You’re not imagining it, Christmas really does seem to come around faster each year – now scientists know why

CHRISTMAS really does seem to come around quicker every year – and scientists finally know why.

People who get excited about the festive season and those who forget to make plans are more likely to feel it arrives faster, experts say.

GettyThere are ‘established psychological constructs’ to explain why some people find Christmas comes around faster each year, scientists say[/caption]

If you have a busy social life, you are also more likely to find December 25 is here in a flash, the study found.

Researchers in the UK and Iraq spoke to people about the onset of Christmas or Ramadan.

They found that excitement or anticipation might make time seem to fly.

The team suggest that their findings could mean that someone’s experience of time is shaped not only by what they’ve done, but what is left to do.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, was led by Professor Ruth Ogden, of Liverpool John Moores University, and Dr Saad Sabet Alatrany, of Imam Ja’afar Al-Sadiq University.

Prof Ogden said: “[The statement] ‘Christmas seems to come quicker each year’ is a staple of small talk.

“But the feeling that a holiday comes around faster could also mean that someone’s sense of time is slightly distorted.”

To discover how often people sense the phenomenon, and what shapes their perception of time, researchers conducted a survey of more than 1,000 people in the UK and more than 600 people in Iraq.

They asked the participants if they believed Christmas or Ramadan came more quickly each year, and measured their memory function and attention to time, as well as asking about age, gender, and social life.

The researchers found 76 per cent of people in the UK felt Christmas came quicker every year, and 70 per cent of those in Iraq felt the same about Ramadan.

Prof Ogden said: “For both cases, people were more likely to report this perceived acceleration if they enjoyed the holiday, and also for UK participants, if they reported better social lives.

“This confirms previous suggestions that isolation contributes to a slower passage of time.

“In both Iraq and the UK, people were more likely to feel holidays came earlier if they thought about the passage of time more often, and if they were prone to prospective memory errors – such as forgetting to do a planned task.

“Perhaps surprisingly, age did not play a role in the perception.”

For Ramadan specifically, women were more likely to report that they felt it comes around more quickly each year.

Prof Ogden added: “These findings show that despite the sensation that annual events come around more quickly each year being anecdotal, it is predicted by established psychological constructs.

“While Ramadan and Christmas are very different holidays, and perceptions of time could certainly be influenced by marketing and other factors, our experience of time might be shaped both by our attention to its passage and by our plans for the future.

“The results of this study suggest that the sensation is not limited to a single culture or event.

“The findings are also consistent with previous studies demonstrating that positive emotion is associated with a faster passage of time.”

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