The Perks Of Early Christmas Decoration

It is early October and I’ve been walking around with this unexplainable itch. While the weather in Sydney has begun its rapid increase in temperature, the cicadas have almost shaken off the dust of their wings and the grass mowers make over hours, I felt there was something fundamental missing. During dinner, Tim casually asked me: “Elise, have you already begun playing Christmas songs?” And then it hit me! NO! I HAVEN’T! Now I knew. This persistent yearning in my chest could only be fulfilled with the early joy of Christmas music and decoration.

Although most people seem to not particularly enjoy decorating too early before the holiday -for reasons completely unknown to me, I’ve always tried my best to ignore those traditions. Annoying people with my premature Christmas cheer has almost become a sport, where ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ cannot be played too loudly. Nor can the Christmas tree reappear from the attic soon enough.

And why shouldn’t I be allowed to enjoy Christmas months before the holiday starts? According to science, it is those Grinches who miss out on the real fun. Unilad U.K. spoke with Steve McKeown, psychoanalyst, who said that putting up Christmas decorations early is commonly done for nostalgic reasons. By reliving the magic and associating Christmas to happy things, people deal with anxiety and stress in a way that they remember the happy memories of their childhood. Starting the Christmas cheer early, the happiness starts earlier!

Besides reminiscing about the good old days, Christmas decoration has another function that aids in your happiness. Psychologist Deborah Serani told the TODAY home that the brightness and colourfulness of the Christmas lights might be the reason why we feel happy during the holidays. Since chromotherapy, therapy with light, is used to trigger positive moods, those little lights in the Christmas tree might have a perky influence on your mood in a similar way.  Similarly, the cosy ambience might add to the cheerfulness.

In addition, your seemingly childish behaviour might actually mean that you’re in touch with your inner child and aware of who you are as a person, according to psychotherapist Amy Morin, writer of the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Decorating early “helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity.”

So, don’t be shy to express your deep affection for Christmas a month or two earlier than expected! Get that cute inflatable reindeer, start planning your abundant Christmas dinner and most of all, get excited, for Christmas is only (almost) 2 months away!

The Elephant​ in the Room

Just now I watched the winner of short films, Rat Race by Steve Cutts. The rats, who are obviously symbolizing humans, go through a stressful city life where they’re looking for happiness, whilst continuously being crushed by masses of bodies and intrusive advertisements. It is clear from the moment you start watching the film, it is going to be about how every individual in the current society searches for happiness. The rat that is being followed in particular is trying to find happiness in all sorts of ways, such as purchasing expensive cars, drinking and taking medication. All fails, when he’s being trapped trying to catch a 100 dollar bill; doomed to an unhappy nine-to-five job.

A few days before, I watched a program on television where several famous folk gave their unsalted opinion on social media and its current ‘negative effects’. “Social media is disconnecting us from our true friends; we feel lonelier than ever,” said one artistic looking man who’s a singer-songwriter. “Depression and negative self-views are more common than before,” said another one. “Society is failing to make us happy,” is what they were trying to say.

Both examples are a way of criticizing society. Social media is dividing us. Education is not preparing us for ‘the real world’. How often do we hear similar phrases. It’s not something new, yet it keeps being said without any noticeable changes or probable solutions to the issue at hand.

If I’ve learned anything from art in high school is that everything needs an opposing view. Picasso, who in his younger years painted very naturalistically, later in life opposed to the realistic style of the Renaissance by creating the cubism movement. In addition, realism was a reaction to the extravagant style of romanticism. Similarly, it is necessary that there are people speaking against the current society, social media and education as a form of counter-balance.

However, the arguments are starting the become repetitive and hollow. Spreading negativity about the way we’re living is not going to increase our happiness (if there’s unhappiness at all). As a psychology graduate, I am aware of the large numbers of depression in the world, and although I am very much encouraging the increased awareness of this illness, I feel there can be too much of an emphasis on unhappiness.

There is a need for positivity, contentedness and gratefulness. The world is not all sorrow, hostility and conflict. You’d be surprised how happy you can be (or already are) by having the right mindset. By being content with your day to day activities and accomplishments. If I’ve had a tough day, I always try to make a list in my head where I write down at least 10 things that happened that day I feel happy or grateful for. After a while, it becomes a habit and helps you perceive the world in a much sunnier light.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions – Dalai Lama

When you stop thinking about yourself as an uninfluential gear in a massive factory, but instead believe you have control over your own life and when you try new, exciting things to look forward to and enjoy, you can make yourself find happiness quite easily. Go out into the world, explore, wonder, learn. Emerge yourself into a new culture, lose yourself into a book or a delicious dish. Allow yourself to fail sometimes, though let it not bring you down. Try again. In the end, you will find that there’s so much more to offer in the world that you won’t find any time for negativity and unhappiness.