Some Christmas super fans start decorating before Halloween. Others start the day after. The staunch Thanksgiving supporters are firmly in the “no Christmas decorations go up until after Thanksgiving” camp.
My own family is very divided on the issue, so if you want to know where yours stands, now is the time to ask.
Why you should put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving
I’m firmly in the put Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving group. It’s so much work to get it all out, so why not have it up a little longer? It makes the holiday season feel like it lasts longer.
My older sister and I are the only ones in my immediate family who think it should definitely go up before Thanksgiving.
- “Definitely put them up before. Then you can enjoy them during all of the Christmas season,” Ashley Llewellyn, my older sister, said.
- “I don’t care, but it should be close to Thanksgiving and not right after Halloween,” Todd Llewellyn, my brother-in-law, said.
Putting up Christmas decor earlier and earlier appears to be the trend in modern times.
“People are getting excited [for Christmas] earlier and earlier,” Etsy’s trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson told MarthaStewart.com. “And we shouldn’t hold back anyone’s excitement for the holiday time because it’s a moment to celebrate friends and family, and spend quality time together.”
One reason Woman’s Day writer Yvette Manes argues for putting up her Christmas tree early is she believes it helps combat seasonal sadness once the days get darker at the end of Daylight Savings Time.
“It hurts less to get home from work after sunset when the house is lit up by twinkle lights,” Manes wrote.
Why you should wait until after Thanksgiving for Christmas decorations
My dad, mom, brother-in-law and younger sister say Thanksgiving deserves its time to shine.
- “You can’t celebrate Thanksgiving,” Scott Gambles, my dad, said.
- “I like to just focus on Thanksgiving first,” Mary Gambles, my mom, said.
- “I think you should give time for every holiday,” Cassie Gambles, my younger sister, said.
YouGov surveyed 3,000 adults who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, and found that 24% of those surveyed decorate before Thanksgiving, 25% put decorations up the day after Thanksgiving and 24% put them up in the days following Thanksgiving.
Tradition says you should technically wait until the first day of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas, to decorate.
What studies say about celebrating Christmas
Regardless of when you think the decorations should go up, one study by The BMJ says that celebrating Christmas has “a significantly higher activation in a people who celebrate Christmas with positive associations.”
Another study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology says people shown photos of a highly decorated home viewed the people who lived there as “more open,” “friendly” and “lived in.”
Marriage and family therapist Cynthia Cerrato told LA Times that she finds decorating for Christmas soothing and peaceful.
“For me, it’s very nostalgic. And it is very much a connection to my childhood,” she told LA Times. “We associate certain smells with certain past time … [for example,] the smell of cinnamon is something that is very soothing for me.”