The sounds of jingle bells, scents of Christmas spice and colours of red and gold start to come out just after the trick-or-treaters head home and midnight strikes on Nov. 1. Even though some of my co-workers, classmates or the guy sitting next to me on the subway might mutter “Oh my, little early isn’t it?,” I truly don’t think it is.
I’ll admit, in the past my family has handed out candy to little Cinderellas and Buzz Lightyears who would stare inside our home with pure confusion, seeing the early stages of our Christmas tree being set up. Starting the celebrations on the night of Oct. 31 gave us maximum time to enjoy the decorations and embrace the Christmas season.
We never knew why we liked it so much, but it turns out, the earlier we give in to the Christmas spirit, the happier we are.
In August, the Daily Mail released a study conducted by the scientific journal Nature Communications, indicating that those who bring out the Christmas decorations and perform acts of generosity early, live the happiest lives.
Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD that the psychological reasoning behind this is the desire for people to find an “anchor or pathway” to their childhood. This serves as a way to satisfy neglect or relish in excitement during a time of stress or anxiety.
TODAY spoke with psychologist Deborah Serani, who explained that decorating for Christmas increases our dopamine levels because it’s a change in our habitual patterns. This new, exciting time neurologically shifts our focus, breaks our daily habits and pleasures our senses. Decorations also demonstrate a level of openness and cohesiveness amongst neighbours, according to a study by the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Does that mean walking around with a red Starbucks cup in your hand will give the same effect? Actually, yes.
The release of Starbucks’ red cups send everyone into a frenzy each year. However, that is almost out of our control. Colour psychologist Angela Wright addressed the reason for the craze in Stylist, saying the specific shade of red used in the cups “stimulates (us) physically, raising our pulse rate and blood pressure.” Different types of red can elicit anger or aggression, whereas Starbucks chose a “not too lurid” shade in order to attain a physical response.
Surely, Christmas can bring a variety of emotions for some. If you’re a student, exam season takes over around the holidays, and anyone working retail knows how exhausting December shoppers can be.
Serani suggests starting a new tradition if you’re still lacking the Christmas spirit. Subconsciously linking a good memory with a specific time of year creates that level of excitement Christmas lovers exert every holiday season.
Try taking a break from studying, immerse yourself in a peppermint hot chocolate and turn on some Christmas music this November. It’s never too early to make yourself a little bit happier.