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  • Writer's pictureKäthe Wohlfahrt

How long should the Christmas decorations be left up?

Every single year when the Christmas decorations are brought down from the loft or up from the basement and lovingly put up all around the house it is a wonderful time as the anticipation for Christmas builds.

Every family usually follows its very own tradition about when the Christmas decorations are unpacked, which rooms are decorated first and which decorations are selected and also how long the decorations will be left up.

Whilst the first gingerbread already appeared in some supermarkets at the start of September, most people hold back on Christmas decorations in their own home. However, as the days get colder and family life moves to the cosy lounge again, the desire to let it sparkle in festive cheer and to celebrate Christmas together grows.

Huge fans of Christmas start decorating at the start of November, as soon as Halloween and All Saints’ Day are over and the autumn decorations are slowly packed away again. That is usually when the first incense smokers and snowballs can be found on window sills and shelves, maybe not with Christmas motifs like angels or Saint Nicholas straight away but initially snowmen and Christmas trees.

For others, the week after the Sunday before advent when the dead are commemorated at the end of November is traditionally the starting signal for Christmas decorations. What are usually put up first are the advent wreaths and of course the advent calendar. Whether it’s a traditional garland or a modern version with little doors and packages, a lovingly filled advent calendar not only lights up children’s eyes.

When the first candle is lit on the advent wreath at the latest, Christmas is heralded throughout the house with all its decorations and the festive sparkle spreads a cheerful atmosphere putting you in the mood for the festivities. Now the Christmas pyramids rotate in the candlelight, Schwibbogen shine out of lit up windows on cold wintry roads and incense smokers and nutcrackers find their places in the lounge. The nativity scene, the most festive of all decorations, is often only brought out just before Christmas when the nativity figures reveal what happened on Christmas Eve.

Opinions are often divided on the issue of whether the Christmas tree is put up and decorated at Christmas or whether the family enjoys it during advent. One compromise is to put up the tree early and decorate it with baubles and other tree decorations but only light the candles for the first time on Christmas Eve.

However, the festive period and Christmas unfortunately fly by every year and the question is: How long should the Christmas decorations be left up? It is really difficult to pack the nativity scenes and pyramids into boxes again and store them away until next year.

Opinions also differ here. For many families the feast of Epiphany on 6th January is when the time has come to take down the Christmas tree decorations. Some people though only add The Holy Three Kings nativity figures to their nativity scene on this day and leave everything up for a few more days. As the Christmas mood may continue for quite a while outside due to the cold, dark winter days and snow flurries, the 2nd February, Candlemass, is also occasionally defined as the end of Christmas too and the last incense smoker is packed away in his box on this date at the latest.

One thing is for sure: Regardless of whether the Christmas decorations only gladden the heart during advent or the house is lit up from the start of November until well into January: it’s all simply part of Christmas. Whatever you do with your Christmas decorations, we wish you and your family a wonderful advent and a Happy Christmas.

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