Health benefits of decorating for the holidays

Published 2:23 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

By Kody Kiser

University of Kentucky

Most of us have been involved in conversations with friends, family, co-workers and more regarding holiday decorations, and the pros and cons of those “early birds” out there who start hanging lights the day after Halloween. Or perhaps we’ve silently evaluated our neighbors on the quality or volume of their outdoor decorations (and how many inflatables they have in their yard).

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Some of you listening may bristle at the idea of holiday decorations in general, especially if you’ve had a personal encounter with what you feel are “over-the-top” decorators.

It turns out, though, that there may be more going on under the surface than just an over-zealous observer of the holidays, and decorations around the home could be beneficial for a person’s mental and emotional health.

On this episode of “Behind the Blue,” Shannon Sauer-Zavala, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky, discusses the psychological benefits of holiday decorations. She explains that living in accordance with our values and cultural traditions can increase positive emotions and life fulfillment.

Decorating for the holidays can bring joy and enhance the holiday spirit. Savoring the holiday experience and being mindful of the present moment can also contribute to emotional well-being. Additionally, decorations can create a sense of community and belonging. It is important to acknowledge that the holidays can be challenging for some individuals, and seeking mental health support is encouraged.