The grass is always greener on the other side, right? People always want what they can’t have, basically.
With all this crazy warm weather we’ve had lately, I for one have been craving some cold, longing for the days of wrapping up in a winter coat and not melting into the pavement on my way to work.
And what’s the best thing about winter? Christmas, of course. That most magical time of year, the best films, great songs that definitely don’t get on your nerves after hearing them everywhere you go and, of course, the endless decorations.
We love decorations don’t we? Any opportunity and the bunting comes out and stays up for weeks until you can’t remember why you put it there in the first place.
However, there might be a reason for this – good old science has only gone and proved that people who put up Christmas decorations earlier are happier than the scrooges who leave it ’til later.
A report in Science Direct suggests that people ‘used Christmas decorations as a cue that the residents were friendly and cohesive’.
Basically, despite what warring neighbours Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick may have you believe, people putting up Christmas decorations earlier are generally happier and more welcoming to neighbours.
The study said: ‘in the absence of Christmas decorations, raters accurately distinguished between the homes of sociable and non-sociable residents’.
When Christmas decorations were present, raters actually attributed greater sociability to the non-sociable residents, citing a more open appearance as the basis for their judgments.
So Christmas decorations can soften the hardest of hearts after all!
However, you can’t have science without some psychology delving into your past thrown in for good measure. It turns out it’s not just friendliness that makes people whack up the decorations during the holiday season.
Not to get too heavy about this wonderful time of year, but we asked a few experts of the mind what the psychological reasoning is behind decking your hall with boughs of holly.
Steve McKeown, Psychoanalyst, founder of MindFixers and owner of The McKeown Clinic, told UNILAD:
Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly [it’s] for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.
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.
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!
So it’s not just looking warm and welcoming for your neighbours, but decorations actually have links back to your childhood by either reliving the magic or compensating for past disappointment. Ah that sweet, sweet stab of nostalgia.
It’s early August now, which gives us around 20 weeks until Christmas. Do the right thing, folks, get your decorations up now. Your neighbours will definitely love you for it.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.