Tuesday, December 31, 2013

When Should Christmas Decorations Come Down?

I have noticed some very distinct and strong schools of opinion on the length of time after Christmas Day it is appropriate to display Christmas decorations.  What got me thinking about it this year was waking up the Saturday after Christmas (the 28th, this year), and while looking out the kitchen window as I poured my morning coffee, seeing the neighbors were completely dismantling their outside Christmas display.  I said, "Well, it looks like Christmas is over at the neighbors!"

Meanwhile, here on the 31st, our tree is still up, the ceramic village is still out, gifts are still in boxes and bags under the tree waiting to be put away in drawers and golf bags, and our outside lights are still burning 24/7 (I will probably at least unplug them today, even if I don't take them down until the weekend).

Here are the general patterns I've noticed - feel free to identify yourself here, or add one I didn't cover:

A. The Scrooge - takes down the decorations as quickly as possible, ideally on Christmas Day while the family is off work/school and all together.  As soon as the last present is opened, don't be surprised to see The Scrooge emerge from the attic with boxes and announce, "OK, if everyone pitches in, we can get this cleaned up, taken down, and back in the attic before dinner's ready!"

B. The Fire Marshall - may be on a similar timetable as The Scrooge, but the primary motivation is getting rid of that large, dry, green combustible covered with electrical wires in the corner of the living room.

C. The Pragmatist - always takes down the decorations on the Saturday after Christmas.  It could be the 26th, it could be the 31st, but you can count on their schedule every year.

D. The Day Minder - similarly predictable and reliable like The Pragmatist, The Day Minder isn't bound by a day of the week, but by a date on the calendar.  Each Day Minder chooses their own date, the two most popular are New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Once established over a three-year pattern, their date can be counted on with certainty.

E. The Liturgical Purist - knows that there are 12 days of Christmas that run through and include Epiphany (January 6).  They are often found mumbling to themselves that for a society that makes such a big deal of Christmas, we don't actually know when it ends and begins.  They use the word "Advent" a lot in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and have been known to hide the baby Jesus figurine in other people's nativity scenes while mumbling something like "He hasn't been born yet - wait until Christmas, people!" (If this happens to you, you'll find him in the nearest drawer.) The extreme Liturgical Purist will only have blue and/or purple lights on their tree until December 24, and no, that's not their theme, it's an Advent Tree.  It will become a Christmas Tree on December 25 when they re-string it white and/or gold lights (but never red and green).

F. The Elf - "Why in the name of Santa would we take down our Christmas decorations?"

Which one best fits you, and why?  What is your reasoning for how long the decorations stay up?  Are there different rules for outdoor decorations and indoor ones?  What categories did I miss?


  1. Haha, I'm totally going to start hiding people's baby Jesuses next year!

  2. Jesus figurine was in our baptismal font until Christmas Eve