We’re quick to judge those who put their Christmas trees and paper snowflakes up the day they throw their pumpkins away, but it turns out that they’re just more nostalgic and in touch with their inner children.
The Scrooges of our society who groan at the sight of tinsel, even on Christmas day, aren’t as happy as those who get excited for the festive period super early.
We spoke to some experts of the mind on what the psychological reasoning is behind early Christmas decorating and premature festive fun.
Steve McKeown, Psychoanalyst, founder of MindFixers and owner of The McKeown Clinic, told:
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.
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!
As well as the positive Christmas vibes and inner childishness that goes along with this controversial habit, it can be sign of over-compensating for past disappointment in the holidays.
As well as decorations being a pathway back to childhood, they can act as a sort of festive olive branch to outsiders and neighbours.
Evidence from the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows how decorations are used as ‘cues as a way of communicating their accessibility to neighbors’.
Participants were shows houses that were covered in decorations and those that weren’t to assess their sociability. It turned out that those with decorations were deemed more ‘friendly and cohesive’.
So maybe people who put decorations up early are just trying to look friendly.
Amy Morin, psychotherapist and best-selling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, said:
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.
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.
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.
There are of course a lot darker reasons for why people become obsessed with Christmas and spend time on excessive decoration, like if you have connected that time of year with a loved one who can no longer see, or as a form of escapism.
So leave the premature pad primers alone!