There is something magical about opening the box of Christmas decorations and going down memory lane while finding a perfect spot for each of them. These pretty items have more than just an aesthetic purpose, according to science.
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Decorating early makes you happier
According to psychologist Deborah Serani, Yule-themed decor does create ‘that neurological shift that can produce happiness’, so the earlier you’ll get to it the sooner you’ll benefit from the wave of ‘merriness’. She said:
Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.
The bright lights and colours increase energy levels and boost good mood. And it’s hard to resist smiling at the sight of a Christmas tree being lit for the first time.
There's also the nostalgia factor. For a lot of us, Christmas is a magical time, it’s a time of innocence, and childhood memories, it’s a time of pure joy.
If you're someone who has happy childhood memories of the holidays, then you're more likely to want to re-create that feeling sooner rather than later, which you might do by hanging up Christmas lights, for example.
People will see you as a friendlier person
There's another possible benefit to decorating early: the neighbours might think you're open for socialising. Research has shown that people interpret Christmas decorations in a home as a cue that the people inside are sociable.
The study examined the possibility of using decorations as a way to signal your friendliness. Participants rated residents based only on photographs of their homes and front yard.
Decoration interacted with sociability in a complex but interpretable way. When Christmas decorations were present, people actually attributed greater sociability to the non-sociable neighbours, citing ‘a more open appearance’ as the basis for their judgments.
The results of the study support the idea that if you’re ‘a new kid in town’ you can use your home's exterior to look more open and integrate yourself into a neighbourhood's social activities.
- ScienceDirect: 'Inferences about homeowners' sociability: Impact of Christmas decorations and other cues'
- Today: 'Go ahead, and put up the Christmas lights now! Science says it will make you happier'