Now that the Madness of Christmas is over Kelly Bulkeley offers some interesting findings on what people dream about during the festive period.
Many people celebrate the Christmas holiday season as a time of joy, generosity, and family togetherness. Homes are decorated, feasts are cooked, presents are given and received. Even though the winter nights are long and cold, Christmas cheer brings new life and light to the darkest time of year.
It might be surprising, then, to learn that most people’s dream about Christmas tend to be worrisome and upsetting. Based on a review of several thousand dreams gathered from various sources over the years, I found that when people dream about Christmas they tend to focus on the problems and difficulties that can arise during the holiday. Here are a few intriguing examples:
“I was out Christmas shopping in a huge crowd and I got lost and couldn’t find my way out of the store.”
“I was trying to buy a Christmas present for a family member but wherever I went it was out of stock or they didn’t have it.”
“The dream occurred a few weeks ago and was probably a result of not feeling prepared for Christmas. It was one of those dreams where you are running around all crazy trying to accomplish something. I was trying to shop for Christmas gifts and everything I put in my cart would disappear as soon as I turned around to look at another item.”
Late for the pageant:
“It was the night of my school’s Christmas pageant, and I was running late–very late. The pageant was supposed to start at 7:30, and I didn’t start dressing for it until 7:45. When I finally headed out the door, I was already a half hour late and I suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was supposed to do when I got there. I felt embarrassed and stupid, but decided to show up anyway. That was the end of the dream.”
Guests and hosts:
“I had a dream that it was Christmas Eve. My boyfriend and I arrived at my mother’s home in the afternoon and she wasn’t there, she didn’t show up till 5:30 because she was at her trainers. This meant dinner wouldn’t be served till later than 8 which is when my boyfriend and I have to leave (in real life) for a trip to his parents’ home. I was extremely irritated throughout the dream.”
“At Christmas with a Viewmaster [a popular toy], thinking the pictures disappeared after the first use and I would not be able to see them because my younger sister got to them first. I was very upset!”
It never seems to end…
“I dreamt that we finally put the boxes that hold the outside Christmas decorations in the attic to only have to take them down again because it was almost Christmas again.”
A Nightmare before Christmas
“I was about 5 years old, and it was Christmas Eve. I was lying in bed, in the top bunk, and when I looked over at the bedroom door, there was a skeleton standing there, with a red Santa hat on, and a bag slung over its shoulder, as if full of gifts.”
Not all Christmas dreams are negative, however. Some bring back fond memories of people we have lost, people whom we would normally look forward to seeing during the holidays.
Ghosts of Christmas past
“My grandmother passed away recently. My dream was about us baking cookies. I believe the dream comes from the many memories I have of us doing that at Christmas.”
“It has been a long time, but I have dreamt about my dad who has been dead for over 10 years. It is usually when I am dreaming about a family gathering during Christmas or some other time and my dad is there.”
“I once had a dream about my mom (who is deceased). I dreamed that she and I were going out to the stores and shopping for Christmas. I didn’t want to wake up, because if I did then she would be gone again. The dream really seemed real.”
And sometimes, every rare once in a while, the holiday dreams are truly happy—visions of sugarplums dancing through our heads.
“I dreamed about family Christmas time. Brought back happy memories of getting together with brother and sisters.”
“It’s Christmas Eve and I’m at my Aunt Bertha’s house. Everyone is in such a good mood; it feels good as the place is so alive. Alison, Mary, and Sam are talking in a corner. Alison’s girls have beautifully decorated this place. My brother Frank is sitting at the piano playing Christmas cards with my mom. I’m just sitting on the couch and smiling. I’m really full, happy, and tired now.”