Can Putting Up Holiday Decorations Make You Happier?

16November 2021

STILLWATER (WCCO) – If the winter blues got you feeling down, getting into the holiday spirit could be the remedy.

From the bright lights to the bright colors, we wanted to know: Can putting up holiday decorations make you happy? Good Question.

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Tucked in along the main drag in Stillwater is a colorful collection of what makes this time of year special. The store is called Käthe Wohlfahrt, featuring hand crafted Christmas decorations from Germany.

Customer Kathy Nelson used to live in Germany and would visit the original Käthe Wohlfahrt store.

“It just brings back a lot of memories and want to pass it on to our children and grandchildren,” she said.

That nostalgic feeling is one way psychologists say putting up Christmas decorations can create happiness.

Many have fond memories of the holiday season going back to childhood.

Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown said that ornaments you’ve owned for years can create a link to joyous times.

“I think a lot of people come in here and say oh my gosh, my mom had something just like this I love it, I really want to have this to remember my mom,” said Katherin McGurran, assistant store manager.

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McKeown added that putting up decorations early and often can also be a way to compensate for experiencing disappointment during the holidays.

It can also create a welcoming image to strangers.

Research from the Journal of Environmental psychology finds people who decorate earlier, especially on the exterior of their homes, tend to be happier.

Bright lights and displays were found to communicate friendliness and help homeowners better connect with neighbors.

McGurran joked that it’s tough to be in a bad mood while working inside Käthe Wohlfahrt. The bright colors and lighting might be the trick.

They impact the brain through chromotherapy, or color therapy, which can affect a person’s mood and energy.

All of these factors can blend together into a feeling felt from Christmas into the new year.

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