“When should I take my Christmas decorations down?” A surprising number of people search on Google for an answer to this question. I got a startling number of hits on a poll I posted on this topic on my own blog last year. For the many curious people who search for suggestions about this, and to get the opinion of our GMG readership, I am reposting my poll this year with a few additional reflections.
Really, there is no day when you “should” take the decorations down (or put them up). In a place of worship of an organized religion, there are usually rules about decorations according to liturgical seasons, but how you decorate your own house is your own business. Nonetheless, it can obviously be helpful to take cues for these things from the traditions of one’s Church, family, and society. People might look askance at you if you have your nativity scene on your lawn during Holy Week, or an illuminated Santa on your roof in August.
For secular Western society, Christmas ends pretty much at midnight on the 25th, and some stores have all the Christmas decorations down seemingly within hours. Liturgically (at least for Catholics), Christmas lasts until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Jan. 9 this year). But when it comes to taking down Christmas decorations, family and regional traditions vary widely. Some people clean house on Dec. 26. Others do so on or immediately after the Epiphany, a.k.a. “Little Christmas” (traditionally Jan. 6). That date, on which we celebrate the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, is actually the climax of the Christmas season for Orthodox Christians, rather than Dec. 25. Some particularly fervently “Christmasy” people leave everything up until Feb. 2, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. I even met one man in Boston who keeps his Christmas decorations up until St. Patrick’s day approaches, and his St. Patrick’s Day decorations stay up until Advent.
Personally, I will be taking most of my decorations down on or after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Is there a Gloucester tradition in this regard? When will you be taking down your decorations? Have you done it already? Vote now! And/or leave a comment about why you answer the way you do.