Study Finds Holiday Decorating Boosts Consumers' Moods

Wondering why all that Memorial Day bunting cheered you up over the weekend? Retailers know--a new study from Unity Marketing says that, for many Americans, seasonal decorations are a kind of budget Prozac.

The typical U.S. household spent just under $20 buying seasonal and holiday decorations last year and trotting them out at the appropriate time seems to be a soothing bit of ritual--whether it's Fourth of July flags or Christmas lawn ornaments.

"Decorations are a perfect example of things we buy that we don't need, yet we desire them because they add immeasurably to our enjoyment of holiday and family celebrations," writes Pam Danziger, president of Unity and author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience. "Since boosting our mood is their primary function, decorations are really a low-cost, non-prescription alternative to anti-depressants."

While Christmas accounts for the largest share of the total decorations market, some 48% overall, the fastest-growing holidays for decorating the home are:

  • July 4th
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Labor Day/Back to school
  • Summer