Have you already hung the stocking by the chimney with care? Were your halls decked with boughs of holly two days after Halloween? If so, does this make you a Christmas Crazy? Nope. It means you’re happy and outgoing – or trying to boost those traits, according to one expert.
Christmas decorations provide a visual cue and memory pathway back to the joy and nostalgia of childhood, according to psychologist Steve McKeown. People who put up their lights and wreaths early have more time to revel in those warm memories.
Other early decorators may be seeking to evoke memories of happier adult holidays, such as those shared with a loved one who has passed away. Even those who don’t have fond memories of Christmas may decorate early to compensate for what they missed as kids.
The feelings prompted by Christmas decorations provide some people with relief from personal stress and the craziness of the wider world. It’s like stepping into a warm bubble full of twinkling lights, pine scents, and familiar music and floating away. It makes sense that these folks would decorate as soon as possible.
Holiday decorating can also send a signal to your neighbors, according to The Journal of Environmental Psychology. Residents who decorate their homes are perceived as friendly and engaged with the community. The study even suggests that putting up holiday lights might be a good way for newcomers to integrate themselves into a neighborhood.
So, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about spreading holiday cheer a few weeks early. Now, if you’re that family that keeps their Christmas lights up until sometime around Valentine’s Day, we need to talk.