Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Human Interest

Early Christmas decorators are happier while reliving their childhood, experts say

It’s nearly a yearly guarantee.

Even before pumpkins are replaced by turkeys, there’s one neighborhood house somewhere that will be ready for Christmas the day after Halloween, evoking groans from those who wait until the day after Thanksgiving to break out their house lights, blow-up reindeer and glowing Santas.

And while the practice of early Christmas decorating could annoy some neighbors, it also sends a signal that they are more accessible and friendly, according to the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

In a study, random raters who judged houses with and without Christmas decorations were asked which houses appeared to have the friendliest, most sociable occupants.

"The results support the idea that residents can use their home’s exterior to communicate attachment and possibly to integrate themselves into a neighborhood’s social activities," according to the study.

So, instead of rolling your eyes at the early decorators, invite them for a cup of eggnog ... or Thanksgiving dinner.

Because, according to one psychoanalyst, these folks generally are looking for links to their childhood, and are often happier.

"There could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect," Steve McKeown, a psychoanalyst, told UNILAD.

"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 childhood. Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement."

In addition to childhood itself, another expert believes early decorating is a way for people to connect with lost loved ones with whom they used to share Christmas.

"It may be a bittersweet feeling. Perhaps the holidays serve as a reminder of when a loved one was still alive," Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and author, told UNILAD. "For people who have lost a loved one, the holidays may serve as a reminder of happy times they had with that person in the past. Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual."

When do you start decorating for Christmas? Tell us in the comments below.

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