How Early Christmas Decorating isn't as Bad as You Think
How early is too early to put up Christmas decorations? Many people have strong feelings on the subject. My husband is one of them. He has insisted that Christmas decorations should not make an appearance until after Thanksgiving. It has been a challenge for me, someone who likes to decorate as early as October, to convince him that there are benefits to putting up the Christmas decorations early. I feel strongly that we don't have to wait until December to start decking the halls! While I'm not sure that my husband and I have settled this debate, I wish to offer a few reasons why you might consider decorating for Christmas sooner rather than later.
1) People who decorate early tend to be happier.
Happy memories are not the only things that Christmas decorations can spark. They can also serve as an affirmation of one's beliefs and values. When you surround yourself with things that make you happy and are important to you, you're more likely to be in a good mood. I have found this to be true for myself. When I start decorating the house for the holidays, I can't help but smile. My children get excited about the decorations as well, and their happiness just adds to the mix.
But what happens if we have bad memories associated with the holiday, or, like myself, have lost loved ones around the holiday time? Won't decorating early for the holidays have the reverse effect? Possibly, but I have found in my own situation that early decorating gives me opportunities to establish new traditions and make new memories to replace undesirable ones. And having decorations up before the busiest time of the season also gives me the space I need to work through any grief I feel for loved ones who have passed. Then I can enjoy the happy, nostalgic memories once more.
2) Decorating early can make you neighborhood-friendly.
Ok, maybe you don't care what your neighbors think, but a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that putting up Christmas decorations can make you seem more friendly and sociable. In the study participants rated residents' sociability and friendliness simply by looking at photographs of house exteriors, some decorated and some undecorated. I can't say whether our neighbors consider us more friendly because of our decorations or not, but the neighborhood we live does get pretty decked out for the holidays. Since most of the houses on our block put up Christmas decorations, putting up our own decorations feels like we are contributing to the holiday spirit of the neighborhood. And that makes us...well, happy. And I don't mind if appear more friendly as a result.
3) You can enjoy the festive atmosphere longer.If you put up your decorations early, you can enjoy them for a longer period of time. I find that this is especially helpful if you live in a place with a short winter. For example, here in West Texas, we don't have much of a winter at all. It can be hard to get into the Christmas spirit with nothing to really indicate that it is that time of year. Putting up decorations in October and taking them down in January helps us get ready for the holiday and makes us feel like we have had some kind of winter season.
Decorating early can also be helpful if you feel like the holiday season is too short or too rushed. Taking a couple of extra weeks, or even months, to enjoy a holiday atmosphere can be relaxing. There is not so much pressure to cram all the holiday stuff into one, super busy month. And that brings me to the next reason to consider decorating early...
4) It can take some of the stress out of your holiday season.I think it's safe to say that no one likes stress. It is not something that makes us happy. If you put up your decorations early, though, it's one less thing you have to do when the holiday season gets really busy. You can use that extra time to do things you enjoy, like watching holiday movies or baking cookies. You'll be able to relax and enjoy more time with the family if you don't have to worry about putting up decorations at the last minute.
If you--or your family--are still resistant to the idea of decorating early, consider a sneakier alternative. Go ahead and put up the Christmas tree, but decorate it with harvest-themed decorations instead. Then as the Christmas holiday season gets closer, simply swap out your decorations. This can also be done with wreaths, garlands and other decorations. It will still save you some time and stress, and you will still get the benefits of decorating early.
Still not convinced? That's okay. I don't think my husband is entirely onboard with early decorating either. But I think he's coming around.
Let me know in the comments below if you like to decorate early and how it affects your family.