Christmas celebrations are over, and most people have reluctantly returned to work this week which means there’s only one thing left to do. Take the Christmas decorations down!
But when should they be taken down by? Is it Saturday 5 January, or Sunday 6 January? And, is it unlucky to take them down earlier or later than the Twelfth Night?
The debate about when to take down the Christmas decorations is one that springs up year after year.
While some people will already have taken the tree to the tip and packed the lights and baubles away until next year, others are tempted keep their decorations up for a little bit longer and cling on to the magic of Christmas for just a few more days.
What and when is Twelfth Night?
Christian tradition states that decorations need to be taken down by the Eve of the Epiphany (the day when the three kings presented gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to Jesus) or 12 nights after Christmas.
While most people acknowledge that the Twelfth Night marks the official end of Christmas, there’s much confusion about when the Twelfth Night actually falls, depending on whether you count Christmas Day as day one or not.
The Epiphany falls on 6th January, which means the decorations should, in theory, be tidied away on the 5th. This is the most popular date!
However, not everyone follows this tradition. Many countries, including Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic believe the Twelfth Night to be the 6th.
Is it unlucky to take them down early or later?
There’s a superstition that if your decorations aren’t taken down on time then you will have bad luck for the rest of the year.
But other superstitions say it’s wrong to take them down too early, too.
In ancient times, many believed that tree-spirits lived in the holly and ivy and these provided shelter for the spirits during the Winter. If these were released before Christmas ended, then there would be problems with the harvest the following year.
And if you don’t have time this weekend?
According to another superstition, Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night should be left up until Candlemas Day (that’s in another four weeks on 2nd February!) while others believe you must leave them up until Twelfth Night the following year.
So, what’s the answer?
Whether you’re the superstitious type or not, there’s no official right or wrong day! We wish there was a definitive date! The best thing to do is pick a day that’s convenient for you and, more importantly, time when you can focus on packing everything away properly so you’re not welcomed by the sight of broken baubles and tangled lights next year.
For tips on how to properly store your Christmas decorations, please click here.
It’s always a chore packing away the decorations but just think how much bigger your house will look and feel once the tree’s gone!