When Should You Take Down Your Christmas Tree?

Some folks have strong opinions about the right time to take down the Christmas tree. Maybe you've been judged for taking down your tree too early or leaving it up too late. Maybe you're the one doing the judging. The fact is, the right time to take down your Christmas tree is a matter of personal opinion. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy eyeing those twinkly lights through February, there's no special Christmas tree police force to come and arrest us for crimes against a holiday. Likewise, those who are ready to move on from the season on December 26 are spared from litigation.

Still, while it may not be a legal matter, there could be judgment or, worse, concerns that you are dooming yourself to bad luck if you select the wrong day to pack away your tree. Even if you're trying to avoid being cursed in the new year, Christmas tree enthusiasts don't even agree on how to do that. Depending on your personal beliefs, She Knows explains that there are several days that could be considered lucky. We at House Digest say, ditch the superstitions and do what works best for you.

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

In some Christian faiths, December 25 marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas season, not the end. This season lasts 12 days, leading up to the Epiphany on January 6, a date celebrated with a feast. Even this tradition has various interpretations, states iNews. To avoid bad luck in the new year, some traditions claim Christmas decorations should come down on Twelfth Night, which is January 5, since they consider Christmas to be the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Others believe those items should not be taken down until January 6 because they believe the day after Christmas, or Boxing Day, is the beginning of the Twelve Days. Confused yet?

While there are religious traditions affiliated with these dates, some historical evidence suggests that it was actually the Victorians that decided when the Christmas season ends with the removal of decorations. They just wanted everyone to get back to work. In these situations where there are different interpretations of the right way to do things, the beliefs and celebrations spent with loved ones around these important dates are what really matter.

New Year's Eve

Although Balsam Hill claims most people take down their Christmas tree sometime during the first week of January, there are folks who believe it's bad luck to leave your tree displayed past December 31. According to this less-popular tradition, keeping your decorations hanging into the new year is akin to dragging the burdens of last year along with you.

It's clear at this point there that really is no good or bad luck date for taking down the tree, but you might like this tradition if you've had a rough year and want to leave it behind. The belief behind taking down your tree on New Year's Eve is not only about the season coming to an end, but that you are putting away the remnants of the old year and ushering in the new one prepared for a fresh start. Beginning a new year with your house in order, maybe with a little New Year's Eve cleaning before your planned festivities, doesn't sound too bad when you think about it.

The day after Christmas

Some people are ready to take all the Christmas decorations down by the time December 26 rolls around in order to return a sense of normalcy and openness to the home. Totally the Bomb says deconstructing the tree the day after Christmas does not make you a Grinch, it just means that, for you, the season has passed and you want your regular house back. Or maybe you are feeling a little Grinchy. That's okay, too.

Another argument for taking down the tree is to prepare for a New Year's Eve party if you like to celebrate with family and friends in your home. Christmas trees can take up a lot of floor space that you may want to have free for mingling and dancing. If you're still in the Christmas spirit but need the extra space, just take down the tree and leave the rest of your holiday décor on display until after the new year.

When the needles dry out

If you have a real tree, the right time to haul it away may be determined by the tree itself, rather than tradition. According to Today, a dried-out tree is a serious fire hazard. The combination of a dry tree and nearby holiday candles results in an average of over $55 million dollars worth of property damage annually, based on a holiday safety report conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Since no one wants to start a new year with a house fire, the right time to remove your real tree is when it starts drying out. To know when your Christmas tree has passed its prime, there are a few signs. If your tree is losing a lot of needles daily and those needles easily fall off when you touch a branch, your tree has dried out. Brown needles and droopy limbs are two other telltale signs of a dangerously dry tree. Finally, if you no longer need to refill the base because the tree has stopped taking in water, it's time to take it to the curb. Hopefully, that will not happen until after the actual holiday, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

When you feel like it

When it comes down to it, there are no set rules, and the dark days of winter are not the time to start worrying about what other people think. If you have an artificial tree, the right time to take it down is entirely up to you. In fact, if you want to leave it up until February, there is a historical precedent. February 2 is a Christian holiday called Candlemas that has marked the end of the Christmas season since medieval times, explains Real Homes.

Of course, you do not have to be religious to leave your tree standing until February or even later. If those sparkly lights and festive decorations bring you joy, that's all that matters. It also doesn't have to be all or nothing when it comes to Christmas décor. If you like the tree and lights but are ready to let the holiday season go, just take off the ornaments and pack away your other holiday-themed items. Enjoy your lit tree until the days grow longer if you want. Life is too short for unnecessary rules.