Myrtle Beach, S.C. (WPDE) — For some of us, we get what can only be described as the 'warm fuzzies' when looking at Christmas lights.
There is something magical about the alluring lights that come with Christmas.
"Basically it's your house's way of saying, 'Welcome, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!'" said Dr. Terry Pettijohn.
For some, the decorations go up as early as the day after Halloween.
"Putting up Christmas lights can benefit people in a lot of different ways," Pettijohn, the Psychology department chair at Coastal Carolina University, explained.
"When they put lights up, it gives them something to do, to look forward to, in terms of a positive event," he said.
Bristish researchers recently concluded people who are itching to light up the neighborhood are generally happier.
For most, they associate the twinkling lights with memories of childhood.
But the lights can also trigger dopamine, the 'feel good' chemical in the brain.
"With these bright experiences with lights, we do have the physiological response from the nervous system that helps make us more alert, more aware, and can bring about these feelings of happiness," said Dr. Pettijohn.
"Before we left, I decided to put my Christmas stuff up, and I never do that before Thanksgiving. But I knew this trip was coming up and I needed to," said Rhonda McCucheon, who is visiting Myrtle Beach.
For McCucheon, this holiday season is bittersweet because it is the first without her dad.
"You know we needed that little boost of happiness. And it has made a difference," she said.
"It's important to recognize that not everyone's going to enjoy the Christmas lights or have the same type of experience with them," said Dr. Pettijohn.
But Rhonda's un-scientific conclusion: The earlier the better.
"I guess to each his own. But maybe they should try it?" she said with a laugh.