Yes, I know this site was designed to share “living and loving Europe by way of Germany”, but 2020 wasn’t exactly the year for exploring Europe…….or Germany! So, until we are able to travel again, I’m just talking about whatever is on my mind.
As with most years, by the 2nd of January, I start thinking about what Christmas decorations I can start dismantling without my husband giving me grief. I think he just loves Christmas and hates for it to end any earlier than January 6th ♥
I don’t necessarily recall any specific day or time my family took ours down; both parents worked and it was kind of like whatever is the first weekend after New Year’s Day when they could find time to dismantle (and reorganize it better for the following year) and get it to storage, but it was NEVER before New Year’s Day! In fact, they often hosted a NYE party, and the Christmas Décor helped make the whole house festive.
I’m not in any rush to remove it; I just always feel like if I start doing the easy stuff here and there (remove the banister décor in the stairwell and the candles from all the windows, etc.), there will be a lot less to accomplish when the day arrives to take it all down and do a better job of organizing/packing than the previous year.
For some, the date they put it all up might play a significant role in when they take it down. If the year sucked so bad that you were ready for Christmas to start the day after Halloween, then by NYE, you’re probably very tired of seeing it! My daughter almost always has no signs of Christmas remaining in or outside her house by 26 December! The only sign of Christmas might be some leftover food in the fridge; otherwise by the 26th her house looks the same as it does in mid-July! No, she did not get that from me! We love still seeing our tree lit on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
However, every year, I question why do I have to wait until January 6th? So, here’s the answer:
Since the Victorian era it has been traditional to remove Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night.
Every year people are left scratching their heads, trying to work out when the date falls and why.
It’s either January 5 or January 6, depending on what you’re celebrating.
Twelfth Night falls on January 5 and Epiphany is the following day, the date the Maji (Three Wise Men) arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the baby Jesus.
Twelfth Night is so-called because traditionally Christmas was a 12-day celebration starting on December 25. This can cause some confusion as some will class January 6 as Twelfth Night as it’s the 12th day after Christmas.
However, if you take your decorations down before then it’s considered bad luck, and if they remain up after January 6 then according to tradition they should stay out all year.
Up until the 19th century Brits would keep their decorations up until Candlemas Day on February 2, although the Queen still keeps hers up until early February.
Why is taking them down early considered unlucky?
The last day of Christmas festivities is traditionally on January 5, the eve of Epiphany.
In years gone by it was believed that tree-spirits living in the greenery used to decorate homes, such as holly and ivy.
The festive period provided shelter for these spirits during winter, but they needed to be released outdoors once Christmas was over. If they weren’t the greenery and vegetation would not return, leading to agricultural and food problems.
Some people still adhere to this superstition despite fewer decorations involving foliage. (Reference: Mirror.co.uk)
Having nothing at all to do with superstition of any kind, I once left my Christmas tree up until mid-March! After my husband was deployed to Iraq for three consecutive Christmas’s, and was scheduled to return stateside mid-March, I thought it was appropriate to greet him with one of the three Christmas’s he missed! (I don’t recall any bad luck that came our way by leaving it up so long!)
I once encountered a lady who left her tree up year-round; No, she did not move it to another room or cover it with a sheet from year to year. She just loved Christmas and wanted to keep the spirit in her home year-round. When I entered her home in May or June, the tree was lit up just like most on Christmas Day!
For me, if it was up all year, it might seem a little less spectacular during the actual Christmas season. My husband hates my scenarios, but to me that’s a lot like indulging in Crème Brûlée EVERY day of the year; by the 7th or 8th day, it’s hardly special any more 😊
However, I do recall saying that if we ever build our own home from scratch, I want a “Christmas Tree ROOM” included; something on the main level, near the living or family room, so I could complete the decorations just once after move-in, then wheel it into “it’s own room” until the next year. That was back when we used to wrap every single branch with strands of lights, spend hours untangling lights or replacing bulbs, and it could easily take six hours to fully decorate just the tree! It was a real back breaker. By the time we actually built three different homes from the bottom up, pre-lit trees were my saving grace. I never did get that “Christmas Tree Room”!
2020 was so very difficult for EVERYONE. So many suffered a variety of losses, from loved ones and close friends, jobs and income to being forced to permanently close their business and significant financial losses. Many were nursed back to good health, or nursed others. And whether or not their lives were actually touched by COVID, many just struggled with depression, lack of social interaction, being stuck in their home alone……..or worse, perhaps not alone when they would rather be!
As a result, although I did hear a lot of people say they were ready for the Christmas tree in September just to raise the household spirit a bit, others indicated they were ready to scrap Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and anything at all related to 2020. They just wanted to move right into 2021 with some hope and forget 2020 ever happened.
A few of my friends just could not get into the Christmas spirit this year and did not put up a tree. And depending upon where you live (for example much of Europe), and you’re on lockdown with a curfew, that means you can’t entertain like you usually do, so many people didn’t bother with the decorations.
I have to admit, that going to our usual extent on the decorations this year felt a little “over the top”, knowing we were the only two who were ever going to appreciate them, but that happened to be what worked for us in 2020. With my husband teleworking most days, and both of us spending day after day in the same house with the same person, I felt like it was time to pull out the Crème Brûlée!
" I salute whatever got you through 2020, wherever you summoned the courage and determination to be a survivor and help others survive, and whatever higher power you called upon for strength and hope.”
I salute whatever got you through 2020, wherever you summoned the courage and determination to be a survivor and help others survive, and whatever higher power you called upon for strength and hope. I applaud you for the personal preferences you laid aside in an effort to keep others safe, and to heal the world.
If 2020 caused even a portion of us to be more considerate of others who were more at risk than we were, to purchase gift cards from struggling businesses to help keep them afloat, to recognize and acknowledge the sacrifices of healthcare workers and first responders, to leave larger tips for those whose jobs are in jeopardy, and to exercise more tolerance of our friends and family whose beliefs do not match ours, then maybe 2020 afforded us the opportunity to keep Christmas in our hearts beyond the 6th of January! With or without a tree and lights, maybe the kindness shown to strangers during the Christmas season is supposed to be with us all year.
Wishing everyone a new year filled, first and foremost, with hope and good health, and beyond that, with love and happiness. I am grateful for my family, friends, and everyone who reads “whatever is on my mind” until such time as I can once again share what’s great about living in, and loving Europe!