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When should we be decorating for Christmas?


Imagine you’ve just had a long day of Christmas shopping: you get to your car, throw your bags in the trunk, and the sky slowly starts to darken as you drive you begin to see colorful lights lighting up each house. In the vigorous debate over when to start decorating for Christmas, I firmly advocate that November 1st is the acceptable kickoff date. There is a lot of controversy on this topic, but allow me to share my perspective. Embracing the festive spirit early not only extends the joy of the holiday season but also allows ample time to create a winter wonderland that brings warmth and cheer during the colder months. Starting the holiday decorations on November 1st is not just about Christmas anticipation, it is a choice to prolong the sense of joy and celebration. Those who decorate early are able to sit back and watch those who chose to wait until after Thanksgiving scramble around trying to decorate with all the added stress of getting presents in time.

As the winter season approaches, it’s time to consider refreshing those decorations that didn’t survive from last year. Fortunately, several stores kick off their sales as early as October, providing plenty of time for you to replenish your festive supplies before trading in your spider webs for tinsel. The early availability of decorations is a thoughtful initiative by stores, ensuring that we have a head start on the holiday preparations.

Although discussing the cost of holiday decorations might not be the most cheerful topic, it’s worth acknowledging that Americans, on average, spend $264 annually on holiday adornments alone. That doesn’t even acknowledge the cost of having people put them up professionally or the cost of electricity for some of these decorations. Instead of letting that investment go to waste, consider maximizing its value. Put up your decorations early this year and make the most of what you’ve invested – turning your holiday spending into a festive and visually rewarding experience.

[image from Today’s Homeowner Holiday Lights survey]








Decorating for the holidays is also very time-consuming, on average, Americans spend around 4 hours each year putting up decorations for the holidays. If you’re spending that much time putting up decorations, why would you wait for it to get below freezing? Do it earlier in the season while it’s still a bit warmer. In Cincinnati, the average daily high for November this year was 57℉ and the average daily low was 38℉. So far this year, the highest temperature we’ve hit in December was 53℉, in November it was 79℉.

[image from WeatherSpark: December 2023 Weather History in Cincinnati]

Setting up Christmas lights becomes even more enjoyable when there are people to appreciate them. Thanks to daylight savings time, that’s not an issue. On November 5th, 2023, most states in the U.S. turned their clocks back by an hour, leaving us in early darkness. While many, myself included, may not be fond of the shift, there’s a silver lining. As the sun begins to set around 5 o’clock, you begin to see twinkling lights flicker on at each house. It’s undeniable that witnessing these lights brightens and adds warmth to the drive home from work. Daylight savings might have its drawbacks, but the magical glow of Christmas lights certainly helps make the transition a bit more delightful.

Looking at this issue from a traditional standpoint, four Sundays from Christmas is the “correct” time to put up the tree because it is the first day of Advent, which makes sense. On the contrary, that tradition is old and I believe it has become outdated. Most Advent calendars in today’s society begin on the first of December, which is not the traditional start date. Don’t let yourself be stuck in old traditions that have not been changed to fit the newer, more modern dynamic of society. That just goes to show the ever-changing world we live in.

[images from Today’s Homeowner Holiday Lights survey]







The holidays embody a spirit of joy, happiness, and generosity. What better way to spread this joy than adorning our surroundings with colorful lights and festive ornaments? The winter season often brings about a sense of seasonal depression, characterized by slower rhythms, cold weather, and an overall gloomy atmosphere. According to psychology experts, holiday decorations have the power to evoke feelings of joy in some individuals. 

Dr. Krystine Batcho, a psychology professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, notes, “The fact that they can elevate your mood is rather intriguing.” She is an expert in cognitive psychology which involves the study of mental processes. She points out, “Lights, which obviously are associated with joy and bringing back a lot of good memories, is a way of alleviating depression, sadness, feeling down, anxiety, stress.” As an expert of the processes of the brain, she knows that the holidays can bring bad memories or sadness. She also knows that bright lights are a good way to bring nostalgia that can stimulate the part of the brain that makes us feel rewarded.

I, along with my mom and sister, have cherished the tradition of driving through neighborhoods to admire the lights during the winter, and it brings us immense happiness and nostalgia of when we were younger. In the face of the winter blues that can dampen our spirits, consider taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of Christmas lights with your family or friends. This simple act may prove to be a mood lifter, offering a shared experience of warmth and joy. Why wait to spread this uplifting spirit when it can brighten not only your day but also the days of those around you?

Let’s talk statistics. 80% of Americans decorate for Christmas each year. According to Today’s Homeowner Holiday Lights survey, only 10% of Americans decorate in the first week of November. Though that is not majority from an American perspective, as an Ohioan, we primarily decorate in November before Thanksgiving.

Of course there are exceptions to this. Financial restrictions, real trees, whether or not you’ll be home for the holidays, etc. If you get a real tree every year that obviously won’t last from the beginning of November all the way to Christmas. There are some ways to maximize the life of your Christmas tree such as supplying adequate water, using tree preservatives, keeping the tree away from direct heat and cold drafts, keeping the room temperature constant, and pruning dead branches. If you do those things it should help keep your tree alive, maybe even long enough to decorate earlier next year.

Between spreading joy, expenses, weather, and everything else, it is clear to me that early November is the correct time to put up your decorations. I hope that everything we’ve been through together in this article has enlightened you and you will choose to surrender your grinchy ways and celebrate these holidays the way they deserve. But if you choose to continue putting up your Christmas lights late, that is your choice. As wrong as it is, I can’t force you to decorate in November. No matter when you choose to decorate, I hope everyone has happy holidays.

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About the Contributor
Addi Ogburn
Addi is a sophomore in highschool. She is super interested in languages and would love to learn more so that she can travel the world. She is very opinionated and very passionate about what she believes in and that gave her the idea to write for The Knight Times.
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  • R

    Rickie DayDec 21, 2023 at 7:38 am

    Another well thought out and researched article by Ms Ogburn. There are and always will be traditions that are just that because, families have them to remind themselves of good memories past and new memories that build them. These traditions are sometimes set by date some set by feelings and some set by both. Those are part of what is the season of Christmas and the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. One family tradition we have is on Christmas Eve is who can wish the others “Christmas Eve Gift” first.

  • K

    Kathy HausslerDec 20, 2023 at 6:27 pm

    Absolutely a wonderful and very well thought out article! I’ve been saying this to people all my adult life when they ask why I start decorating right after Halloween.

  • M

    Mary MeadorsDec 20, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Again, a beautifully written article.

  • C

    Claudia OgburnDec 20, 2023 at 9:55 am

    Your article has given me a new perspective on decorating for Christmas.
    Next year, I will definitely remember all the advantages of decorating in early November and get a head start on memory-making and fun during the holidays!!
    You’ve truly considered this topic from angles I have never considered, and I found myself agreeing with every point you made.
    Your writing style and descriptions are impressive, and I truly enjoyed reading this.
    Thank you for all the thought and thorough investigative reporting you put into this article.
    I’m really looking forward to reading your next publication.

    Merry Christmas!

  • P

    Patricia DayDec 20, 2023 at 9:53 am

    I am with you, Addi! I love to see the beautiful displays of Christmas!