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Holiday Decorating Is Good for the Soul

Festive lights might actually lighten your heart.

Is it too early to be prepping for the Christmas holidays? Does your family wait until mid-December – or at least the first of December – before hauling out the angels, snowmen, reindeer, or wreaths and candles? Some families can barely get Thanksgiving dinner dishes washed before they’re piling in the car to start the madness of holiday gift-buying and tree trimming.

The beauty of holiday decorating, though, is that your way – no matter what it is – is the right way for you and your traditions. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong in this world of individuality and the search for joy and peace and inner well-being?

The Holiday Season isn’t Happy for Everyone

Although the holiday carols and twinkling lights are showing up across the landscape, the urge to deck the halls is supplanted by the need to clear the decks for many people who are grieving a loss or dealing with more than the usual share of hard luck at the holidays.

Holiday images and television commercials are typically built on the assumption that each of us has a close-knit extended family that numbers half the size of the Chicagoland population. While reproductive truths indicate that each of us do, indeed, have extended families that stretch back generations, not all of us have a boatload of relatives we’ll be gathering with during the dark days of winter. As fewer children are born, smaller families are made. Spending time alone, due to circumstance or choice, seems never more acutely tragic than when it’s advertised as the antithesis of what someone “should” be doing at a given time.

Celebrating Early, though, Isn’t Such a Bad Idea

I read a recent study that indicated that putting up holiday decorations can positively affect a person’s mood. Not only that, results noted that people who decorate the exterior of their homes were seen as more approachable and friendly by their neighbors. So if you’re feeling a bit lonesome and longing to share a little holiday cheer with others – whether it’s other solitary souls or neighborhood families – why not hang a sprig of holly and a big red bow on your door. When you roll out the welcome mat or leave on a light, folks feel a lot more comfortable just stopping by.

Maybe it’s time I head outside and drape a strand or two of twinkling lights across my own front yard.