Why It’s Not Too Early to Decorate for Christmas

There are surprising benefits for those who trim the tree early in the season.

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Posted in , Nov 21, 2018

Decorating for Christmas

For some families, choosing a Christmas tree on the weekend after Thanksgiving—or a bit earlier—is a happy tradition. For others, whether for religious reasons or personal preference, the sight of reindeer and jingle bells before the turkey leftovers are gone is a holiday no-no.

There’s good news for those who are hanging wreaths on Thanksgiving nightPsychologists side with the first outlook—decorating early for the winter holidays has been linked with more happiness through the busy holiday season.

For one thing, Christmas decorations make people happy. At the sight of snowflakes, candy canes and mistletoe, many people feel a surge of pleasant nostalgia for joyful holidays gone by, and excitement for those still ahead.

As the psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told the British publication UNILAD, “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 the childhood.”

This feeling can be complicated—but ultimately still positive—if the holidays are bittersweet because a loved one is not there to celebrate with the family. “For people who have lost a loved one, the holidays may serve as a reminder of happy times they had with that person in the past,” psychotherapist Amy Morin told UNILAD, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

Finally, decorated homes are welcoming homes—when someone has taken the time to add some sparkle to their abode, especially at the time of year when the sun sets earlier and earlier, it sends a bright and warm message to neighbors and friends.

This is hardly a new insight. A study published back in 1989 affirmed that people associate houses that are decorated for Christmas with sociability, welcoming and openness.

The study concluded, “Residents can use their home's exterior to communicate attachment and possibly to integrate themselves into a neighborhood's social activities.”

In other words, the earlier the holiday decorations go up, the more connected you are likely to feel with your community. And if connection isn’t a holiday virtue, I don’t know what is.

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