People always want their holidays to be happy. But have you ever thought of taking the 'happy' out of your holidays?
An English professor at Wake Forest University has well thought about it.
Eric Wilson, who doesn't want to be happy for the holidays, has suggested that 'happy' is an unreachable goal - especially around the holidays.
"When you wish someone a happy holiday, you don't know how much pressure you might be putting on them," he said.
"The concept of constant happiness around the holidays forces people to repress too many other authentic feelings," he added.
In his book 'Against Happiness', Wilson has said that America's obsession with happiness - cemented when the founding fathers included the 'pursuit of happiness' in the Declaration of Independence - threatens to kill creativity and innovation.
He contended that experiencing emotions, including melancholy and even sadness, could lead to greater joy in the end. But you'll never get there if you're trying to plaster a smile on your face.
He sees melancholy, the opposite of happiness, as the incubator of great change and allows us to recognize joy when it comes our way.
Wilson, who has long struggled with depression and is being treated for bipolar, has spoken from his experience.
He said the season's tidings of good cheer could devastate vulnerable people, like those dealing with mental illness. Under the pressure of such expectations, those people get sadder and sadder.
"I have trouble with Christmas," said Wilson.
"Sentimentality goes into overdrive and we all glut ourselves on false expectations," he added.
Before his daughter was born, he did his best to avoid the seasonal celebrations. Now he focuses on simple, intimate gatherings - baking cookies together, for instance.
"The holidays should be a time when we try to connect in more intense and creative ways with those that we love," he said.