there are times when I’ve needed that feeling and I’ve done some rather self-destructive things to find it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I can’t think of a reason why it would be necessary, but it sure is nice. Would you be willing to provide an example where it could lead to a self-destructive action?

wundayatta's avatar

Falling in love provides a high. It would be fairly destructive for someone who was married to fall in love in order to experience that high again.

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