With New Year over and the first day back at work underway or looming heavily over our heads, eyes are turning to the Christmas trees in the corner.
Real tree recycling points are already welcoming their first festive offerings, and the tinsel knows its days are numbered.
But when should you take your Christmas decorations down?
Once a big celebration on January 5th, this has been the traditional time for taking down Christmas decorations since Victorian times.
Leaving them up after that date is thought to bring back luck - though some say you avoid suffering ill fortune if you then keep them up until Shrove Tuesday (or even until the following Christmas, according to some superstitions).
Twelfth Day of Christmas
The Feast of Epiphany (January 6th - the day following Twelfth Night), on which date the three wise men are said to have arrived at the stable where Jesus was born.
Many people have adopted January 6th as a good marker, and often people take January 6th to be Twelfth Night.
This does seem like an excessively long period of time, but until the 19th Century, people would keep their traditional evergreen decorations up until Candlemas Day on February 2nd, 40 days after the birth of Jesus, which officially marked the end of the the Christmas season.
It’s worth remembering our ancestors didn’t put their decorations up until Christmas Eve, not just after Halloween as is often the case today…
New Year’s Day
In an age where trees appear from the end of October, many people get fed up with Christmas clutter and can’t wait to sweep the house clear of them.
New Year’s Day is traditionally a new beginning, so this is a good day if you’ve become fed up with festivities and want to begin the new year and stop living in Christmas 2015.
The day you go back to work - or the night before
Let’s face it, these days the celebrations are over once you go back to work (if you’ve been lucky enough to have the whole festive season off).
Many people find coming home to a houseful of Christmas decorations a bit of a depressing reminder of the holiday that is now over, so taking down the tree, lights and wreaths a bit earlier than Twelfth Night can be an appealing idea.
In summary, we’re not aware of anyone being struck by lightning as a direct result of leaving their decorations up until January 7th (or taking them down before January 5th). And few people can be found still flying tinsel come February 2nd (though there are some).
So perhaps taking them down when the time feels right is the best thing to do. Good luck, and best wishes for 2016.