When Should You Take Your Christmas Tree & Decorations Down?

Taking down your Christmas tree may feel like the end of a joyful period, and when you do, it is entirely down to you. For some, the date of choice is the Twelfth Night on 5th January. But many choose something else.

For a season that is anticipated for months, we don’t get to enjoy the Christmas celebrations for long. Shops might start selling Christmas cards and candy canes as early as August, but the Christmas period itself is only twelve days long. 

So, the question of when to take down your artificial Christmas tree and Christmas tree decorations is always a debate. 

Do you take them down on Boxing Day after the relatives have departed and the festivities are over? Or do you leave them up for longer, enjoying the carols and baubles as long as possible? 

Thankfully, there are several answers to these questions, and there’s no right or wrong time to take your Christmas decorations down. 

When to take your Christmas tree down

Several traditions and festival dates are tied to the question of when to take down your Christmas tree and decorations. Many of these are feast days according to Christian tradition, such as:

  • Twelfth Night
  • Epiphany 
  • Candlemas 

But it’s equally acceptable to take your Christmas decorations down on New Year’s Eve. 

That gives you plenty of options for when to take down your Christmas tree. But why do we do these things? 

Twelfth Night 

Twelfth Night falls on 5th January and is one of the most popular times to take down the Christmas trees and decorations. That’s because it’s the natural end of the festive season. 

The liturgical season of Epiphany starts on 6th January. From that point onwards, the narrative and theological focus of the church shifts from Jesus’ birth to the appearance of the Magi. 

But while Twelfth Night is a popular day to take down your Christmas tree, it’s not the only answer to this question. 


Popular as Twelfth Night is, Epiphany or 6th January is the other favourite time to take down Christmas trees, Christmas baubles and other Christmas lights

Even this is contentious, though, since some people count the twelve days of Christmas from 25th December and others from Boxing Day. So, this affects the decision about when to take down your Christmas tree.

So, which is correct and when does Epiphany start?

Fundamentally, it’s a matter of taste. Epiphany is an old Christian feast day first observed by the Eastern Church. In its conception, Epiphany was about Christ’s birth as much as it was about the Magi. It was also the central liturgical feast of the winter season.

Over time, Epiphany became the Feast of the Three Kings, and people celebrated it on the 6th of January. Over the years, it acquired various other names, including:

  • Theophany
  • Three Kings Day
  • Little Christmas

But even this isn’t a definitive answer to the question of when to take your Christmas tree down. As the Eastern church never made the switch to the Gregorian calendar, their Christmas Day is the 6th of January, the Western church’s Epiphany. The Orthodox Epiphany, meanwhile, falls on the 19th of January. 

Whenever Epiphany falls, it puts a natural cap on the Christmas festivities, possibly because of the Magi’s association with gift-giving. Those who don’t take their Christmas tree down on the Twelfth Night leave it until the next day. 

However, others leave their Christmas trees and decorations up even longer. That’s because common Christian tradition is to build a crib or Nativity scene over multiple Advent Sundays and Feast Days. 

But if not Epiphany or Twelfth Night, when do you take down your Christmas tree and festive decorations? 


According to the Catholic church, the answer to this question is Candlemas day. While some superstitions say it’s unlucky to leave Christmas decorations up past 6th January, an answering superstition suggests it’s bad luck to take them down before Candlemas.

Sometimes called The Presentation of Christ in the Temple or the Purification of Mary, Candlemas celebrates the presentation of baby Jesus and Mary at the temple 40 days after his birth. 

It’s also the original festival of light. These days we associate light with Epiphany, maybe because of the star that led the Magi to the crib. 

Historically, Candlemas was the time of year when medieval churches issued their congregants with new candles. Not only does this explain how the festival got its name, but it also explains how it came to be the focal point of the year. 

People needed candles for light, and having them blessed in the church brought extra luck as the days grew longer. Symbolically, candles and Christmas lights represent the light of Christ entering the homes of observant parishioners.

But the medieval world was also incredibly superstitious and not afraid to mix its religion with a bit of magic. 

People not only cast charms to keep elves away, but they were convinced that taking your Christmas greenery down any earlier than Candlemas was courting bad luck – and goblins. 

Everything in medieval society had spirits. Trees and greenery, like holly, ivy and mistletoe, all had corresponding sprites and devils. 

You had to get them out of the house at the end of the festive season but not before last year’s supply of candles were replaced by the freshly blessed candles of the Candlemas service. Otherwise, you risked a house overrun with gremlins and no God to stop them. 

This folk belief has since been corrupted, and now it’s seen as bad luck to keep your Christmas tree and decorations up after Epiphany. 

But for really good luck, try keeping them up until Candlemas and enjoying the 40 extra days of festive spirit. 

New Year’s Day 

Yet another superstition says that if you leave your Christmas tree up later than midnight on 31st December, you risk bringing the old year’s troubles into the new one. 

For that reason, many people choose to take down their Christmas tree before midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

Other traditions explicitly state you cannot bring mistletoe into the house earlier than New Year’s Eve, meaning that whatever decorations you’re taking down, this is one you should be putting up as the old year dies. 

The Royal Command 

For those who don’t feel the six days from Christmas Day to the New Year are long enough to do their Christmas decorations justice, there’s good news! 

You can take the lead from Queen Elizabeth II as Her Majesty keeps her decorations at Sandringham until 6th February. This is later than custom dictates, but it also has sentimental importance because it’s the anniversary of the death of King George VI. 

The Royal Family have long spent Christmas at Sandringham, and the practice is to leave the Christmas decorations up as long as they are in residence. The Queen’s closeness with her father is well-established in various letters and journal entries. 

Accordingly, she stays at Sandringham to observe the anniversary of his death, and as long as she stays, so do the Christmas decorations. 

What should you do with your Christmas tree and decorations after taking them down?

Taking down your festive decorations shouldn’t be a hassle. But ensuring that your Christmas tree and decorations are safely stored should be your priority to take the stress away from next year. 

Investing in a Christmas tree storage bag is a great way to store your artificial Christmas tree and keep it looking pristine for years to come. Adding scented items to the bag, like scented pinecones or coffee grounds, is also a great way to keep your Christmas tree smelling fresh.

Prepare for the festivities 

So, when should you take down your Christmas tree and decorations? Opinions vary, which is not surprising given the Western and Orthodox Christian views can’t agree when their various feast days fall.

When it comes to how long you should keep your Christmas decorations up, it’s a matter of personal taste. 

You now have some idea as to when to take your tree down, but if you want to know when to put your Christmas tree up, check out our guide.

We can spend hours dressing and trimming the perfect Christmas tree, decorating it with beautiful, twinkling lights and Christmas tree accessories such as Christmas tree skirts, so it’s only natural to want to reap the rewards of that hard work for as long as possible. Shop our entire Christmas tree shop range today!