It may be traditional to wait until after Thanksgiving to hang up your Christmas decorations, but don’t let those Christmas Scrooges make you feel guilty about getting into the holiday spirit earlier this year. According to experts, getting your festive on as soon as possible can actually make you happier — and it has to do with nostalgia.
“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, [it’s] most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect,” psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told 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.”
According to McKeown, all of that sparkly red and green decor is a “pathway” to your fond and magical childhood emotions about the excitement of Christmas: “So putting up those Christmas decorations early extends the excitement!”
Similar to how the smell and taste of pumpkin spice triggers a nostalgic response in our brains, Christmas decorations help us reconnect with memories from our past.
All in all, the benefits of nostalgia outweigh the costs, according to science. In addition to counteracting loneliness, boredom and anxiety, and making people more generous to strangers and tolerant of outsiders, it can make couples feel closer and look happier and literally warm people up on cold days.
Christmas decorations can also bring you closer to your neighbors. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology claims they are “cues as a way of communicating their accessibility to neighbors.” Just looking at a person’s decorated house makes them appear more “friendly and cohesive.”
So, with that in mind, go ahead and set up that Christmas tree, deck the halls with boughs of holly and hang that mistletoe before you even pop your turkey in the oven. Happy holidays!
What Do YOU Think?
When do you start decorating your home for the holidays? How do holiday decorations make you feel? Does nostalgia have a positive or negative impact on you?