No one claims that Christmas decorations are high art but it appears that they too have their role in enhancing the positive benefits of Christmas. Dr Neil Jeyasingam has some good news about the tinsel, trees and lights that appear throughout the community. He notes that psychoanalyst McKeown reports that those who put up decorations earlier appear to be happier while a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology understands decorations as social cues which convey messages about the sociability of the home owner and in doing so improve social cohesion.
Add to that gifts and a tip for successful gift giving. A paper in the Journal of Consumer Psychology reports on four studies which show that recipients are particularly grateful when the gift received matches the giver and references core characteristics of that person. Presents which contain reference to that person’s characteristics are perceived as more congruent with their identity. So, while we may thing long and hard about what the other may like it seems that the most valued gifts are ones that give a bit of ourselves.
Paolacci,G., Straeter,L., and Hooge,I (2015) Give me your self: Gifts are liked more when they match the giver’s characteristics Journal of Consumer Psychology Vol 25,3 p487-494