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Deck Those Halls—It Will Make You Happier

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Deck Those Halls—It Will Make You Happier

Every November, a debate ensues in our household about when the Christmas decorations may go up. My husband insists we wait until after Thanksgiving. Hauling plastic totes of holiday cheer from the attic and setting up the tree have become a Black Friday tradition. As soon as the turkey is in the fridge, it’s all Christmas, all the time.

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If you’re itching to put up the tree and break out the Christmas lights, just do it.

Science says it’ll make you happier.

Every November, a debate ensues in our household about when the Christmas decorations may go up. My husband insists we wait until after Thanksgiving. Hauling plastic totes of holiday cheer from the attic and setting up the tree have become a Black Friday tradition. As soon as the turkey is in the fridge, it’s all Christmas, all the time.

Yet I can’t help but turn on Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movies, sip a mug of hot chocolate (Yes, I know it’s still 80 degrees outside), and plan this year’s Christmas decor as soon as the calendar reads November 1. Should the temperature drop below 50 degrees even ever so briefly, you’d better believe Christmas cookies are going in the oven and every window in our house will be covered with paper snowflakes.

According to the British website Unilad, people who put up their Christmas decorations early are not only happier, but they’re more nostalgic and in touch with their inner child than those who wait to decorate or (gasp) don’t decorate at all.    

“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,” says Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown, “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!”

According to Science Direct, sprucing up your home’s exterior for the holidays will make you appear friendly and neighborly, more attached to the area, and integrated into your neighborhood’s social activities. You’ll certainly be viewed as more approachable than those who don’t decorate.

Stringing the lights will lift your spirits too. “Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone, says Psychologist Deborah Serani. The bright lights and colors boost our energy and happiness levels. Our favorite holiday decorations also fill us with nostalgia for childhood moments, time spent with loved ones, and the special people in our lives who are no longer here to celebrate with us. Putting up meaningful ornaments allows us to reflect and remember who they were and what they meant to us.  

Are you convinced yet?

Regardless of the date the decorations go up in your home, the holidays are a time of togetherness, family, and building bonds.  That’s what my ornament collection represents to me. I can’t wait to hang my now 13-year-old daughter’s First Christmas ornament. Ballet shoes represent her first recital, a dinosaur her kindergarten fascination with paleontology.  I’ll hang a perky pirate ornament and laugh about the (many) years my now 10-year-old son was obsessed with Jake and the Neverland Pirates. We have ornaments representing each home we’ve lived in on this military journey and the people and places that have impacted us the most along the way. They’re just things, but each holds memories I can’t wait to relive.

I can’t wait to curl up with my kids and watch a holiday favorite like How the Grinch Stole Christmas or A Christmas Carol. I remember watching them at my grandmother’s house when I was little. We’ll make a batch of green Grinch Popcorn and maybe even enjoy the newest version of this classic in theaters.

I can’t wait to start Thanksgiving watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and making homemade rolls with my kids. Our kitchen countertop will be coated in flour by the time we’re done, our sink overflowing with dishes, and our hearts and bellies full. We’ll read about Squanto, eat turkey, and lift up prayers of thanksgiving for our many blessings.

I can’t wait to check out the best Christmas light displays in town. We’ll have thermoses of hot chocolate and we’ll listen to carols, just like I used to do with my mom and dad. I cherish those memories so, so much. The Girvin Road Christmas Lights are simply the best and I can’t wait to share them with my children again this year. Or perhaps we’ll journey south and experience St. Augustine’s Night of Lights. The Ancient City is glorious when illuminated by over 3 million sparkling lights. It’ll be a night to remember.  

We can all use a little bit more happiness in our lives.

I for one can’t wait to build some new memories and reminisce Christmases past.

Decorate away, friends.

By Jennifer Melville

J4K A-Z