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‘Coronavirus can’t take away the magic’: Christmas comes early as people put up decorations in November to spread joy

With 2020 proving a difficult year for many, Sarah Young speaks to people who are putting up the Christmas tree already (yes, in November...)

Tuesday 10 November 2020 16:07 GMT
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Tradition dictates that the Christmas tree and other decorations should be put up on the first day of Advent, which this year falls on Sunday 1 December, meaning it also works in favour of those who see the start of the last calendar month as the perfect time to begin the festivities.

Meanwhile, others believe they should go up 12 days before Christmas, then there are those who leave it until Christmas Eve and Americans might argue that the holiday season can only begin once Thanksgiving has ended.

This year, however, there are no rules. As people try to bring some much-needed joy to their lives amid the coronavirus pandemic, Christmas decorations have started to appear in homes across the country. With Halloween over and done with, the age-old debate about when to deck the halls has begun in earnest, fueled by a general malaise with 2020.

Queer Eye star Tan France put his Christmas tree up on 1 November as part of a 10-year Halloween tradition. "Haters back off!” he wrote in the caption of an image shared to Instagram featuring a festive fir that spanned from floor to ceiling.

Mad Men star January Jones also told her Instagram followers to “judge away” as she began putting up Christmas decor the day after Halloween, while on 10 November Dame Joan Collins shared a photo of herself holding a glass of champagne next to a Christmas tree, writing: “So what else should one do during #lockdown in #november?”

Elsewhere, 675,000 people tuned in to watch the virtual Christmas window unveiling of Fenwicks’ Newcastle store, which typically only draws a small crowd.

But, it’s not just celebrities and brands that are embracing the festive season earlier than usual, as social media is awash with photos of people sharing their homes decked with twinkling lights.

Elle Darby, a 24-year-old content creator from Bath, chose to dust off her decorations a few weeks earlier than usual, putting them out on 2 November –  the day after Boris Johnson announced England would be entering its second national lockdown.

While she says she has always been an “early bird” when it comes to Christmas, Elle decided to bring the festivities forward so she could enjoy them for a full two months after what has been a tough year.

“To me, there’s nothing quite like coming downstairs the morning after putting your Christmas decorations out and having that first flurry of Christmas magic as you know the big day draws nearer,” she explains.

“I know to some it might sound silly, but having my decorations out and knowing that the coronavirus can’t take away the magic I feel around Christmas time makes me feel so happy and joyous after such a depressing year.

“I would encourage anyone who’s feeling a bit deflated to just get their tree up, light their favourite Christmas candle and start a Harry Potter marathon with their favourite snacks to accompany them. I promise it will put a smile on your face.”

Similarly, Danielle, 30 from Hertfordshire decided to put up her Christmas tree up on 10 November in a bid to lift her family’s spirits during lockdown. “After the year we’ve had I decided to get the Christmas decorations up early to get into good spirits,” she says. “My two-year-old twins absolutely love it and are excited about something again after being stuck indoors more often than not and it’s just lifted all our moods.

“Cosy days in, Christmas films, music and food has given us something to enjoy again.”

Chantelle, 26 from Worcestershire, agrees, adding that putting her tree up “a tad early” has helped to improve her mood. “Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I know it’s early but after the year we have all had why not make Christmas last two months instead of one,” she says. 

“Doing it has made me feel festive and had lifted my mood by 100 times. I’ve been working from home since March so a change in scenery was needed and it’s made me feel a lot happier in my environment.”

While some may argue that “it’s too soon” to be getting the decorations out, there is some truth behind the much-attested positive impact that doing so can have on your mental health.

According to psychoanalyst Steve McKeown people turn to Christmas decorations during times of stress and anxiety because they evoke those strong feelings of childhood.

“Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extends the excitement,” he previously told UniLad.

Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, agrees, telling Yahoo! that Christmas activities, like decorating the house or the tree, can provide a temporary break from the reality of what’s happening in the world right now.

“This year’s been hard on all of us, and news of another lockdown, with further disappointments and cancelled plans, is likely to have brought up all kinds of difficult thoughts and feelings,” she explains.

“Planning enjoyable events and activities is a psychological strategy that can help build our capacity to cope with daily life. So in this sense, it makes sense that people might be doing these things a little earlier this year.”

So whether you’ve putting your decorations up already, or will wait till 24 December, we can all agree that we're in need of some positivity to end the year. With questions still hanging over whether people will be able to see friends and family on Christmas Day, and Boris Johnson yet to give an answer, enjoying the season while we can is something we should all aspire to do.

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