We wish we could keep our Christmas trees up year-round. No room will ever feel cozier than when it’s filled with garland, twinkling lights and of course, a decorated tree. There’s something about walking into a room and smelling the citrusy aroma of a pine tree or having twinkly lights on in the evenings that makes us extraordinarily reluctant to leave this one piece of Christmas behind.
Alas, Christmas will soon be over, and the time to take down our beautifully decorated, delightful-smelling trees is fast approaching. Although some people (perhaps a Scrooge?) are thrilled to get an oversize plant out of their house, many of us feel quite sad about letting go of the tree. We’re happy to put it off for as long as possible — maybe even a little too long.
Before you decide to get rid of the tree, it’s a good idea to check your city to see if there are any restrictions for throwing out a tree or if they have scheduled pickup dates for them. Now, you’ve decided to clear the room of all Christmas cheer (insert crying emoji here) and all that’s left to do is pick a date. Some people choose dates for superstitious reasons, some for religious reasons and some just pick a date that’s most convenient for them (usually sometime in February). Here are three of the most popular dates to take down the tree:
Dec. 31: Take your tree down on New Year’s Eve before the bells toll at midnight. Otherwise, it’s said you’ll be dragging all your baggage and bad luck from last year into the new year… if you’re superstitious about these things, that is.
Jan. 5: Take your tree down on this day, traditionally considered the Twelfth Day of Christmas — i.e., the last of 12 days of Christmas merriment. Think of it as getting closure on the holiday season.
Jan. 6: Take it down on Jan. 6 in observance of the Epiphany, a Christian holiday marking the revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus. Again, some would say leaving your tree up beyond the 5th or 6th brings bad luck.
A version of this article was originally published in December 2015.