It looks like we finally know why Filipinos seem to be obsessed with putting up Christmas decorations at the earliest possible chance (and leaving them until the last minute). It’s simple enough, really: Christmas decorations tend to make people happier. And it’s not just an unfounded assumption, this is an idea that different psychology experts stand by and have the data to prove.
According to Steve McKeown (psychoanalyst, founder of MindFixers and owner of The McKeown Clinic), the happiness that Christmas decorations generate generally stems from the nostalgia they bring.
He explains: “Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly 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,” McKeown continues.
To complete the thought he says, “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!”
Psychotherapist and best-selling author Amy Morin agrees with this sentiment, too. She shares: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”
However, she caveats that the emotions the decorations evoke may not be purely happy if dependent on nostalgia. “It may be a bittersweet feeling. Perhaps the holidays serve as a reminder of when a loved one was still alive. Or maybe looking at a Christmas tree reminds someone of what life was like when they still believed in Santa,” she explains.
Morin continues: “For people who have lost a loved one, the holidays may serve as a reminder of happy times they had with that person in the past. Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”
The Journal or Environmental Psychology also adds to the idea of increased happiness through putting up Christmas decorations. It offered evidence showing that those with residences decked out in holiday spirits were comparably more sociable to those whose houses were not. This means individuals who indulged in decorations were taken to be friendlier, nicer, and generally more satisfied. However, the study did not conclude a definite reason for such.
Although considering the Philippines’ wildly festive celebration of Christmas every year, did this even come as a surprise to anyone? After all, we wouldn’t leave up decorations for nearly 5 months (depending on how Christmas-crazy your family is) if it didn’t benefit us in some way!
Do you think its true that Christmas decorations make people happier?