It's a tricky thing: Do you begin decking the halls and trimming your tree in early November or after Thanksgiving, or some other time altogether? According to new research, it turns out that we may be missing out on a lot by not giving in to the holiday spirit early.
"Decorating your house early extends those magical childhood emotions from times gone by, which can only serve as a constant reminder causing positive psychological changes that affect your mood," says Steve McKeown, a psychoanalyst, tells us at Martha Stewart Living.
What does that mean? While some early displays of holiday cheer may be a sign of compensating for past neglect, in most cases, decorations bring back positive emotions from your childhood. And that makes absolute sense to us. After all, no one is more excited about Christmas than young children and by putting up our holiday decor, we re-connect with the inner child in ourselves and that gives us a boost of happy feelings.
Not only that, but tinsel and sparkly tree ornaments may also lead to new friendships. A recent study at the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggests that other people tend to have a more favorable opinion of us if we decorate our houses.
According to the study authors, U.S. residents may use holiday decorations on their home's exterior to communicate friendliness and cohesiveness with neighbors. Participants in the survey were shown photos of both decorated and non-decorated houses and it turned out that "raters used Christmas decorations as a cue that the residents were friendly and cohesive."
According to McKeown, research has also suggested that "extroverts have a higher level of immune-system functioning, so it can also improve your mood and fight off depression and improve your brain by making you sharper as active socializing delays memory loss as we age."
So if you are new to the neighborhood, go ahead and bring out the Christmas lights early this year — you can only benefit it.
Why not start with your Christmas tree? Watch how we're decking the halls this year: