Pull out those twinkling lights because decorating early for Christmas may make you happier

She says that it brings them a sense of happiness and joy,
Christmas Decorations

JOPLIN, Mo. – Jamie Kelly and her family have a tradition of decorating for Christmas right after Black Friday

“Having that tradition right behind Thanksgiving has been something to look forward to.”

But this year they are decorating early.

“We started last week, we had a couple nice days so the husband went up on the roof and started putting up lights and starting pulling all the Christmas decorations out of the shed, so we thought we might as well start early we don’t have much else going on and it’s a fun time of the year so why not make it last longer​.”

She says that it brings them a sense of happiness and joy,

“It does give you permission to just take a breath and spend more time with your family and we do crafts together, yeah and we get to decorate our Christmas tree.”

And experts say that the mental correlation between decorating for the holidays and one’s happiness may be true for everyone who decorates early.

“Studies show that people who decorate, whether it’s early or later, have a sense of childlike euphoria and happiness and so it is not a bad thing to necessarily go ahead and decorate early, especially with everything going on in the world today and as much trouble were having in our own lives. It would help us have a better sense of wellbeing” said Rebecca Ward with the Joplin National Alliance on Mental Health.

The Joplin National Alliance on Mental Health is even suggesting to their support groups and clients to decorate early to help them have a happier holiday.

“It’s really important because of all the negatives in our lives right now and if we can even find one good thing, one positive thing, to look to, to give us hope I think that’s very important right now” added Ward.

​For Kelly, it’s a time to enjoy possibly a new family tradition.

“You get a chance to go back and watch all the movies you watched as a kid, all the Christmas special and listen to the Christmas music, there’s a lot of Christmas music I listen to that reminds me of my grandma and it’s the warm fuzzies.”

Joy Parkman, a licensed therapist with Mt. Hope Counseling Center in Webb City provided KOAM with the following research and analysis to further look into the correlation between decorating early and mental health.

“Why people put up Christmas decorations early and the psychological reasons behind it.”

As we begin to close out 2020, a large dose of good tidings and cheer seems to be in order!  In 2017, Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown stated, ‘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 (McKeown, 2017).”  Interestingly, the Journal of Environmental Psychology published research showing that people who decorate early are seen as more personable.  “People see those with Christmas decorations as a cue that the residents were friendly and cohesive,’ and the “absence of Christmas decorations” distinguished between the homes of non-sociable versus sociable residents (Werner et. al., 1989).  This study also discovered residents who were less social yet displayed holiday decorations were communicating a desire to make new friends. Moreover, residents who place decorations near the entrance of their home appeared to have more friends and be more optimistic than those who place decorations away from the entrance (Werner et. al., 1989).  On another note, Brown & Altman found that decorations, such as an inflatable Santa Claus or garden gnome indicated ownership, attachment, and a sense of territory; a sign of the homeowner’s vigilance that may also deter crime (Brown & Altman, 1983).  A similar study by Woods, et al agreed that, “a high level of neighborhood upkeep contributed to greater feelings of safety and social capital (Wood et. al., 2008).  Thus, early decorations may be the new holiday neighborhood watch!  So while clinical psychologist Linda Blair found that Christmas music too early in the season may negatively affect mental health by triggering feelings of stress as, “Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality,” and “might make us feel that we’re trapped – it’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations (Leasca, 2018),” early Christmas decorations have a positive effect both for the decorator and beholder! -Joy Parkman, 11/18/2020.


Brown, B., & Altman, I.  (1983) Territoriality, defensible space and residential burglary: An environmental analysis.  Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3:203-220.

Leasca, Stacey (2018, November 6). Oh the music outside is frightful. Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/christmas-music-bad-for-health.

McKeown, S. (2017, October 7). People who put up Christmas decorations early are happier, says expert. UNILAD. https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/people-who-put-up-christmas-decorations-early-are-happier/

Wood, L., Shannon, T., Bulsara, M., Pikora, T., McCormack, G., & Giles-Corti, B. (2008). The anatomy of the safe and social suburb: An exploratory study of the built environment, social capital and residents’ perceptions of safety. Health & Place, 14:15-31.