The jury is well and truly out on when we should take down our Christmas decorations. Some observe the religious tradition of the Epiphany as the cut-off date, some strip them down as soon as they wake up on Boxing Day and a select few accidentally forget to take them down for months. There is no right or wrong answer.
For all the magic Christmas decorations bring, by the time Christmas Day has come and gone, you may well have already had them up for a good month. If you're in a small space, you might welcome back the extra space you've had to forfeit for a Christmas tree, while they can also just be a lurking reminder of all the tidy up you're going to have to do, eventually. If you're not still entertaining at home on Boxing Day, here's why I think as soon as possible might be the best option for when to take down your decorations.
As soon as possible!
Depending on when you put them up, some people find they've had enough of looking at their decorations quite soon after Christmas is over. If you want to start your New Year clean nice and early, and are looking to declutter the room, it might be good to get your decorations down so that you can start deciding what you want to keep and what you either want to donate, sell or throw away.
'The time following the holiday season can often feel like a letdown,' says Leslie Murchie Cascino of Bonnie Wu Design. 'After parties and time spent celebrating with friends and family, you may be left feeling totally full of love. Or you could feel as if you'd just like some time to yourself. In any case, take down or keep your Christmas decorations for as long as they make you happy. Put them away if you're eager to get 2023 moving and feel organized!'
As lovely and cozy as Christmas decorations are, there is something quite satisfying about getting your house back to normal - taking down the tinsel, putting Christmas decorations in storage, shifting furniture back into its usual place and disposing of the tree however you see fit.
New Year's Day
Many people use New Year's Day as an opportunity to take the Christmas decorations down. You can likely get the whole family to help, nobody has to go to work, and it's a nice satisfying way to make a fresh start to your year. Interior designer Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors makes it a rule to take down all the decorations on this day. 'We're all hanging out at home in our pajamas with no clear agenda anyway, and by the time New Year's rolls around, I am DONE with the holiday hubbub and ready to return to regularly scheduled programming as quickly as possible,' she says.
'There are exceptions to this rule which include: having a newborn, having a cold, or having a hangover on New Year's day (or - god forbid - all three),' Bethany says, 'but I find that going into a new year with the last one nicely tidied up and put away is a great way to start the year off on the right foot.'
It also might be worth considering whether you're hosting a New Year's Eve party; if you keep your decorations up until New Year's Day you already have fantastic decor ready to go for the party, and can have another night of enjoyment out of them with your family and friends.
It is certainly a good date to round off the holiday period, and will hopefully make you feel ready to start afresh in your newly organized, tidy and decoration-free home.
12th Day of Christmas / Epiphany
Lots of people observe the tradition of leaving their decorations up until January 5th, or the '12th Day of Christmas.' Additionally, some Christians choose to take their decorations on the 6th, which is known as the 'Feast of the Epiphany' to recognise the day where the three kings were actually supposed to have arrived in Bethlehem to see the newborn Jesus.
If you are choosing to keep your decorations up until either of these dates, whether it be for traditional reasons or just because you love the look of the Christmas wreath as you come in through your front door, you may want to consider that after a while, real Christmas trees do deteriorate, and your tree likely won't look as luscious as it did when you first put it up in December. However, CEO of Balsam Hill, Marc Harman says, 'If you haven’t got dropping needles to think about, you can keep your tree up as long as you want (as long as you don’t mind the neighbours talking).' Perhaps if you do like to hold onto that festive look for as long as you can, an artificial tree might save some tedious hoovering throughout January.
'As far as I'm concerned, the only bad luck you'll encounter with waiting too long is missing out on your municipalities' Christmas tree pickup - and that's a terrifying prospect,' says designer Bethany Adams.
So, when is best?
As before, I think you should keep your decorations up for as long as you like, and for as long as they bring you joy. Whether it's holding onto that festive sparkle, or perhaps you love the smell of fir throughout your home, Christmas decorations bring so much delight to many. They signify a time of peace, happiness and time with family, and there are certainly no hard and fast rules about when they should come down. Enjoy!
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Alex is a MA Magazine Journalism student at City University of London, with experience writing for several online magazines for students and young women in film, lifestyle and politics. Proud and particular about her bedroom decor, Alex has always found interest in interior design, insisting on full control over Christmas tree decorating each year. Her favourite aesthetic is definitely small cozy spaces, cluttered with cushions and throws of different colors and textures, surrounded by warm fairy lights and candles. Her only strict rule is, 'Never have the big light on.'
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