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Does putting your Christmas decorations up early have psychological benefits?

In a year that’s felt a little glum, the twinkling allure of Christmas is keeping many people’s spirits high right now. With traditions just around the corner, the festive season promises to foster feelings of cheer, love, and goodwill. With that in mind, are you considering putting your Christmas decorations up early this year? It feels as if many of us are keener than ever to kick off the festivities. Sure, it’s probably because we’re more focused than ever on our homes without the distractions of normal life. But we have an inkling there might be some deeper-rooted psychological reasons that explain why you may be feeling the urge to get festive as soon as possible…I say, “why not!?” ~Cathy

First things first, what counts as “early” when it comes to decorating? In Victorian times, decorations were put up on Christmas Eve and left up until Twelfth Night, but nowadays, many people put up all their decorations, from trees to tinsel, a lot earlier. This article has some great information from psychological experts to explore the potential mental health benefits of putting your Christmas decorations up early, particularly in light of a year irrevocably altered as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Georgia Halls agrees, sharing that, for many, putting up Christmas decorations reminds us of good times, community and connection. “It’s an activity we usually share with others and has an element of familiarity, which can be very comforting.”

Inviting festive cheer into your home early by putting Christmas decorations up could create a longer-lasting feeling of goodwill and subtly lift your mood by adding sparkle to an otherwise normal environment, Heather reckons. “Whichever Christmas decorations you like – whether it’s fairy lights, table decorations, trees or candles – can form a buffer against a world that is pretty tough at the moment,” she continues. “Doing your favorite Christmas things earlier will remind you of the simple joys and pleasures of being human.” Hear, hear!

Marsha Chinichian, the resident clinical psychotherapist at Mindshine, agrees. “Many studies found that the anticipation of something can be a powerful, positive, and important part of a happier life,” she explains. So, decorating earlier could be a really simple way to build some healthy holiday season anticipation.

Holiday decorating ignites the child in each of us, eliciting positive emotions. “Decorating early really isn’t a bad idea at all,” she says. “Studies show that decorating for the holidays improves mood and ignites positive memories.” Not to mention the fact that the actual act of putting Christmas decorations up offers a boost of your happy hormone, dopamine. “Holiday decorating ignites the child in each of us, eliciting positive emotions,” she explains.

So, does Christmas decorating have a positive mental impact?
In short, yes. “The simple presence of Christmas decorations is an affirmation of joy and celebration,” explains Heather. Whether you celebrate Christmas for religious, cultural, or social reasons, decorations add more beauty to the darkest time of the year, she continues. Christmas lights can also be beneficial simply by helping to brighten up your inside space. “Any additional light we can add to our homes during the dark winter months is a real asset,” adds Heather.

Above all, if you feel like decorating early then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. All three psychology experts encourage doing anything that brings you personal joy right now.

“In the context of an uncertain environment thanks to Covid-19, Christmas decorations may allow people to control their own space using a method which has proven time and time again to raise spirits for many people,” Georgia explains.

Marsha agrees, saying that decorating is crucial for bringing a little happiness to 2020, as people are spending more time than ever at home. “The pandemic is offering an almost forced slow down and check-in,” she explains. Rather than feel sad about what could have been, she suggests reframing your mindset to enjoy the small things – like decorating.

Without the prospect of festive events filling up your diary, you and your household will likely have a lot more free time to spend at home. Taking the time to decorate your space in a way you love could really lift your moods, she says. “Changing up the house and focusing on decor can shift the mood drastically and make it feel like a happier space.”

Source: Ally Head on 11/13/2020, Good Housekeeping UK

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