Cuddle season has officially arrived
Although San Diego’s recent weather is no indication, the holiday season of festive decor and wintry activities is officially in effect.
With this season comes the faint sound of Christmas music playing in the background at the mall, inventive new flavors included on the Starbucks menu and an unpleasant nagging from retailers everywhere to start holiday shopping.
However, that is not all this season brings. The holiday season also imposes the subtle yet undeniable trend of everyone coupling up, otherwise known as “cuddle season.”
According to Facebook Data Science, the winter months show an extreme rise in the number of relationship statuses set to “in a relationship” or “engaged.” Even though this only accounts for those on Facebook, the increase is dramatic enough to deem it a cultural phenomenon. Freshman Taylor Banks notices this tendency to couple up amongst his friends.
“People are more likely to cuddle up and start dating in the winter, because the holidays make you feel like you should,” Banks said.
What causes this change in behavior? People are not getting closer just to exchange body heat in the cooler temperatures, but rather due to some other intangible source of pressure.
Sophomore Susannah Jennings believes this pressure comes from both society and our peers.
“When the holiday season starts, people couple off because everything is about doing the holiday activities with a significant other, or buying presents for that special someone or whatever,” Jennings said. “It makes you feel lonely if you’re not a part of it.”
Is this all just a marketing gimmick? It makes sense that large corporations would want to pressure people into relationships, because ultimately they are capitalizing off of it with the gift buying that follows.
“Yeah having a girlfriend during the holidays is nice, but then you have to buy your girlfriend a bunch of presents and that sucks,” Banks said.
Although Banks has a point about the downside of a holiday relationship, is opting out of the significant other gift exchange worth it if it comes with the alternative feelings of sadness and exclusion?
“With the holidays it makes you want to have someone because it’s depressing if you don’t,” said Banks.
It really seems that people are using the marketable side of the holidays as justification for their urge to find someone, however, looking deeper there is really more to it.
The holidays bring joy and relaxation to some, but to others, the holidays can quite easily be the most stressful time of year. The holidays mean seeing obnoxious family members that you try to avoid all other months of the year, emptying out your hard-earned savings to buy people gifts you know they do not need, not to mention competing with the neighbors over house decorations or the perfect casserole recipe.
The reason people really want a significant other during this time is because no one wants to go through it alone.
Being single over the holidays can be painfully pointed out throughout various points, whether it’s the nagging “When are you getting married?” questions from your weird grandparents, or the hollow void that forms in your heart when you scroll through Facebook and see pictures of your friends ice skating, drinking hot cocoa and exchanging gifts with their new flings.
Let’s not even bring up Valentine’s Day or midnight on New Year’s.
If you are not hopping on the relationship bandwagon this season, focus on the positives.
You will come out of the holiday season with more money in your bank account, probably a little thinner without all the chocolates and dinner dates and you will not be a part of the next cultural phenomenon that takes place over the summer: breakup season.