This Is the Date When You Should Take Down Your Christmas Decorations
Holiday cheer is great—for a time.
The gifts have been unwrapped, the eggnog has been drunk, one too many cracks about mistletoe have been made—it’s official: Christmas is over. But while the holidays themselves have an exact end date—at midnight the carriage turns into a pumpkin, as they say—your holiday decorations come with no such expiration date. The Christmas goose now a barren carcass, the question becomes how to maneuver within this period of decorative ambiguity, avoiding the dual extremes of The Grinch and The Person Who Won’t Let Christmas Go.
Like most things Christmas, the question of when to take down Christmas decorations has been pondered throughout time, with various, often supernatural, explanations provided for when to un-deck the halls. In the Victorian era, for example, Christmas trees and decorations were to be removed on the twelfth night after Christmas, says Deemer Cass, a Christmas decorations expert at Fantastic Services. While this was in accordance with the tradition of celebrating twelve actual nights of Christmas, it was also thought to bring bad luck to leave decorations up for longer. Because it was believed that “tree-spirits” lived in the greenery used to decorate for the holidays, she explains, “they had to be released…as soon as Christmas was over”—or unsuspecting humans would face the consequences.
If tree spirits aren’t your thing, however, there are other, more practical, reasons for taking your decorations down sooner rather than later. Disposing of them before the new year, for example, “gives you the opportunity to start the year off fresh, uncluttered, and focused on what’s ahead,” says Marty Basher, home organization expert at Modular Closets. And this isn’t merely modern minimalism crowding out holiday cheer: many believe that “taking your Christmas tree down before New Year’s Eve will ensure you don’t carry your back luck into the new year,” says Cass.
On the other hand, maybe you had a good year, and want that same 2018 magic to follow you into 2019 and beyond. If that’s the case, “decorations can be kept all year long…if you don’t mind all the festive elements around your house,” she says. Coupled with the positive benefits holiday decorations have been shown to have, this may just be an effective strategy. Not to mention all the time it will save you when—come November—your decorations are already up, inflated, lit, jingling, and ready to go.
However, if you’re not ready to become the eccentric in your neighborhood with the inflatable Santa waving at passersby in June—but also don’t want to let superstitions run your life—it may be best to let good ol’ Mother Nature be your guide.
As Cass explains, the ultimate Christmas decoration—the tree—is pretty good at letting you know when it’s time to turn down the cheer. “Real Christmas trees are not eternal, so their needles drop and they lose their glamour…by the end of January,” she explains.
Taking their lead, it’s safe to say that the end of January is a perfectly organic time to take down your holiday decorations. Just remember: Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carry good tidings and joy to the world for the remainder of the year, too.
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