The Bulldog Tribune

Holiday Decorating: When is it Simply Too Early?

Jimmy Sanderson and Sravani Sunkara (respectively), Sports Editor and Staff Writer (respectively)

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The Earlier the Better!

The holiday season is known most wonderful time of the year. Malls, stores, and houses are all covered with decorations. I tend to associate Christmas decorations with a sense of happiness, because my favorite holiday has always been Christmas, and driving by houses covered in lights signifies the beginning of the holiday season.

What’s wrong with decorating too early? People usually set the boundary that decorating for the holidays any time before Thanksgiving is considered “too early,” complaining that thanksgiving needs to be celebrated before preparing before the next holiday.

Well, psychologists found that breaking out the decorations does make you happier. “Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone,” psychologist Deborah Serani said. So, if decorating your house makes you happier, what should stop you from decorating early? The holiday season tends to make everyone happier, so putting up those decorations just extends the most wonderful time of the year!

Nostalgia is a factor that also plays into feeling the need to decorate earlier. The holidays have a tendency invoke wonderful childhood memories of the holidays, causing people to want to recreate that feeling, because it brings them a sense of happiness.

Research also shows that people correlate decorations on a house with friendliness, so why not decorate earlier? That’s a way to make your neighbors like you!

It should not matter when you decide to decorate your house, because when it comes down to it, it is your house and nobody can tell you what to do. But why hate on people who decorate their house before thanksgiving? You cannot blame people for wanting to extend the most wonderful time of the year, and decorating signifies the beginning of the season.  In a world full of stress and anxiety, everyone should appreciate an extended happy holiday season.

What Ever Happened to Thanksgiving?!

Despite loving Christmas and all of the unforgettable memories it has brought me over the years, I tend to feel a little caught off guard when I’m out walking my dog in October, and I see that my neighbors have already put their Christmas decorations up: inflatables, lights, and everything in between. People should at least wait until after Thanksgiving to unleash their inner Christmas fanatic. That way, the people who are a little less excited about the holiday have time to catch their breath after Halloween.

Christmas hasn’t always been the big deal it is today. It seems to me that Christmas has evolved into more of a winter celebration for us all, no matter what religion we are. It has become a winter festival that we use to get a break from winter’s challenging nature. It doesn’t make sense to start celebrating it before December when it doesn’t even feel like winter yet.

During the holiday months, there are very few places you’ll go, where there aren’t Christmas decorations up already; you can’t escape it. In the midst of all the Christmas frenzy, the other holidays, like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are often forgotten and overlooked.

Even though I love how Christmas, and the holiday season in general, seems to bring out the charitable nature of people, we always seem to forget that Thanksgiving is also a holiday that stresses giving.

When people skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, those values of giving and recognizing the privileges we have, aren’t emphasized as a part of Thanksgiving, instead they are just lumped into Christmas. Because of this, we forget the importance of Thanksgiving and how it highlights being thankful for all that you have. It always seems to me like that feeling is what readies us for Christmas. Without that reminder of our privilege, the meaning of Christmas is somewhat lost.

A positive aspect of Christmas starting earlier is spiked dopamine levels. I was talking to my mom, who’s an Internal Medicine Hospitalist, and she was telling me about an increase in certain psychiatric issues during Christmas. Her and her colleagues have rendered it the “Christmas Effect”.

I decided to look further into this so called “Christmas Effect”. I found a study by Duke University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry which observed seasonal patterns in visits preceding holidays. Substance abusers were more likely to visit the ED during the weeks surrounding Christmas. These results back up the existence of a “Christmas Effect” on patients with psychiatric symptoms.

In theory, the longer the holiday season is, the more of a hold the “Christmas Effect” will have on people in the long run. Christmas shouldn’t be celebrated before Thanksgiving because of the increase of these psychiatric disorders as one of the effects of it. Sure, depression rates decrease during the holiday season, but to me, it doesn’t seem like much of a win when multiple other psychiatric diseases’ rates are shown to be increased.

Overall, I definitely don’t have a problem with all the Christmas cheer, but I don’t think it should start before Thanksgiving.

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Holiday Decorating: When is it Simply Too Early?