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Clinging to the feeling of Christmas is all about hope and nostalgia

Catching a case of Christmas Spirit is easy when snow is falling, trees are lit up and hot cocoa is poured, but the winter season can affect others differently.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — By Tuesday, East Tennessee saw the first snow of the season and transitioned into the month of December. 

If you are feeling the Christmas spirit, you are not alone. For some, the winter season spreads the feeling of hope, but for others, it's the opposite.

The beginning of December, with snow falling right outside the window, Christmas trees lighting up living rooms, fires crackling. Mix all of those together and you may catch a case of the Christmas spirit, which is kind of a real thing, according to Mental Health Association of East Tennessee CEO Ben Harrington.

"It all adds up to a nice, warm glow and a nice warm, fuzzy memory of you know better times," Harrington explained.

It's a recipe for nostalgia and thoughts of happier times.

"It gives them a sense of perpetual hope, gives them a sense of fond memories of their childhood, " Harrington said. "It delivers at the right time, and we needed this."

In 2020, people got a taste of the lights and decorations a little earlier than usual. People want to something to look forward to and plenty of festive feelings.

"It just makes you feel warm all over," Harrington smiled. "It's like a mug of hot cocoa."

But with the dim of the lights comes a darker time for some.

"So it's a natural thing for people to react and close folks down a little bit," Harrington assured.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that typically shows up around the winter season.

"For most people who suffer from SAD it occurs at this time of year because it gets dark early and there's less daylight, it's a cloudy, overcast day almost every day this time of year," Harrington explained.

There are steps you can take to compensate, though. No matter the weather, walking in fresh air is a plus. Open the blinds to let the light in.

You can also take a Vitamin D supplement or use light therapy to help you power through.

"Just hang in there," Harrington encouraged. "It will get better."

Take heart in knowing the coming weeks will be filled with twinkling lights on trees and displays on streets.