5PM Post: When is the “right” time to take down holiday decorations?

National Christmas Tree

Yesterday morning, with great embarrassment, I took down the lights from my front porch.

Why was this such a problem for me? Well, I was raised that one of the New Years Day activities was taking down and packing all the Christmas decorations inside and outside the house. Lights, tree, stockings, inflatable/plastic stuff…all of it.

Of course, this firm family rule was practiced while living next door to the Capawanos, who had a 15-foot wrought iron “NOEL” screwed to the front of their house year-round. (It was their only holiday decoration–odd considering its size and girth, you’d assume it was part of a larger ensemble–and stayed there for the entire 13 years we lived in that neighborhood).

Driving around our fair city at night, I notice that today, January 6th, there are still quite a few decked halls out there.

So what is the appropriate time to dismantle your holiday house flair?

Some might say December 26th. Some might say January 1st. Some may reasonably say tomorrow (the Orthodox observation of Christmas). Others would opt for the first non-miserable weekend day after Christmas. A few outliers might even say MLK Jr Day is the drop dead end date.

What do you think?

46 Comment

  • I say February 1st, but I love Xmas lights.

  • I’ve been embarrassed myself! Kind of sneaking around taking them off my house after the first. That’s such a funny social norm when you think about it.

    I’d say that Christmas specific decorations (i.e. tree, wreaths, lit reindeer) should go down shortly after the 1st or even before. However, because I love the lights on the front of the houses through the dreary winter months, I would say that “secular” decorations should be allowed to stay up longer.

  • certainly not before the first, thats crazy. At the end of the 12 days of Christmas would be the earliest point.

    • agreed.
      taking down christmas decorations before christmas even ends doesn’t seem right.

      • Correct. If you take them down before today, Epiphany (i.e., the day of the three kings, 12th day of Christmas, etc) then it means you are an uncivilized heathen who hates freedom and children. But within some reasonable time after today, say by this weekend, they should really come down.

    • YES. One of my grandmother’s favorite holiday-time activities is driving around shortly after epiphany (after the 12 days of Christmas) judging people for being lazy heathens.

    • exactly….

      of course they wanted to take down the ugly National Christmas Tree on the 26th that would not be too early.

  • What do i think? I think the prince needs to come back from vacation. who is this “lord of petworth”? PoP’s stand-in? His substitute? His Office administrator?

  • its bad luck to take them down before News Years. Taking down tree this weekend

  • When you can get around to it;

    which is usually the weekend after The Day of Epiphany (the three wise men, the Magi) which just happens to be today, January 6.

    Unfamiliar, interested:


  • The weekend closest to Epiphany. So this coming weekend. And we’re proudly plugging in our lights until after tonight. (I love Christmas lights!)

    • saf

      The weekend after Epiphany. And the outside lights are on a timer, so they will come on every night until they come down.

  • what the hell is an “epiphany”? sounds like crazy talk!

  • ah

    First weekend following New Year’s Day. So this weekend.

  • If I put up lights for the birth, damnit, I’m going to keep them up until the resurrection!

  • This weekend. day light and don’t have to work

  • I’m Jewish. Never had to worry about that. 🙂

  • You HAVE to leave them up at least til Ephiphany! How else are the Wise Men going to find Jesus??

    Taking them down before today sort of defeats the whole symbolic purpose.

    • i mean.. we had these priceless gifts to our newborn king. but screw it. i can’t find the little bastard. let’s go to horace and dickies for some fried fish, then cash in this loot for quarters and throw some skee-ball at the country club.

  • Do you mean the Easter Wreath, or the MLK tree?

  • We’re keeping our decorations up through Orthodox Christmas, then taking it all down. Our neighbors took their tree out back the day after Christmas – have they no soul! I counted at least four Christmas trees on the curbs along Porter Street in Mt. Pleasant tonight (one wrapped up in a plastic bag for some reason!).

  • I am so happy to hear people say this weekend, b/c sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who remembers the 12 days of Christmas are AFTER Christmas. I don’t even put my tree up until a week before Christmas!

  • New Year’s Day was always the day for taking down Christmas decorations in my family. Taking them down before that was considered unlucky, for whatever odd reason.

  • i always aim for ground hog’s day – st. paddy’s day at the latest

  • apparently my roommate is still planning to have a Xmas party (we believe in stretching out the celebrations), so we’re taking them down after that. mid-January. Though the needles are really beginning to fall off that tree.

  • Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Christmas is today, so maybe it’s 12 days after that?

  • We celebrate Christmas until January 14th (officially). January 6th is “Dia de Los Reyes”, and the 8 days after are called “Octavitas”, which officially closes the Christmas season on the 14th. This is part of the Puerto Rican culture. I think people should not judge if they still see Christmas lights up. I will be taking my stuff down on the 15th.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I saw 2 trees out for trash on Christmas day! All I could think was they opened presents and then immediately dismantled the tree. I’m not a huge Christmas fan, but even I think that is wrong.

    Happy King Cake season!

  • within a week after New Years

  • Day of the Ephinay. Christmas decs come down Carnival decs go up.

  • I am late to the party, but I agree with many others: Day of Epiphany (or the weekend following it). I leave up some snowflake/snowmen themed decorations (inside, not outside) throughout the winter, but in general, the Christmas decorations will be coming down and the Valentine’s Day decorations will be going up this weekend! (Yes, I am one of those people who decorates in a small way for every single holiday.

  • I’ve always tried to keep them up until the Epiphany. That said there have been times when I took a tree down earlier because it became a dried out fire hazard or I was going out of town for an extended period. So don’t judge those with a tree on the curb early too harshly. Honestly I can’t understand these people who decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.

  • As soon as it gets warm. Before that, it’s fair game. Cold weather + snow + X’mas lights = Awesomeness!

  • All wrong. The correct answer is:

    When it turns brown and all the needles fall off.

  • Before the first of the New Year. I have no problem seeing lights still up well into January or February. Its just seeing them still being turned on that’s a problem. Pepco must love those people.

  • DPW recycles trees from Jan 3-10. They send a truck by to pick up trees curbside. After Jan 15 trees go in the trash. That sounds like a reasonable window.

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