As soon as Halloween comes to a close and November hits, an age-old debate resurfaces: when is the right time to decorate for the holidays? To me, the answer is clear. While some are hesitant to decorate for the holidays months in advance, I strongly believe that it’s never too early to get in the holiday spirit and adorn your home with festive decorations. If you’re wondering when to put up the Christmas tree in 2023, allow me to persuade you that it’s sooner than you may think.
Listen, I get it: as retailers stock their shelves with Christmas decor as early as August, it’s tempting to rebel against the culture of materialism and overconsumption that is pushed upon us during the holiday season. Especially for those struggling with difficult financial situations, this time of year can feel incredibly overwhelming. If you’re one of the people guilty of grimacing as they walk past a home with twinkling lights and a tree in the window, give me a chance to change your mind.
When to Put Up the Christmas Tree in 2023
Although some feel hesitant to assemble their holiday decor any earlier than the day after Thanksgiving, I assure you that it is totally acceptable and even encouraged to put up the Christmas tree as early as November 1. Of course, the decision is yours as to when it feels right to decorate your home for the holidays, but if you’re wanting to embrace the holiday season for as long as possible, I encourage you to do so.
Holiday decorations are used to establish a sense of community. In a 1989 study performed by the Journal of Environmental Psychology, researchers found that people interpreted Christmas decorations on a home as a cue that the residents were sociable, friendly, and cohesive. Although this study was conducted 34 years ago (!!), its sentiment still rings true. From local tree lightings to festive skating rinks, holiday decorations and events invite people of all backgrounds to come together and experience a collective feeling of joy.
According to psychologist Deborah Serani, holiday decorations are shown to boost your mood by changing your routine environment. “It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness,” she told TODAY in November of 2017. “I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out … signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it’s pleasing or not.”
Routines can become quite mundane. When working a 9 to 5 job, it’s easy to feel like Phil Connors from Groundhog Day, as days, weeks, and months pass you by in the blink of an eye without much semblance of newness or change. Holiday festivities can pull you out of this rut, therefore forcing you to be more present and live in the moment. Why not embrace this feeling for as long as you can?
For me, holiday decorations bring forth a strong feeling of nostalgia, as I reflect on my many years of Christmas celebrations with my family, welcoming the child-like wonder of the season. This seems to be a common sentiment. “For a lot of us, Christmas is a magical time, it’s a time of innocence, it’s a time of joy,” Serani told TODAY. “Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.” Even if you’ve never celebrated the holiday season or associate this time of year with a negative memory or feeling, I see you, and I invite you to form new traditions, which will help you to connect this time of year to positive new memories.
Most importantly, end-of-year celebrations are an opportunity to spend quality time with family. No matter the physical distance between one another, holiday celebrations are the perfect excuse to get together with the people that you love most. Hanging up holiday lights and adorning a fir tree with family mementos alongside my parents and younger sister is one of my favorite childhood memories, and I cherish that feeling of love and connection to my family when decorating together each year.
Those of us who put up our holiday decorations early are purely embracing the joy of being present, spending time with family, and celebrating our childhood nostalgia for as long as possible. So, instead of being a grinch this holiday season, let me put up my tree in peace.