If you hauled the holiday boxes down from the attic and began untangling snarls of Christmas lights earlier than usual this year, you’re not alone. Desperate for any kind of dopamine rush, many people started decorating for Christmas well before Thanksgiving. And now that we’re in the thick of the holiday season and a brutal COVID-19 spike around the country, demand for Christmas lights is sky-high.
The Dallas Morning News reports that business is up 14 percent at Christmas Décor, a firm that installs Christmas lights for residential and commercial customers around the country. It even added more than 20 new franchises to keep up with demand this year.
That’s because Christmas lights are something of a perfect fit for this most peculiar holiday season. They’re entirely home-based, so you don’t have to hobnob with the potentially COVID-infected masses the way you would to, say, visit Santa at the mall. And to enjoy other people’s lights, you can ride around with your kids in the family car with the windows up, hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world but with great views of the light-up sled, complete with reindeer, that Bob from a few streets over nearly broke his neck installing on the roof.
And in addition to being an activity that one can participate in safely without modification, Christmas lights, frivolous as they may seem, offer real benefits.
“Anything that we can add into this world right now that builds positive emotional states, that sort of feeds positive beliefs – those kinds of things are known to help build resilience,” psychologist Kristen Carpenter told the Washington Post.
“We all need that right now. And as simple, or perhaps silly, as something like holiday lights going up earlier or going up in bigger form this year – it does help to create positive emotional states in people.”