When Do You Take Down the Christmas Tree?

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….
Christmas Tree

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.

when do you take down your Christmas Tree
(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.

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).

Taking down the Christmas Tree

It is a little sad to see the tree come down. Everyone is less excited about packing things away. The living room looks a lot bigger when it’s gone, and I know we will be finding needles on the rug for weeks.


Next year we will have a new tree. We will tell the same stories about how certain ornaments came into our world… and we will enjoy the lights and piney smell once again.


7 thoughts on “When Do You Take Down the Christmas Tree?

  1. My tree also went up the weekend before Christmas, although we did cut it down the Sunday before that. I will keep it up until right after the 6th. Actually this year it will be the following weekend. Here in the area of Maine where I live many people put up their tree Thanksgiving weekend if not just a little earlier.

    1. I watched the trees going up even BEFORE Thanksgiving in my neighborhood… Not for me

  2. Usually January 6th unless the tree can make it until Candlemass. Merry 4th day of Christmas!

  3. Hi I am from Austria. our tradition is close to the Germans, especially Bavarians. Beginning with the 1. Advent (Count back 4 Sundays to Christmas), we are putting up an Advent-wreath (Adventskranz), During the first December days we are decorating the house and the entrance door. Outdoor trees and other Light-decorations are put up. But the Christmas tree inside is the very last item. Parents silently are putting it up just before the 24 th to surprise the family, all before the kids. After the tradition of the “Heiligen Drei Könige”, where groups from the church are visiting each house and sing their songs and spend ther blessings, presumably at the Christmas tree, on the 6 th of January, the tree comes down. Meanwhile because of so many houses to visit the Kaspar-Melchior-Balthasar Kings with the Sternenträger are coming days before the 6th and so some families put it down earlier. It is just it has to stay till the kings have blessed the peoples in front of the tree. In farmer houses they Keep the tree up till the 2nd of February (Lichtmess), which was in former times the switching of the maids and servants in their houses.

    1. Yes… exactly… this makes everything more meaningful… not so disposable.

  4. The wiseman didn’t find Baby Jesus until months later. That is why King Herod had the males babies 2 and under killed.

  5. Our tree usually goes up Christmas Eve day, or the 23rd if we’re feeling ambitious, and stays up till Jan. 8th, our wedding anniversary, so we get two weeks out of it. It gets pretty dry by that point.

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