In 'dark times,' some are turning Christmas lights on to spread cheer

The lights are intended as a reminder to stay positive in challenging circumstances.
/ Source: TODAY
By Maura Hohman

The latest Twitter trend is reminding us that even in the middle of a global health crisis, we can still spread joy to people near and far.

As more folks are stuck inside their homes for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, some are brightening up their communities by putting their Christmas lights back up.

“Today a few of my neighbours decided we needed a bit more light in this dark time and decided to turn their Christmas lights back on,” wrote one Twitter user. “I hope it brings a smile to your face like it did mine.”

The trend has taken off across borders, too. Tweeters from Alabama to Rhode Island to Canada are showing off their unseasonably pretty homes.

“There are dark times ahead, but I can still put love & light out into the world,” read one tweet. “Some folks have mentioned putting up Christmas lights to cheer up people in quarantine, in isolation, or just to remind the world there’s still light & hope. Here’s my contribution.”

“My youngest son was bored today and said, ‘can we put Christmas lights on our tree outside to cheer us up?’ Great idea buddy,” shared another. “Lights are on tonight as a sign of hope and the sweet mind of my 10 year old.”

The result is spreading a little light during an otherwise confusing and stressful time across the globe.

Science bears out the mood-boosting powers of decorating.

"It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness," psychologist Deborah Serani told TODAY Home in 2017. "I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out ... signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it's pleasing or not."

She added that the brightness and colors of Christmas decorations in particular “spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.”

Another possible outcome, per Serani: a lift in energy levels and even happiness — and who doesn’t need an extra dose of happiness these days?