Did you decorate early for the holidays? Experts say those decorations can boost mental health

Posted at 7:27 AM, Nov 26, 2020

If you started putting up your Christmas decorations a lot earlier than usual, you are not alone.

Most people wait until after Thanksgiving, but Christmas trees and lights have been up in homes for weeks now.

Psychologists say it is our way of coping during the pandemic and a local therapist said decking the halls is good for our mental health.

Dr. Barbara Shabazz said, "It can literally modify our feel-good hormones. And so our body actually creates a neurological shift and this spikes our dopamine, which is our feel-good hormone. So from modest balcony lights to a contracting companies that actually set up whole displays, people are having elaborate neighborhood contests. And so we see many people kind of hopping on this trend."

News 3 Anchor Jessica Larche said she and her husband were going to wait until at least the weekend after Thanksgiving but she found herself even as early as two weeks ago, starting to take out the decorations.

Larche added that even co-morning Anchor Blaine Stewart has had his home decked out for a few weeks.

"We know we do certain rituals every year around the holiday time. Rituals are soothing and especially because we're in a pandemic, that's altered our sense of normalcy. Also, if a loved one has passed, because we've had a lot of grief and loss this year, decorating might actually help people feel connected to that individual that we used to share those happy times with them," Dr. Shabazz said.

Decorating give us something that at least we have a say in and Dr. Shabazz said that is very comforting to people. She said it reduces the level of anxiety that we have because it is a shift in focus on what we can control.