If you haven’t already started decorating for Christmas, get to it. People who decorate for the holidays are happier and appear friendlier to their neighbors, according to research listed in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
The study is based on previous and present research where participants were asked to rate the friendliness of strangers based on pictures of their houses.
The homeowners self-reported their sociability by rating their social contact with neighbors as low or high. Homes that were decorated with twinkling lights and bows, even if the people who lived there were not social, were rated high because the houses appeared more “lived in” and “open.” Undecorated homes were given low sociability scores.
“As expected, a main effect for the decorated factor indicated that raters used Christmas decorations as a cue that the residents were friendly and cohesive. Decoration interacted with sociability in a complex but interpretable way,” researchers wrote.
The results highlighted the social impact of Christmas decorations and how they’re used to communicate with neighbors. Researchers also suggested that decorating your home’s exterior for the holidays could be a way to participate in social activities and gatherings in the neighborhood.