Here's when you should take down your Christmas decorations

A decorated Christmas tree
A decorated Christmas tree (Image credit: Shutterstock)

After we’ve consumed our feasts, opened gifts and watched our favorite Hallmark Christmas movies, it's always a shame when the holidays come to an end. But as we welcome in a brand new year, there's the inevitable time to pack away the Christmas decorations.

You'll likely store your holiday decorations away in the loft or a special cupboard, but if you've got a replica tree, then there are 7 places you should never store your Christmas tree for the rest of the year. 

Believe it or not, there's actually a certain date you're traditionally supposed to adhere to when taking down Christmas decorations. Are you taking yours down too early or too late? Or is it bad luck to keep them up? 

To answer your burning questions, find out the official date when you should be packing up and storing your Christmas decorations until next year.

When should you take down your Christmas decorations? 

Storing Christmas baubles

Storing Christmas baubles (Image credit: Shutterstock)

According to Christian tradition, the right date to take decorations down is on the Twelfth Night after Christmas (eve of the Epiphany). This usually falls on either the 5th or 6th of January, depending on how the 12 days of Christmas are counted. 

This year, 2024, Twelfth Night falls on January 5th. So if you're reading this after then, you should already have yours packed away!

Twelfth Night isn't universally agreed upon. The Church of England calculates from Christmas Day, so the Twelfth Night always falls on January 5th. Other denominations, including the Catholic Church, start counting from Boxing Day, making January 6th the Twelfth Night (and the Epiphany). Either way, it’s considered bad luck to leave your decorations on display after the 5th, and believed to taint the New Year.

If you haven't stored yours away yet, better get started.  

What is the Epiphany? 

The Epiphany is a day observed by Christians, also known as Three Kings’ Day. This marks the day when the three wise men followed the bright star of Jerusalem to visit baby Jesus, hailing him as a king in Bethlehem. In fact, ‘epiphany’ is actually a Greek word, meaning ‘manifestation’ with the date itself symbolising God coming to Earth as a human in the form of his Jesus Christ.

How to dispose of a real Christmas tree

Woman making a Christmas wreath

Woman making a Christmas wreath (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you're wondering how to dispose of a real Christmas tree, there are several ways you can repurpose it. If you're a keen gardener, you can shred the tree into wood chippings to use as compost or mulch in your backyard. Just avoid these 11 things you should never throw on the compost heap.

Or you could repurpose branches to make a winter wreath, or make pine needle sachets for its lovely scent. If you don’t have a backyard, you can always recycle at specific Christmas tree drop-off points —  just check with your local authority where your nearest recycling center is.  

Where you should never store your Christmas tree

Faux Christmas trees can be an expensive investment, so it's worth storing them properly to make sure they are as good as new for next year. For this reasons it's best to avoid keeping them in hot, damp or smelly places or squeezing them into boxes that are too small, causing them to go out of shape.

We also have some further advice on places where you should never store you Christmas tree with a top tip from Christmas manufacturer Balsam Hill.

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!