This is how to tell when it’s time for holiday decor to go

When to take down your Christmas tree and decorations is a very personal choice. If you wait on pins and needles all year to deck your halls, taking it all back down can feel like a major letdown.

According to some Christian traditions, all Christmas decorations are meant to be taken down on the “Twelfth Night,” also known as “Three Kings Day.” The tradition dates back to the 4th century and marks the end of Christmas and the Eve of the Epiphany. The 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day, and the Twelfth Night lands on January 6. Twelfth Night is often seen as the standard time to take your decorations down and is often believed to be bad luck by many if your tree and decorations remain up past this date.

Do you believe in superstitions?

There is another, lesser-known tradition that says you should take your Christmas tree down on New Year’s Eve before midnight — otherwise, you’ll have bad luck in the New Year.

If you want to model yourself after the Queen of England, leave your Christmas decorations up even longer, until February 6, which marks the anniversary of her father, King George VI’s death. He passed away in 1952 at Sandringham House, where the royal family spends Christmas, and the decorations stay until then.

Of course, we’ve all had neighbors who leave their lights up long after the Twelfth Night has come and gone (and so has January and February). Some people just want to feel festive a bit longer or perhaps don’t have the energy to take them all down. If you live in a cold-weather state, finding a day that won’t leave you frozen solid when taking down outdoor decorations is nearly impossible.

Inside, though, decorations should be taken down whenever you say they should. Most of us eventually put them away and live with our home feeling a bit naked for a week or so until we adjust. The bummer of not having another holiday to decorate for until March (if you decorate for St. Patrick’s Day) at the earliest can seem a little depressing. So, whether that means taking down decorations the day after Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or whenever the mood strikes, there’s no correct answer.

Time is of the essence

Oftentimes, finding a few spare hours to dedicate to removing all signs of the holidays isn’t easy once the new year gets back in full swing with jobs, school, activities, and the daily grind of life. Taking time while you’re off and spending time around the house may be your best bet if you want to tackle the project in one day.

If you just can’t part with all the decor in one swoop, leaving one or two small decorations out helps ease you into the long months ahead. If you have a freshly-cut tree, they usually last about four to five weeks if you’re watering them properly. If you’re not great about remembering to water your tree, throw it out at the first sign of it being dry because it can catch fire. Of course, you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say, so even if your tree needs to go early, you can still keep other decorations up until you are ready.

Chart your own course

Feel like keeping your tree and decorations up till July? Sounds like a plan. Already took it down and haven’t thought about it again? We don’t blame you. Whatever you decide, when you do take it down, store it neatly away so next year, when you dig it out, it’ll be easier to put back up.

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