People who decorate for the holidays appear friendlier, study finds

5 Facts About Holiday Light Displays Thomas Edison is credited with putting up the first Christmas lights display. Australian David Richards holds the Guinness World Record for the largest display of Christmas lights on an artificial tree. A 15-year-old named Albert Sadacca is said to have popularized Christmas tree lights. Lighting a Christmas tree could cost as much as $300 in 1900. That's $2000 in today's dollars. Each year, 20 million Christmas lights are recycled in Shijiao, China.

If you haven’t already started decorating for Christmas, get to it. People who decorate for the holidays are happier and appear friendlier to their neighbors, according to research listed in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

The study is based on previous and present research where participants were asked to rate the friendliness of strangers based on pictures of their houses.

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The homeowners self-reported their sociability by rating their social contact with neighbors as low or high. Homes that were decorated with twinkling lights and bows, even if the people who lived there were not social, were rated high because the houses appeared more “lived in” and “open.” Undecorated homes were given low sociability scores.

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“As expected, a main effect for the decorated factor indicated that raters used Christmas decorations as a cue that the residents were friendly and cohesive. Decoration interacted with sociability in a complex but interpretable way,” researchers wrote.

The results highlighted the social impact of Christmas decorations and how they’re used to communicate with neighbors. Researchers also suggested that decorating your home’s exterior for the holidays could be a way to participate in social activities and gatherings in the neighborhood.

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‘Tis the season, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is your No. 1 source for things to do, see and eat through all of the holidays.

DO: Help the Empty Stocking Fund ensure that no child will miss out Christmas morning

SEE: TV best bets with Mariah Carey, George Michael, Kelly Clarkson, ‘Lost in Space,’ ‘Annie Live!’

EAT: How to make the Ginger Room’s Coronation Chicken Salad

For our full coverage of holiday events around metro Atlanta, check out the AJC’s Atlanta Winter Guide.

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