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A light in the darkness: The connection between Christmas lights and coronavirus

Hoping to spread cheer during a pandemic, people across the nation are putting Christmas back up

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Christmas lights installed by the Utah company Brite Nites light up a home in the Salt Lake foothills on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.

Christmas lights installed by the Utah company Brite Nites light up a home in the Salt Lake foothills on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

As the COVID-19 virus has now made its way into every state in the U.S., people across the nation are spending a lot of time in their homes — and the social distancing is beginning to take its toll on people mentally, CNN reports.

To spread some cheer during this bleak time, people are putting their Christmas lights back up — or just turning their back on them if they haven’t gotten around to taking them down yet. It all started with a tweet from Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Lane Grindle.

“What if we all put our Christmas lights back up? Then we could get in the car and drive around and look at them,” Grindle tweeted. “That seems like a fair social distancing activity.”

People across the nation immediately responded.

There’s a physiological reason Christmas lights spread cheer, according to Today.

“It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness,” psychologist Deborah Serani told Today, adding that the brightness and colors of Christmas decorations have been shown to increase dopamine production, which can give people energy and make them feel happier.

Putting the lights back up can also help people maintain a sense of normalcy and feel united with their local community, according to Time magazine.