When Should I Take Down My Christmas Tree?

When Should I Take Down My Christmas Tree?
Illustration: Andrew Rybalko, Shutterstock

I once kept my tree up until March just to hold on to the festivity of the season — I know, I know. I’m the first to admit that that was a terrible idea. But when is the best time to take down your tree?

Natural trees last about four weeks

Freshly cut trees can last about four to five weeks if taken care of properly. If you purchased your tree precut, your tree might last for the shorter end of that range. A freshly cut tree may last longer than five weeks with adequate watering. Dry trees can easily catch on fire and spread throughout your home, so it’s crucial to take down your tree before it dries up. If watering your Christmas tree has not been at the top of your list, be sure to take the tree down within four weeks of putting it up.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve by taking your tree down

If you have a faux tree, drying out is, of course, not a concern. So choosing a date depends on other factors. Some people believe that leaving your tree up after the new year is bad luck. Take down your tree on December 31st before midnight, to avoid bringing misfortune from the old year into the new. (If you believe in that sort of thing.)

Your Neglected Christmas Tree Is A Huge Fire Hazard

If you haven’t watered your Christmas tree since you forgot about it on Boxing Day, now is the time to get it out of your house. Unwatered Christmas trees are a huge fire hazard, as this video from the US National Fire Protection Association clearly shows.

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Take your tree down on Three Kings Day

According to Christian Traditions Christmas decorations are meant to be taken down on the “Twelfth Night” or “Epiphany,”’ also known as “Three Kings Day.” The twelve days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas day, and the Twelfth Night, also known as Three Kings Day, lands on January 6th. Epiphany celebrates the day the three wise men brought gifts to Jesus in the manger. In Latinx traditions, El Dia De Los Reyes is an annual celebration (usually involving a nativity play). The tree and decorations are all removed after the festival.

Do as the Queen of England does

Her Majesty, the Queen of England, leaves her Christmas tree up through February 6th to honour her father’s passing. George VI died in 1957 when Queen Elizabeth II was 25 years old. To this day, she commemorates his passing by holding onto the festive decorations until after the anniversary of his death.

Follow your neighbourhood’s tree disposal schedule

You can’t throw out your natural tree with the regular garbage; instead, your city or town will have scheduled Christmas tree removal procedures. Your council should offer options for composting or mulching your tree.

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