Did you know that Christmas decorations may make you happier? Start hanging your Christmas lights today!
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Do you wait to put up holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving? Or maybe you don't put up the tree until the week before Christmas? Our philosophy on holiday decorating has always been "the sooner the better," meaning we start decorating for Christmas long before the Thanksgiving menu has been planned.  If you have doubts about this timing, you might reconsider this year: Scientists actually say that decorating for the holidays can make you happier. And since we spent last Christmas sheltered in place during the pandemic, we could all use a little extra holiday cheer this year. So why not start as early as possible? 

We've got plenty of Christmas decoration ideas to get you started—all of which make you happy, help you connect with the neighbors, and bring some (literal) light to the winter gloom. And if you’re planning to do any Christmas DIY projects, why not get a head start in the summer months? Plus, Christmas music is always acceptable, no matter what the season! So bust out the ornaments, throw a batch of Christmas cookies in the oven, and start decorating.

woman decorating small Christmas tree
Credit: John Bessler

1. It Could Make You Happier

It turns out that "holiday spirit" isn't just spiked eggnog (although we won't judge if you bust that out now, too). People often associate Christmas decorations with feelings of nostalgia and excitement from childhood, several psychotherapists have explained. Even if this feeling is mixed with sadness, such as when someone has lost a loved one, decorating may help connect to positive memories of that friend or family member.

2. It'll Make Your Neighbors Like You

A recent scientific study found that people who are shown photos of houses rated the residents of a home adorned with Christmas decorations as more friendly and sociable versus houses sans decor. The decorated houses were seen as more "open" or accessible, regardless of whether their inhabitants actually interacted much with their neighbors. This makes a lot of sense; if everyone in the neighborhood decorates and you join in, it fosters a sense of community. So, go on, display your Christmas wreaths ($30, Walmart) with pride—and maybe surprise the family next door with some early holiday cookies!

3. Christmas Desserts

Did someone say cookies? OK, so maybe they aren't technically decor, but we think early holiday baking is a good reason to dust off that Santa-shape cookie jar ($31, Bed Bath & Beyond). Besides, colorful treats are decorations in their own right. Desserts are one of the best parts of the holiday season, and there's no reason why you can't enjoy them any day of the year. Mix up one or more of these sweet delicacies to get you in the holiday mood.

Not sure where to start? Try making one of these tasty treats:

4. It's Getting Cold (and Dark)

As the weather inches closer to freezing in the early winter months, there's really no reason not to get out your coziest Christmas decor. You've already broken out the warm scarves and sweaters, so go ahead and pull out the plaid blankets, evergreen-scented candles, and string lights ($5, Target). We also think that the coziness of twinkling lights and hot chocolate next to a crackling fire lined with stockings is the perfect way to beat the winter blues.

5. To Show Off Your DIYs

Go ahead and show off your holiday DIY projects—or get started on them! You've got tons of Christmas decoration ideas saved, but you don't want to be scrambling to glue and paint things the night before your guests come over. Make a wreath now, decorate ornaments for the annual exchange, and prep a Christmas card display before all the holiday mail starts coming in. We bet you won't be able to resist hanging up your newly made decorations.

6. To Enjoy Them Longer

Let's face it—putting up Christmas decorations is fun, but it can also be a lot of work. Lugging all of the ornaments and boxes out of the basement or attic is kind of a bummer if you know you'll have to do it all over again to put them away a few weeks later. Why not leave more time to sit back and appreciate your efforts? You could even mix it up with a new Christmas color scheme for your home this year.

7. To Sing a New Tune

We know people have mixed feelings about this one, but hear us out. There's no better time to play Christmas music than while decorating, and many artists release new holiday songs around this time. Besides, you've been listening to the same Top 40 hits all year. This is Christmas music's time to shine. Crank up these still-new holiday albums and tune into the Hallmark Radio station as you wait for this year's new Christmas albums to be released.

8. To Spend More Time with Family

With all the holiday parties and shopping, the season can turn into one big blur. Set aside time for Christmas decorating early so you can relax and truly enjoy this moment with your family before all the craziness starts. Pick a hands-on activity you can work on together, such as a festive gingerbread house or easy DIY ornaments for kids.

9. You'll Have More Time for Holiday Traditions

Since there are so many Christmas traditions to take part in, they tend to all pile up at once, which can make the season more stressful than enjoyable. But by getting your decorations hung early, you'll have one less thing to fit in between cookie exchanges, holiday shopping, and of course, wrapping all those gifts. Plus, if neatly wrapping boxes in paper and bows isn't your strong suit, use the extra time to learn to wrap gifts like a pro.

Comments (4)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
July 10, 2019
Why not leave them up longer in January when the nights are longer and colder.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
November 1, 2018
My wife loves to put up Christmas decor in October ahead of a heavy traffic load during duck season/November. I've finally got her doing Fall Harvest decor but sure enough, the day after Halloween here it comes. You know what, the world can use more Christmas spirit and there is nothing that puts more pride or light in her eyes than Christmas decorations. So, we've managed a good compromise with Fall harvest decor through October. Christmas decor from November 1st on through New Years. I'm on board with that!
Better Homes & Gardens Member
October 17, 2018
My husband insists on waiting until Thanksgiving is over to decorate the entire house, so we compromise. I decorate my home office and wait to put up other decorations. I listen Christmas music year round when he's not home. Win-win for our family!
Better Homes & Gardens Member
August 6, 2018
But what about all the beautiful fall and then Thanksgiving decorations?