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When to Take Down Christmas Decorations - Etiquette and Justifications

Take Down Christmas Decorations
Christmas decorations get everyone in the holiday spirit, lifting their moods and opening their hearts to share. But sometimes it can be a struggle to find the time to take down Christmas decorations. Some of us may have had neighbors who kept their icicle lights up on the house for way too long - some of us may have neighbors who appeared to even upgrade to icicles after Christmas passed! So how do we know when it is the appropriate time to take down Christmas decorations? This commonly asked question can often be answered according to one's own family traditions. You will be relieved to find out that many traditions do not take them down right after Christmas, and traditions can always be adopted. Let's take a deeper look at a few symbolic dates that may help you determine (justify) when you take down Christmas decorations.

Right after Christmas: The After Christmas Sale Tradition

For many families, they have enjoyed the holidays, but are glad to see the hustle and bustle surrounding them come to an end. When the after Christmas sales begin, their decorations come down. This makes sense when their main celebrations occur on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and they are ready to pack everything up and get back to their normal routines.

New Year's Day: Time for Christmas Storage

Many people consider New Year's Day the official end of the holiday season. They are ready to start the New Year with a clean slate, and had the time after Christmas Day to enjoy and appreciate their decorations. Still in planning mode, they are early enough in the season to still find a large variety of Christmas storage bags. Store wreaths, garland, ornaments and trees in quality storage bags to prevent accumulating dust and moisture during the year, as well as protecting needle shape and lights.

Tradition of Epiphany and the Three Kings

Epiphany Tradition: Kings Cake
Everyone has heard of the twelve days of Christmas, and the twelfth day falls on January 6. This day, referred as Epiphany or Three Kings Day, commemorates when the Three Wise Men arrived to baby Jesus and gave gifts. It is explained to children that if the Christmas lights and decorations were taken down before Epiphany, the Three Wise Men would not be able to find their way to the children's houses to bring gifts. Kings cake is a traditional food of Epiphany as well. The ring-shaped cake is normally stuffed with a plastic baby, and whoever gets the small toy in their slice, must host the next party on February 2, Candlemas Day. How much fun would it be to have party after party through the holidays? If you want to make this day a part of your family tradition, get the recipe for kings cake in the article Celebrate Three Kings Day with Rosca de Reyes.

Waiting for the Christmas Witch

Befana Celebrated Around the World
In Italy and other small communities around the world, children are visited by La Befana on Epiphany Eve. Befana is believed to be an old lady who flies around on her broom delivering gifts or coal to all the children, depending on if they are good or bad. There are many legends surrounding Befana, but one common trait she is known for is her superb housekeeping skills. After she leaves the gifts for the children, she sweeps the floor spotless, serving as proof that she was there. Like Santa, she is believed to come in the houses through the chimney. Of course, it is not until after Befana visits and leaves the gifts that Christmas decorations can be taken down.

Celebrating Candlemas Day

</p>February 2 is celebrated in the Catholic Church as Candlemas Day, commemorating the presentation of Christ in the temple by Mary and Joseph forty days after baby Jesus' birth. Candlemas Eve is the deadline to take down Christmas decorations according to many cultures. Poet Robert Herrick wrote for a Candlemas Eve ceremony:

"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall."
In fact, superstitions induce something eerie or bad could happen if the decorations are not down by Candlemas Day. If the deadline is not met, goblins or even death could come knocking on the door within the next year! What motivation to end procrastination in taking down the decorations! In some parts of Mexico and Central America, Candlemas Day is also celebrated with homemade tamales, served by whoever got the plastic baby in their kings cake during the Epiphany celebration.

There are traditions surrounding Christmas leading all the way to February, allowing plenty of time to take down Christmas decorations. This year with a team effort, my family had ours down right after New Year's, but next year, we will not be taking them down until January 6, now that I am aware of the sentimental value and tradition surrounding the twelfth day of Christmas. When did you take your Christmas decorations down? Share below!

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