Are you a strict post-Thanksgiving or December-only holiday decorator? Or maybe you don't put up the tree until the week before Christmas? Our philosophies on holiday decorating are "the more the merrier" and "the sooner the better." If you have doubts about timing, you might reconsider when to decorate for Christmas after you hear this. Plus 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 winter gloom.
1. It Could Make You Happier
It turns out that "holiday spirit" isn't just eggnog. 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 loved one.
2. It'll Make Your Neighbors Like You
A study found that people 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 wreaths with pride—and maybe surprise the family next door with some 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. 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 the following tasty treats:
4. It's Getting Cold (and Dark)
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, too. 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
Or to get started on them! You've got tons of Christmas decoration ideas Pinned, 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 week later. Why not leave more time to sit back and appreciate your efforts? You could even mix it up with a new color scheme for your Christmas home decor 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 classics like "Jingle Bells" and "Deck the Halls" and sing along!
Bonus: Make an ornament out of favorite Christmas songs! Print out copies of the sheet music, then cut into strips and decoupage onto a plain ornament.
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 gingerbread house or easy ornaments for kids.
9. You'll Have Somewhere to Take Christmas Card Photos
Uh, oh! You reached the end of the year and realized you don't have nice photos of the family all together for the annual Christmas card—again. No worries; put up a few decorations as a backdrop and snap some pictures in sweaters so Grandma will get her card in time for the holidays. A festive strand of garland draped over a doorway or mantel provides the perfect framing effect for your photo. And since your decor is already out, well, you know what to do. Two birds, one stone.