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When should you take your Christmas tree down according to tradition?

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree… (Picture: Jessie Casson/Getty Images/Digital Vision)
Yes, hard as it may be to accept, tradition dictates that you can actually leave your Christmas tree up for too long.

We’ll soon be back to having sad, drab, fairy light-free living rooms again because the Twelfth Night is drawing near.

As we continue to recover from Christmas dinner and the ensuing leftover feasts, here’s when we’re supposed to say goodbye to the festive season and take down our trees for the year.

When should you take your Christmas tree down?
Taking Christmas trees down on the Twelfth Night is a custom which stems from the fact that Christmas celebrations used to last for an additional 12 days after Christmas.

This is because it’s said that after Jesus was born, John the Baptist came to baptise him on January 6.

Therefore the night on which we are traditionally supposed to take down our Christmas trees falls on 5 January or 6 January depending on who you ask.

This is bec..

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christmas tree decorations
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree… (Picture: Jessie Casson/Getty Images/Digital Vision)

Yes, hard as it may be to accept, tradition dictates that you can actually leave your Christmas tree up for too long.

We’ll soon be back to having sad, drab, fairy light-free living rooms again because the Twelfth Night is drawing near.

As we continue to recover from Christmas dinner and the ensuing leftover feasts, here’s when we’re supposed to say goodbye to the festive season and take down our trees for the year.


When should you take your Christmas tree down?

Taking Christmas trees down on the Twelfth Night is a custom which stems from the fact that Christmas celebrations used to last for an additional 12 days after Christmas.

This is because it’s said that after Jesus was born, John the Baptist came to baptise him on January 6.

Therefore the night on which we are traditionally supposed to take down our Christmas trees falls on 5 January or 6 January depending on who you ask.

This is because some count Christmas Day as one of the twelve nights, while others start counting on Boxing Day.

a christmas tree with decorations on
Say goodbye to whimsy, gingerbread and festive joy, and say hello to Twelfth Night and 2020. (Picture: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Folklore also used to have people convinced that tree-spirits would make their homes in the trees, holly, and ivy that people had decorated their houses with because they wanted a place to take shelter from the winter weather,

If the spirits weren’t out of people’s homes after Christmas, it was thought that they’d have a poor harvest.

Eventually superstition and religious custom appear to have combined – making the Twelfth Night the customary day on which Christmas trees come down.

Environmentally friendly ways to get rid of a Christmas tree

Unfortunately, fake Christmas trees are not recyclable as they are made with a combination of materials, so if you need to get rid of one of these, you’ll have to either donate it if it’s still useable or bin it if it’s not.

When it comes to organic trees, Sam Lyle, founder of Pines and Needles, told Metro.co.uk: ‘Chipping or composting them is the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of your tree.

‘Some councils will collect and compost them, or you can take them to the tip and put in garden waste.’

Sam also pointed out that Pines and Needles ‘offer a collection service where the trees are chipped and then go to places like London Zoo where it’s perfect bedding for porcupines, and also some goes to parks and playgrounds. After that the next best is burning it.’

Request for wrapping paper to match christmas presents in lights in evening festive room on background of christmas tree in warm illumination on eve. space for text. modern craft gifts. merry christmas and happy new year
*sigh* No more presents under the tree until next year (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Meanwhile Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, has previously said: ‘A real pine or fir tree naturally absorbs CO2 and releases oxygen. The best thing you can do at Christmas is keep a tree alive and breathing.’

So if at all possible, one of the greenest options would be having a live tree and replanting it every year come the Twelfth Night.

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