Could Decorating for the Holidays Be Good for Your Health?

hand reaching out to hang an ornament on a tree
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It goes without saying that 2020 has been a trying year for everyone. I think we could all use a reason to feel joyful–even hopeful–right about now.

While health experts and politicians alike are cracking down on family gatherings this year, there’s one part about the holidays that we can embrace. In fact, it might actually be good for your health to start decorating now!

Almost every culture around the globe celebrates some kind of festival in November or December. Many of those celebrations include lights, seasonal decorations, and feasting. No matter how you celebrate the closing weeks of the year–whether it’s Diwali or Hanukkah, Christmas or Yule–go ahead and deck the halls. Scientists say that it’s good for you.

Decorating Boosts Dopamine

Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UK outlet Unilad: In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.”

20th Century Fox via GIPHY

Decorating for the holidays can trigger dopamine to be released in your brain, making you feel good. Go ahead and put up your lights! Seeing neighbors getting into the festive spirit can boost everyone else’s mood, too. Think of decorating as a public service, a sign that we’re all in this together.

According to anecdotal data from the LA Times, holiday decorations have been flying off the shelves this year. Considering that many of us won’t be traveling to visit loved ones or hosting family get-togethers, decorating is one of the few things we can do to celebrate. We’re also more likely to be spending a lot of time indoors in our homes this winter, so decorations can help us feeling cozy and cheerful–or as cozy and cheerful as possible–all season long.

Holiday Decor Trends for 2020

Want some ideas for how to deck the halls this year? Industry trends point to going for bright colors, natural materials, handmade or upcycled decorations, and lavish front doors.

Lights are a hallmark of holiday celebrations every year, but for 2020, the watchword is more. Be as liberal as possible with the string lights, electric candles, and lanterns.

Hallmark Channel via GIPHY

Another trend for 2020? Natural materials. Bringing nature indoors in the form of real evergreen wreaths, pine cones, and mistletoe can help boost your mood. Just keep in mind that some of those plants can be poison or fire hazards.

While eco-friendly “green” holidays have been trending for a while, it’s even more important than ever to use what you have whenever possible. If you don’t have a stock of holiday decor already, get creative with materials you already have on hand. The DIY farmhouse look is still chic this year, or you could experiment with a retro look using vintage thrifted items.

If you don’t have the budget–or the energy–to go big this year, then focus on the front door. Creating a festive entryway will make you happy every time you see it, and it’s a good way to maximize your decorating dollars since it’s such a small area.

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