When should I take my Christmas tree down? The right time to pack away your decorations

It can be hard to part with your tree, we know...
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  • It’s an age-old debate, and there will be many different answers to the question, ‘when should I take my Christmas tree down?’ But the answer will depend on a few key factors – whether your tree is real or artificial, how superstitious you are and how well you’ve looked after your tree.

    Related: How to recycle a Christmas tree – Five genius ways to use your tree post-December

    We, personally, hate to be party poopers and if it was up to us we’d leave our trees on show for as long as possible. That said, Christmas trees do take up valuable space – you may even have had to relocate furniture from your living room or hallway to accommodate one.

    So here are our thoughts on when it’s appropriate to ditch the tree. And ideally, it should have been done last week!

    When should I take my Christmas tree down?

    1. On January 5th


    Image credit: Future PLC

    According to Victorian superstitions, bad luck will befall those who keep their decorations up a minute after Twelfth Night. Which, if you count forwards from Christmas Day, falls on the 5th January. NOT the 6th… the 5th.

    Therefore, if you are superstitious, you should remove your tree and Christmas decorations by the evening of the 5th January to avoid any misfortune.

    The date of Twelfth Night has been the subject of much debate, and many churches will say that it falls on 6th January and marks the start of Epiphany – the day that the Magi, or Three Kings, came to worship a newborn Jesus Christ. The Anglican church, however, marks Twelfth Night on 5 January. So perhaps it’s safest to use that day as a benchmark.

    2. Before your local council’s tree pick up


    Image credit: Future PLC

    Most local councils will have a special one-off collection for Christmas trees. Anyone that’s tried to take a tree to a recycling point themselves before will know the frustration of wrestling the tree into the car, then having to clean up a whole pile of needles. So it makes sense to get your tree down and out ready for collection in time.

    Note that many councils won’t pick up bigger trees – particularly those over six feet tall – unless they have been cut down to size, so check before you leave yours out for collection to avoid any disappointment.

    If you do miss your collection day, check to see if your council has a drop-off point where you can take your tree for recycling. And before you ask, yes, the trees do usually get recycled. Many councils shred real trees into chippings, which are then used locally in parks, children’s playgrounds or woodland areas.

    3. When it’s looking a bit brown…


    Image credit: Future PLC

    Space looking a bit bare without a tree? Revamp it with our living room ideas

    Of course, if you’ve had your tree up since early November and it’s looking a bit sorry for itself, you really should take it down. This is especially true if you’ve bought a tree in a pot and intend to plant it in the garden. Get it out there before it’s too poorly to survive!

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