Some people laugh at the over-enthusiastic folks who decorate their Christmas decorations before December hits, but psychologists say doing this may improve your mood and overall satisfaction. While people may try to squash the idea of decking the halls before Thanksgiving, doing so could make you happier!
The Benefits of Embracing the Holidays Early
First, it’s important to note that there is no evidence putting your decorations up early has any downsides. The Christmas season is, at most, five weeks if you count the week following Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Five weeks is not long enough for most people to grow tired of the decorations.
According to what psychologist Deborah Serani told TODAY, decorating early can have benefits. She said, “Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.”
Christmas decorations and the Christmas season, in general, break up the monotony of life, slowing things down and helping people connect more with their day-to-day activities. Serani explains, “It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness.”
She continues, “I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out … signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it’s pleasing or not.”
Why do Christmas decorations make people happy? Scientifically speaking, vibrant colors and bright lights work as a type of chromotherapy, also known as color therapy. Vivid colors and shining lights may help people feel more energetic and positive.
This theory aligns with neuro-architecture, a scientific and psychological field exploring how curated environments influence human behavior.
Those twinkling lights, sentimental ornaments, and lush garlands can make every day more cheerful.
The Nostalgia Factor
Speaking of sentimentality, the way holiday decorations affect people’s moods may have to do with nostalgia and their childhoods. Serani explains, “For a lot of us, Christmas is a magical time; it’s a time of innocence, it’s a time of joy.”
Individuals with fond memories of their childhood Christmases are likelier to feel happier when the decorations go up. The decorations can evoke the simple and beautiful sensations of innocence and comfort people felt during Christmas as a kid.
Unfortunately, this also means people with unsatisfactory or traumatic childhoods may feel triggered and upset by holiday decorations. A psychologist and happiness expert, Elizabeth Lombardo, advises people with negative associations with Christmas to create new traditions to foster positive memories around the holiday.
What Your Neighbors Think
Interestingly, there is research that shows Christmas decorations have a friendly connotation. Putting up your decorations early can make your neighbors think you are a friendly and positive person. A simple Christmas wreath may go a long way with your reputation in the neighborhood!