After you somehow manage to buy everyone the right gifts and survive the seasonal shenanigans comes the most dreaded part of winter—taking down the decorations. If you’re already starting to wonder when to take down the Christmas tree, put those worries to rest, because there’s no need to rush the process of snapping back from your post-holiday comedown.
Deciding when to pack up the Christmas decorations into cardboard boxes and forget about them until next year can be a point of contention in many households. Personally, I hate taking down the Christmas tree and I’m always doing whatever I can to hang onto the magic. Over the years, my partner has been quite the opposite, wanting to start the New Year strong by beginning with a completely fresh slate. For him, carefully removing each ornament and wrapping up every string light is symbolic ritual that signifies a new chapter in life. Me? I already want to go back in time and relive Christmas morning.
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If you’re more like me, I’m here to give it to you straight—you don’t have to take down the Christmas tree by January 6. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons *not* to take down your tree and to leave it up as long as February! If you don’t feel like giving in to the pressure of shifting gears the moment January begins, I’m here to validate and encourage your instincts. Here’s why I’m personally leaving my Christmas tree up until February 1 (and why my partner eventually agreed to this with me):
Why You Should Take Down the Christmas Tree in February
Has anyone ever told you that it’s actually bad luck to take down the tree *before* January 6? In Christian traditions, Christmas always begins on December 25 (the birth of Christ) and ends on January 6 (upon the arrival of the Three Wise Men). And if you’ve ever wondered why January 6 seems to be the date everyone has agreed to take down the tree, it has a lot to do with the 12 days of Christmas.
However, Christmas is a holiday that comes with multiple interpretations, traditions and cultural leanings. In fact, if you were to follow the original traditions of Yule—the Pagan celebration of the winter solstice that came before the tradition of Christmas—you would put your tree up on December 21 and take it down on February 1, upon the celebration of Imbolc. In Celtic Pagan traditions, Imbolc—which directly translates to “in the belly of the Mother”—is the celebration of the halfway point between winter and spring. What better a way to celebrate that transition than by taking down the tree on February 1?
Whether you’re interested in exploring your own Christmas—or Yuletide—traditions or you’re simply not in the mood to part ways with those glimmering lights and flashing bulbs, you have every reason to wait until February 1 to take down the Christmas tree.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to start the new year by hitting the ground running. In fact, the intense “New Year, New Me” pressure can cause you to slam on the gas pedal before you even know where you’re going. And although my partner’s instinct has often been to take down the tree ASAP, he’s coming around to the idea of slowly and gradually adjusting to something new. After all, it takes time to thaw the ice of winter. Remember—the bears are still hibernating.
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