Putting Up Christmas Decorations Early May Increase People's Happiness, Experts Say
Sep 10, 2021 by apost team
Christmas is a time of joy that most people absolutely cherish. Whether you're simply up for a cozy family meal or want to go the whole hog with putting up extravagant decorations early in the season, there's no doubt that Christmas makes a lot of people happy. But one aspect of Christmas has many people divided and that is the debate of how early is too early to start with Christmas decorations.
While some people have a firm rule that Christmas decorations can't go up earlier than Dec. 1, others are more than happy to swap out their Halloween decorations for Christmas ones come Nov. 1. After hearing from both sides each year, it seems that the debate finally may have been settled thanks to new input from experts.
Speaking with Unilad, Steve McKeown, who is a psychoanalyst and the owner of The McKeown Clinic, explained that the people who decorate early are driven by feelings of nostalgia.
"In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood. Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement."
He adds that "putting up those Christmas decorations early (can) extend the excitement." That's great news for people who like to decorate early and might even serve as a gentle reminder to those who are in the other camp that putting such restrictions on feelings of happiness is ultimately futile. Life's too short, after all.
Meanwhile, psychotherapist Amy Morin, who is also the author of "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," told Unilad that Christmas is also a time when people generally feel more connected to their past, which includes loved ones they might have lost. Morin told the publication:
"The holidays serve as a reminder of when a loved one was still alive. Or maybe looking at a Christmas tree reminds someone of what life was like when they still believed in Santa."
"For people who have lost a loved one, it may serve as a reminder of happy times they had with that person. Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual."
Other experts, like psychologist Deborah Serani, agree. "Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone," Serani told Today.
Not only that but previous scientific research also suggests a related theory about people who decorate their front lawns. While some might consider the overexcitement of "vomiting" Christmas on one's front lawn to be garish and obscene, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that it's actually a sign of a friendly family. The authors of the study wrote:
"A main effect for the decorated factor indicated that raters used Christmas decorations as a cue that the residents were friendly."
So there you have it — not only do Christmas decorations outside your house suggest you're a friendlier family, putting up decorations early is linked to feelings of nostalgia, which is linked to happiness and excitement. It can also help us to feel connected to loved ones we've lost, and that's a good enough reason as any to get the mistletoe up as soon as you like.
Which camp are you in — are you for early decorations or against them? Why do you prefer one or the other? We'd love to hear your opinions, and be sure to pass this on to your friends so they can weigh in too!