I walk almost every day … for fitness, for air, to get out of the house… so I get a daily view of what’s going on in the neighborhood. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I saw Christmas decorations go up. Decorated trees filled windows…
But then Christmas ended.
The VERY next day, discarded trees started lining the sidewalks. In fact, I think some were already out before Christmas Day ended.
And that made me wonder….
When do you take down your Christmas Tree?
There was a hard and fast rule in our German home. The Christmas Tree stays up until after January 6, the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany. For any of you who forgot your Sunday School lessons, the Epiphany is the day when the Three Kings or Wise Men arrived at the stable in Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ Child. In fact, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, children receive gifts on THIS day… not the 24th or 25th. In some Catholic areas of Germany, the tree is even left up until Feb 2, Candlemas!
In fact, it’s considered UNLUCKY to take the tree down early. (And I really need all the luck I can get). So… the tree comes down on the 7th.
(Of course.. this messes me up with the community “Tree Collection” programs… they all want my tree earlier. And there was an unfortunate incident where I got into an argument with a boy scout leader who couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t budge… )
January 7th is the end of Weihnachten for me… and the day I am finally ready to let Christmas go back into the storage boxes. Ornaments are wrapped and placed carefully into boxes, lights are wrapped around a spool so they can be used again next year, and the tree top Angel (who we keep swearing we will replace) gets packed away.
And then, only then … I can add my tree to the trees on the sidewalk.
ps. I guess it helps that in our home, we set up the Christmas Tree much later than our neighbors. This year, I was perfectly happy to set it up the weekend before Christmas. So the tree is still fresh, and not dropping needles yet. (The youngest child is in charge of keeping it watered).