When should you take down your Christmas decorations?

House with Christmas lights
House with Christmas lights (Image credit: Shutterstock)

After we’ve all consumed our festive feasts, opened our gifts and watched our favorite Hallmark Christmas movies, the next burning question is when should you take down your Christmas decorations?

While some households wish it could be Christmas all year round, others worry they’ll fall victim to bad luck if they leave their decorations up for too long. But how long is too long? Find out the official date when you should be packing up your Christmas decorations until the next holiday.

When should you take down your Christmas decorations? 

Christmas tree and decorations

Christmas tree and decorations (Image credit: Shutterstock)

According to Christian tradition, you would need to take decorations down on the Twelfth Night after Christmas (eve of the Epiphany). Typically, this falls on either the 5th or 6th of January, depending on how the 12 days of Christmas are counted. For instance, 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.  

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)

There are several ways you can repurpose your real Christmas tree. You can shred the tree into wood chippings to use as compost or mulch in your backyard. Or you could repurpose branches to make a winter wreath, or make pine needle sachets for their 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.  

Be sure to check out our guide on how to store Christmas decorations safely. And did you know you can learn how to grow a Christmas tree and keep it for next year? 

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!