The post-Christmas period offers a series of familiar annual dilemmas, from when to take out your bins to how to use that leftover turkey.
The thorny question of when it’s time to say goodbye to your lovingly decorated Christmas tree and return your festive decorations to the attic is a topic of particular debate.
Ultimately, of course, it’s entirely up to you (although your tree may start to look a little sad from here, say, March…) but various traditions have developed around the “right” times.
When to take apart your Christmas decorations?
According to tradition, Christmas trees and decorations should be taken down on the twelfth night or Epiphany to avoid bad luck after the festive season.
The belief has grown in modern times, with Professor Groom explaining, “It was basically the Victorians who decided that Christmas decorations should be taken down after 12 days because they wanted everyone to work. They fixed it as the Christmas season in the 19th century.
Indeed, before this unfortunate summary of the holiday season, the Tudors continued to party until February 1.
This date marked the eve of Candlemas, a Christian holiday marking the day the infant Jesus was presented to God in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Roman Catholics can still choose to keep their tree in perfect festive working order until February 2, according to Candlemas traditions.
And Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day on January 7, which makes them more likely to save their tree and decorations much later in the month.
When is Twelfth Night?
Different Christian traditions define the date of the twelfth night as January 5 or 6, depending in part on how the 12 days of Christmas are calculated.
For many, Christmas Day marks the “first day,” which would give Twelfth Night its earlier date, while others believe the 12 Days of Christmas begins on Boxing Day.
Matters are further confused by whether Twelfth Night ends on the 12th day after Christmas itself, or falls the day before.
As Professor Nick Groom of the English Department at the University of Exeter previously said I: “Twelfth Night is Twelfth Day’s Eve – we always refer to Christmas Eve as Christmas Eve. “
Observance is also widely considered to mark the coming of Epiphany, a Christian holiday falling on January 6, which means different things depending on which church you follow.
He is originally from the East where Christians celebrate the birth and baptism of Jesus. The Western Church began to follow him in the 4th century, the day the sages were led by the star to visit the infant Jesus, according to the Nativity story.
How long does a Christmas tree last?
In the UK, many people buy their trees in early December to get in the festive mood – but again, there is no ‘correct’ date to erect them.
According to Advent custom, the tree was to rise four Sundays before Christmas, which this year fell on November 28. However, in Roman Catholic tradition, the Christmas tree is not installed until the afternoon of Christmas Eve itself.
If you go for a real tree, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association recommends that you can purchase one from the beginning of December, adding that a well-maintained tree should last four weeks or more.
The longevity of your tree depends on its size and type, with a Nordmann fir remaining intact for five to six weeks indoors, while Norway spruce may start to lose needles after a few weeks.
Why do we have Christmas trees in UK?
Many believe that the tradition of Christmas trees in Britain began during Queen Victoria’s reign, between 1837 and 1901.
However, the first Christmas tree in the UK may well have been installed earlier than that, by Queen Charlotte, the German wife of King George III in the 1790s.
The trend spread after Prince Albert brought a Christmas tree from Germany for his wife Queen Victoria in the 1840s and the royal couple made their decoration fashionable.