The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Christmas decorating should begin as early as possible

As the Halloween season comes to a close, many are taking their final strolls through corn mazes and craving their last pumpkins. People of all ages gather their costumes as they prepare for their night of trick-or-treating and Halloween festivities. This inevitably brings the yearly debate of when the right time is to start Christmas decorating. Many are beginning to decorate earlier as the years go on because it prolongs the life of the holiday season and brings a neurological shift in our brains that causes a wave of nostalgia and dopamine.

Many researchers and health professionals vouch that putting up Christmas decorations early has a positive effect on our mental health. Having rituals is a very crucial part of mental health and ensures our brain a sense of control. Many view Christmas decorating as a ritual, which gives the mind a sense of control in order to have some normalcy in our lives. Vineeth John, professor of psychiatry at UTHealth, supports the claim that decorating early is a way to try and reclaim traditions and rituals that offer us a confluence of memories, identity, connection, and family.

In the study conducted by the British Medical Journal, researchers used fMRI data to detect Christmas spirit in the human brain. They used an fMRI rather than an MRI because an fMRI looks at the functions of the brain rather than the tissue and organs that an MRI examines. They gave each participant a Q&A asking if they celebrate Christmas and for how long they have celebrated it. Then performed an fMRI to detect activity in the different cortexes of the brain. The study found that when the participants were shown pictures associated with Christmas, it sparked bold activity in the brain’s frontal premotor cortex, primary motor cortex, and parietal lobule. The frontal premotor cortex is responsible for emotions. When shown the pictures, the brain produced joyful and pleasant emotions, resulting in a “Christmas Spirit Network” in the human brain. It can be now seen that putting up your decorations early prolongs the positive emotions in our brains that trigger nostalgia and happiness.

The goal of the holiday season is to bring people together and this debate should not negate that. At the end of the day, it is up to the individual when they decide to decorate their house with winter decorations. That being said, science does back up the idea that putting up your decor early prolongs the holiday season, boosts feelings of nostalgia and joy, and maintains the need for control in our lives.

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