Put Up Your Decorations Today!

Many Americans plan to spend Thanksgiving alone. It makes sense. COVID-19 has killed over a quarter of a million people here in the U.S. For people with medical concerns, older people and others at high risk, the virus is especially scary. Some folks, like those in health care or in the service industry, are more likely to have it and pass it along without knowing.

It’s not easy to be grateful when we’re separate from our loved ones. We miss each other. We have had to skip practically every major holiday, cancel most plans and stay away from our families for eight months. While we’re grateful for many things, it’s hard to focus on that gratitude when there is so much sadness as well. It’s okay to not feel as happy as most years, and it’s okay to admit to not being in the holiday spirit. Forcing yourself to feel gratitude won’t help you.

Instead, you might want to create joy for yourself. That is why we’re suggesting putting up your holiday decorations tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day. If you don’t have guests, why wait? Holiday decorations can make your home bright and bring happiness. Not only can the change make you happy because of the reminder of the merry season, but the colors can actually lower stress and anxiety levels.

Back in March, people put up holiday lights to lift spirits. It was nice. But when the pandemic didn’t end, and weeks of social distancing became months, people took down the lights. Now it’s time to put them back up and find the joy again. We probably won’t be together for the winter holidays, just as we weren’t together for the summer or fall ones. But we can enjoy the decorations and our traditions at least in small ways. Skip the turkey and go right to the carols and garland instead!

Everything is different this year. If we cannot have company, we can have the “sparkle.” Take joy where you find it this year. While you might have a hard time feeling grateful about things from this year, seeing old decorations might remind you of happy memories that you’re thankful for!

Having a future orientation is actually really important to mental health, well-being and moral… What’s critical is our mindset, I think that if we can view the holidays as an opportunity to try new things and new traditions, instead of something being taken away from us, then I think that mindset will set us up for success,” said psychologist Vaile Wright. “Maybe putting up your holiday decorations early becomes a new tradition because it brings joy to your home.”

Instead of focusing on your empty table, or the missing traditions, consider putting on the Bing Crosby and decorating the mantel. Skip the thankfulness and move on to feeling jolly. A reprieve from Thanksgiving might make you feel happy, relieved and grateful!

Banner image: Andrew Coop via Unsplash
November 25, 2020

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