I’m all about nostalgia these days, in unprecedented times we all long for the simple days of yore. Remember when you believed in Santa and left cookies and carrots out on the dining room table for the jolly bringer of gifts and joy and his fleet of far traveling reindeer on his sleigh?
Research shows in an interview with psychoanalyst Steve McKeown at UNILAD that those people who decorate earlier for Christmas or other holidays are much happier than those who Grinch it up and hide away in their dark house on the hill. Let’s take a look at the study that outlines the benefits gleaned from decorating for holly jolly festivities.
Trimming your tree early brings happy feelings and nostalgia boosting effects
“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.”
There is nothing quite like the feeling of glee unmatched by young children rousing their parents up from bed at 5 in the morning. Dreams of sugar plums, fairies, and PlayStation 5 consoles left dancing in their head, no wonder sleep is hard to come by! The food and family cheer is unmatched, and personally one of my favorite parts of the holiday.
Morin also adds the sentimental reasons behind throwing your tree up before Thanksgiving.
“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 those of us who lost friends and loved ones due to the coronavirus crisis decorating early might be the boost you need to harken back on a better time singing carols door to door in the neighborhood with your family or partner.
Keep their memory alive by continuing the holiday rituals you used to enjoy doing together.
Decorating your mantel prematurely with stockings to be stuffed releases dopamine
What happens to your brain and the neurological pathways when you deck the halls so to speak?
Resident psychologist and acclaimed author, Deborah Serani, breaks down what happens when you trim the Christmas tree early and break out the eggnog to prance around the living room to Yuletide classics with your family.
Not only do feelings of childhood nostalgia make your heart grow 3 sizes that day but decorating your house for the holidays helps facilitate a spike in your dopamine levels. This is what she had to add on the bright lights and ambiance that lift anyone’s mood in trying times.
“For a lot of us, Christmas is a magical time, it’s a time of innocence, it’s a time of joy. It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness.”
Dopamine known as the happiness hormone has so many positive physical and mental health benefits. According to research, this is the effect dopamine has on humans and why so many of us work out or partake in any dopamine boosting activities.
“Dopamine is a hormone associated with happiness and serotonin regulates our mood. When a person is physically attracted to another, activation of dopamine, serotonin increases and production of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces pain perception and increases the emotional connection we have with the other occurs.”
Oxytocin is a fascinating hormone that helps aid in solidifying real lasting bonds between human beings. A recent study proved a handshake at the end of a business meeting released this hormone and helps create lasting business relationships informed by trust and feelings of interconnection.
String those lights outside — it helps you create bonds and friendships by appearing friendlier to passersby
Interestingly enough decorating your house with twinkling lights and animatronic reindeer galore sends a signal to your neighbors that you’re far more approachable than those who don’t go all out. Trust me, going full Clark family Christmas like Chevy Chase in the iconic holiday movie classic Christmas Vacation will help you form bonds and new relationships with those folks in your neighborhood.
“Evidence from the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows how decorations are used as ‘cues as a way of communicating their accessibility to neighbors’. Participants were shown houses that were covered in decorations and those that weren’t to assess their sociability. It turned out that those with decorations were deemed more ‘friendly and cohesive’.”
If you’re looking to make some new socially distant buddies to admire and celebrate the holiday cheer with I suggest buying that huge Christmas wreath you were eyeing at Target!
There’s no shame in decorating early this year, in fact, prior research encourages it! If you want to boost dopamine, happiness, stir up nostalgic memories, and appear friendlier and more approachable in your community I highly recommend going for a full winter wonderland environment on your front lawn.
You can even make your own Christmas ornaments at home with your family as a fun nostalgic way to safely enjoy the festive tradition of decorating your evergreen tree with old photos of holidays past without the trip to a packed big box store.
Happy holidays to you and yours from all of us here at Ladders!