Decorating your house for Christmas can boost your happiness

With less than two months to go before Christmas, bringing out the boughs of holly now -- even as you're putting Halloween decorations away -- may make you a happier person, experts say."For most people, decorating for Christmas reminds us of the best times in our lives," said Amy Morin, a Florida-based psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

"Thinking of those happy memories stirs up happy feelings."Part of the joy that can come from decorating for Christmas comes from nostalgia, which has been shown in studies to stir emotions and increase joy, according to Morin."When you're putting up decorations, you're thinking of happier times, times with family and friends and family traditions you engaged in," she said. 

"For some people it’s bittersweet -- if family members are no longer here -- but it's still a way to connect."Another aspect of Christmas joy comes from the tradition of giving during the holiday season, explains Morin."Altruism increases in the month of December and as people start to give more and donate more, it makes them happy," she said. 

"It makes people feel good so they want to start celebrating as early as possible."At least one study has also shown that decorating the outside of your home for Christmas can make you appear more welcoming and sociable."[Decorations] can lead to more positive conversations and they're an easy way to strike up a conversation," said Morin. Linda Baker, an interior designer and the owner of Baker Design Group, knows that well. She spends much of her year focused on Christmas, planning holiday designs for her firm's commercial and residential clients.Clients now more than ever are requesting that decorations be put up earlier -- even before Thanksgiving -- and taken down later in January, she explains.

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