Experts say putting up Christmas decorations early makes you happier
It's annoying when people put up Christmas decorations early. What's wrong with these freaks? It's early November, and their house is already lit up like the Electric Daisy Carnival. They've got a full nativity display, a Santa sleigh with nine reindeer and a giant Frosty The Snowman holding a boombox blasting Christmas carols on a loop. It makes you want to turn "Silent Night" into "Violent Night" and smash all that crap with a baseball bat.
But these Santa lovers may be on to something. According to psychologists, putting up Christmas decorations early makes you happier. You know how sometimes a smell or a song can trigger a memory? It's like that. The decorations are time machines that take us back to our childhoods. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown elaborates:
"Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.
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.
Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!"
If you have awesome Christmas memories, all that tinsel stirs up a tornado of happy nostalgia. And if all your Christmas memories kind of suck, you try to make up for it now, flooding your house with so much shiny red and green, it's like a bunch of elves barfed all over it. Either way, positive vibes.
After all, there's a reason they call it "Christmas cheer." According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, decorations are cues of "communicating their accessibility to neighbors." When you see a house full of festive flair, you assume the people living there are sociable. By putting up all those boughs of holly, they're saying they want to be friends. And if they put up a ton of mistletoe, they're saying they want to be friends...with benefits.
Ironically, one reason Christmas makes people happy is because it makes them sad. When you think about your past, you remember loved ones who aren't with you anymore. Psychotherapist Amy Morin explains how that just deepens the connection:
"The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.
It may be a bittersweet feeling. Perhaps 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, the holidays may serve as a reminder of happy times they had with that person in the past. Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual."
So if you want to be happier, stop being a Scrooge or a Grinch or a Hans Gruber. Buy a million Christmas decorations and leave them up all year. People won't think you're crazy. They'll just think you're happy.