From Scary to Merry

You take in that bowl of Halloween candy from the front door. You pack up the ghosts and goblins, and tear down the strategically placed gauzy cobwebs from corners and doorways. Now the question is, do you put up Santa Clauses and snowmen in their places?

I’ve been known to go a little Christmas-crazy. If I could put up a full-sized tree in my two-person dorm room, you better believe that I would. I love to decorate and make everything feel wintery and festive. However, I am a firm believer that the festivities should begin after Thanksgiving. Fall is still in full swing, and Turkey Day deserves its due diligence. I will switch over to the Christmas radio station and start putting up lights on November 29th, but not a moment sooner.

People who decorate stand on both sides of the line. Some can’t wait to deck the halls the moment spooky season ends, while others cringe at the smell of evergreen before December 1st. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and deserves to make the choices that suit them best.

That being said, recent reports reveal that people who begin decorating for Christmas earlier are actually happier! Psychotherapist Amy Morton says that, “for most people, decorating for Christmas reminds us of the best times in our lives.” Furthermore, seeing decorations around the house for a longer period of time only works to prolong the happiness you feel. 

The holidays can often be stressful, especially for college students. As the permacloud officially descends over South Bend and temperatures drop, morale bottoms out. We encounter the crushing weight of the end of a semester, causing a fervent desperation for time to pass and the month of December to be over with. I can remember feeling disappointed after wishing to be home and done with finals so much that I wasted the entire pre-Christmas season away. 

Maybe the trick can be found in all of the recent reports. Maybe I should give up my staunch devotion to acknowledging Christmas only after I have seen Santa cross Time Square to finish out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

I felt like decorating for Christmas so early only rushed things along—I felt like it was important to enjoy and appreciate the present rather than waiting for the next exciting event. I’m finally starting to see that decorating early for Christmas is not about wishing away all the time in between. Instead, I see this marked degree of happiness as a prolonging of joy. We don’t have to limit our holiday cheer to only 25 days. 

So, as you face the inevitable stress of the upcoming weeks, maybe try hanging a string of lights or cutting out some paper snowflakes. Sit down with a mug of hot chocolate and decorate a gingerbread house like you used to. Also, know that we don’t have to physically put up decorations to think back to fond memories that make us feel warm inside. The holiday season brings a lot of happiness to people everywhere, and there are so many different ways that we can remember, celebrate and enjoy these warm feelings—you can even start today. 

 

Photo 1, Photo 2