Trying to decide when to take down Christmas decor? Here's our advice!
It’s magical when Christmas decorations first go up and your home is full of glittering tinsel and baubles and twinkling fairy lights, as well as the festive pine smell of a real Christmas tree if you have one.
But that magic soon disappears – and once Christmas is over, you’ve no doubt got pine needles, stray baubles and bits of tinsel all over the floor, and that lovely Christmas tree smell has been replaced by a musty one as your tree slowly dies.
Many people are ready to just get rid of the decorations as soon as Boxing Day is done, so they can start the New Year clean and tidy (and without pine needles sticking in their feet). For others, the festivities aren’t over just yet.
So when should you take your decor down? Is it OK to whip them away as soon as possible, or is that simply bah humbug behaviour?
If you want to follow tradition, decorations are ‘supposed’ to come down after the 12 Days of Christmas, which is counted by Catholics from St Stephen's Day. So January 6, which is the day of Epiphany, when the three wise men came, is Twelfth Night.
Around January 5 or 6 is when religious tradition dictates the tree and tinsel should disappear. Legend has it that it’s bad luck to keep the decorations up after that – in ancient times, people believed tree spirits lived in the tree, holly and ivy etc that decorated their homes, and bringing them inside during the harsh winter protected the spirits. But if they weren’t returned outside after the cold festive period, vegetation wouldn’t grow again and there’d be an agricultural disaster. Plus, if the greenery was left inside too long, they thought the naughty tree spirits would cause mischief in the house.
But whether you want to avoid mischief-making tree spirits and are sick of the decorations anyway, or if you want to keep the decorations up ’til Easter (or longer!), the truth is, there’s no right or wrong thing to do – it’s entirely up to you!
Plant experts from the floral gift company Flowercard think January 6 is the day you should take your decorations down, and the company's Liam Lapping says: “The 6th of January is Epiphany and is the official end of the festive season. Keeping your Christmas tree and decorations up after this date is thought to bring bad luck. However, if you have a real Christmas tree and it’s looking a little worse for wear there’s no harm in taking it down early – no one wants a needle-less tree.”
He urges people to replant Christmas trees that still have roots, or recycle other real trees.
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