The second November hits, it seems like the world is divided into two camps: those who get into the holiday spirit immediately, and those who roll their eyes at the very thought. If you fall into the latter group, pause your groans. Psychoanalysts are now saying that people who decorate for the holidays earlier tend to be happier, less stressed individuals.
Upon investigating the psychological reasons behind premature holiday celebrating, UK outlet Unilad discovered that it can actually be beneficial to our well-being. Steve McKeown, psychoanalyst and owner of The McKeown Clinic, told the publication that though there are many reasons why someone might want to decorate for the holidays early, the most common is the nostalgia factor.
“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,” McKeown said. “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!”
The Journal of Environmental Psychology offers another possible reason: Decor functions as signal of accessibility to neighbors. In one study, participants were shown houses with holiday decorations and those without. The houses with decor were deemed more “friendly and cohesive.” Whether that means people decorate in order to interact with their neighbors or because they feel pressure to maintain a certain image remains to be seen, but the evidence still stands.
When it comes down to it, most people decorate for the holidays because it’s a simple way to distract from life’s stressors. “Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past, and it helps people understand their identity,” Psychotherapist Amy Molin said, “For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”
Considering all the chaos of today’s world, it’s not exactly shocking that people would want to take advantage of the holidays to escape. So, let’s just let people decorate, okay?!