Inspiring Ideas for Modern Home

When To Take Christmas Tree Down?

There are basically two dates for when you can take your Christmas tree down. According to Christian tradition, you can take the tree down on the twelfth day of Christmas, that is, 12 days after Christmas. On the other hand, the new and secular tradition is to take the tree down after New Year’s. 

When To Take Christmas Tree Down?

Every year Christmas decorations and Christmas trees are put up. And every year, the same question crosses our minds: when is it the right time to take a Christmas tree down? 

Tradition dictates that the Christmas decorations and the tree should be taken down on the twelfth night of Christmas, that is, January 5 or January 6, also known as the Feast of Epiphany. However, many people also tend to take down the tree after New Year’s. 

You definitely don’t want to run the risk of encountering the Ghost of Christmas Past, so read ahead to find out when you should take down your Christmas tree. 

The 12 Days Of Christmas Tradition

The 12 Days Of Christmas Tradition

Christian theology observes a period of 12 days after Christmas, known as the 12 days of Christmas. It is the period of time from the birth of Jesus Christ to the visit of the Magi, also known as the three wise men. 

The Christian Tradition Of Taking Down The Tree By Epiphany (January 6)

The Christian Tradition Of Taking Down The Tree By Epiphany (January 6)

Obviously, there can be no universal agreement on this tantalizing question. But there is a general opinion on when you can leave Christmas decorations and the tree up. 

Most people tend to take down their Christmas tree and holiday decorations around January 5 or January 6. This is because that is the twelfth night of Christmas. 

This is in accordance with the Christian tradition. January 6, or the Feast of Epiphany, marked the visit of the Magi, the three wise men, to baby Jesus in Bethlehem and the baptism of baby Jesus. 

There is also some debate on the date marking the Feast of Epiphany. Some Western churches like the Roman Catholics, the Lutherans, and the Anglicans, observe the Feast of Epiphany on January 6. On the other hand, several Eastern Orthodox churches believe the Feast of Epiphany to fall on January 19 and Christmas Eve to fall on January 6. 

The Church of England observed the twelfth night on January 5. However, some others celebrate the 6th of January as the twelfth night since they count the 12 days after Christmas day. This is why there is confusion on what is the correct date. 

The Secular Tradition Of New Year’s Day

The Secular Tradition Of New Year’s Day

This secular tradition is lesser known than the 12 days of Christmas tradition. Many people believe that leaving the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations up for too long might bring bad luck. This is why they don’t want to start the new year celebration with the decorations of the previous year. You can also call this a superstitious tradition. 

Factors To Consider When Deciding When To Take Your Christmas Tree Down

  1. Personal preference

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference. The date depends on the ease of keeping up the tree and the decorations. If the cheery brightness of the Christmas lights is hiking up your energy bills, it might be better for you to take down your Christmas decorations and tree as soon as possible. 

  1. Superstitions and beliefs

Superstitions and beliefs are a part of the package during the Christmas celebrations. Deciding when to take down your Christmas decorations and Christmas tree boils down to your superstitions and beliefs. For instance, many believe against carrying the decorations into the new year to avoid bad luck. So, you would fare better by taking down the tree and decorations on New Year’s Eve. 

As for your beliefs, you can always follow the old Bethlehem tradition. If you believe in the story of the three wise men, you should follow the twelfth-night tradition. It will help reaffirm your beliefs and also keep you connected to your religion. 

  1. Practical considerations

No matter how beautiful your Christmas trees and decorations might be, you will have to take them down after a point. This is because they might sometimes act as a safety hazard. You might trip over the decorations, some kid might swallow the small decorations, start a fire, etc. 

Tips For Disposing Of Your Tree

You can reuse the holiday décor, but you cannot reuse a real Christmas tree. So, here are some ecological ways you can dispose of your Christmas tree. 

  1. Recycling options

Some cities offer locations where you can drop off your Christmas trees after taking them down. Some of it might get ground up and then used as mulch on city lands. They are sometimes also just collected and dropped off at the nearest landfill. There, they can decompose and break down slowly over time. You can browse the Internet for recycling options near you. 

  1. Composting options

Any used Christmas tree can be used as compost to improve the fertility of the soil. Note that the technique for composting remains the same as for any other compost. This compost can then be used to fertilize crops or vegetable gardens. 

Many cities set up these composting services to get compost in large quantities. Just look around on the Internet to find such a service near you. 

  1. Disposal options for artificial Christmas trees

Unlike a real Christmas tree, you can actually reuse an artificial Christmas tree. So, why dispose of it in the first place? Take the more eco-friendly way, and store it securely. Use some zip ties or fishing lines to tie the tree in place. Store it away safely in a tree bag to reuse it again next year in all its glory. 

How long can I keep a Christmas tree up without it becoming a fire hazard?

Technically, a Christmas tree is always a fire hazard for your house. However, you can safely keep it up for about 4 weeks, provided you keep watering it during that time frame. 

How can I make sure my Christmas tree stays fresh as long as possible?

Taking proper care of your tree is essential to make sure it lasts the entire holiday season. 

  • Make a clean, straight cut across the bottom of the tree 
  • Keep the tree in water 
  • Keep the tree in a cool place 
  • Opt for LED lights for less heat 

What are some creative ways to repurpose a Christmas tree?

You can actually use your tree in many creative ways after the festive season is over. 

  • Use the branches to make a wreath 
  • Cut the trunk into small pieces and use it around your garden 
  • Use the branches to make a bird feeder 
  • Use it as compost 
  • Use it as firewood 
  • Replant it in your garden 

How do I store the Christmas tree decorations?

Decorating your tree with ornaments, stockings, lights, etc., is part of the Christmas traditions. Here are some tips on how to store those decorations after you take the Christmas tree down: 

  • Wrap the fragile items in bubble wrap for protection 
  • Wrap the lights around cardboard to avoid entanglement 
  • Put all in cardboard boxes and label them accordingly 

What is epiphany?

Epiphany, also known as the Three Kings Day, marks the official end of the holiday season, dated January 6th every year. It signifies the ancient Christian feast day, celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ and the arrival of the Magi. Celebrations take place across the world in the form of special services in accordance with the Christian calendar. 


Thus, there is no right or wrong answer for when to take down your Christmas decorations and tree. It all comes down to your personal preferences and beliefs. If you follow Christian traditions, it is best to take your tree down on the twelfth day of Christmas. Or, you can just take it down before the new year begins to avoid any bad luck that may come your way. 

Whenever you take down the tree, the important thing is to spend your Christmas in peace with your loved ones.  So, whether it’s New Year’s Eve or the twelfth night, make sure to have a jolly good Christmas season before you take your tree down.