Just last weekend, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens had seemed very much still the ideal couple of three years to their admiring fans, since reports told of how “Zanessa” went Christmas shopping together. Now, they face the very same problem encountered by many (‘regular’) couples right before the jingle bells kick in: the pre-holiday breakup blues. But wouldn’t you rather spend a special occasion feeling together than apart? Wouldn’t everyone?

The interesting thing is, at least for the younger generations, there seems to be no sign of a cultural difference effect. Perhaps it’s to do with the universal level of academic stress then? The week before Christmas in North America usually sees an increase in anxiety as the last of semester finals take place. In the U.K., the winter holiday means nothing short of merely an extended study break during which students such as yours truly scramble to finish multiple assessed essays for a term-start deadline.

And civilized Asian states, with a majority holding significant focus on education, typically send their youth home with a pile of holiday homework that appears impossible to complete. Let’s not forget about college/internship/graduate school/job applications too. Heck, just writing this paragraph makes even myself anxious (quite literally too; I can feel the acid in my stomach rising up.).

Split season obviously doesn’t come lightly either. I came across an article in the paper earlier about a 16-year-old boy in Hong Kong who jumped out of his girlfriend’s apartment window to his death after she proposed they break up. To know that an obstacle in one’s love life could lead to such tragic ends is pretty concerning stuff, and the fact that it could happen to anyone you know at any point in time makes it all the more personal.

Therefore, as a young adult who has yet to enter her first relationship, I’m curious: why do people split right before holidays? I can’t imagine the real reason is really to do with avoiding gift-buying … right?

Feel free to discuss what you think in the comments below. Could peer influence also be an explanation? What about the Hollywood effect?