And the Christmas Tree Comes Down

Yesterday was Twelfth Night, the last of the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas. It's gone and taken with it the Twelve Drummers Creche 7Drumming, Eleven Pipers Piping and the rest of that leaping, dancing, twittering lot. If you went in for Twelfth Night festivities — the way my Regency folks probably did — you'd be sleeping off a surfeit the food and drink today

We've come to the feast of Epiphany.

In my house, this is the day we take all the Christmas stuff down.

Christmas tree 2014 4I had a small, small Christmas tree this year. Green branches in various places, but a small tree. Many beautiful presents from friends and family. Much love. But not so much decoration of the house.  (The Kid had all four wisdom teeth out two days before Christmas so I was mostly figuring out how to be festive with no solid foods.)

Today I took the little tree down and de-decorated it. I will go out in the next couple days and plant it in a specially wondrous spot at the edge of the woods. For me, here at the beginning of the year, this is re-creation and new committment and planting a tree goes with that.
3 kings
In other news, Epiphany is the day the Magi show up, bearing gifts.  Melchior, 118px-07._Camel_Profile,_near_Silverton,_NSW,_07.07.2007Caspar, and Balthazar bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Somehow I always think of camels on this date. They're bad-tempered, if you were wondering, and they bite.

So … when do you put up your Christmas tree and when do you take it down? And, like, why?

70 thoughts on “And the Christmas Tree Comes Down”

  1. Jo–I took my rather larger tree down Sunday afternoon because a)it was time, b) I was really tired of needles all over the house, and c) if I didn’t take it down, the newest rescue cat, Smokey MacGregor, might do it for me. *G* I love the sparkling lights and ornaments and scents of pine, but come January, it’s time to settle down to work again. And did I mention the needles???

    Reply
  2. Jo–I took my rather larger tree down Sunday afternoon because a)it was time, b) I was really tired of needles all over the house, and c) if I didn’t take it down, the newest rescue cat, Smokey MacGregor, might do it for me. *G* I love the sparkling lights and ornaments and scents of pine, but come January, it’s time to settle down to work again. And did I mention the needles???

    Reply
  3. Jo–I took my rather larger tree down Sunday afternoon because a)it was time, b) I was really tired of needles all over the house, and c) if I didn’t take it down, the newest rescue cat, Smokey MacGregor, might do it for me. *G* I love the sparkling lights and ornaments and scents of pine, but come January, it’s time to settle down to work again. And did I mention the needles???

    Reply
  4. Jo–I took my rather larger tree down Sunday afternoon because a)it was time, b) I was really tired of needles all over the house, and c) if I didn’t take it down, the newest rescue cat, Smokey MacGregor, might do it for me. *G* I love the sparkling lights and ornaments and scents of pine, but come January, it’s time to settle down to work again. And did I mention the needles???

    Reply
  5. Jo–I took my rather larger tree down Sunday afternoon because a)it was time, b) I was really tired of needles all over the house, and c) if I didn’t take it down, the newest rescue cat, Smokey MacGregor, might do it for me. *G* I love the sparkling lights and ornaments and scents of pine, but come January, it’s time to settle down to work again. And did I mention the needles???

    Reply
  6. Jo, I believe the traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th (at least on the Gregorian calendar), but many churches do shift observances of the day to the Sunday closest (January 4th this year). At our house we have an artificial tree so that we can keep it up until January 6th without the worry of fire hazard or mess that comes from those dry branches and needles. This time of year I always end up rereading that poem of Auden’s, “For the Time Being”–the last long bit of it that starts, “Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree. . .” and so beautifully uses the post-Christmas letdown as a metaphor for “the time being”– the uncertainty and apprehension of modern life (the poem was written just before WWII). (Attaching a link here–it’s the very long section in the middle.)
    http://www.cs.utsa.edu/~wagner/church/auden/
    Blessings,
    Melinda

    Reply
  7. Jo, I believe the traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th (at least on the Gregorian calendar), but many churches do shift observances of the day to the Sunday closest (January 4th this year). At our house we have an artificial tree so that we can keep it up until January 6th without the worry of fire hazard or mess that comes from those dry branches and needles. This time of year I always end up rereading that poem of Auden’s, “For the Time Being”–the last long bit of it that starts, “Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree. . .” and so beautifully uses the post-Christmas letdown as a metaphor for “the time being”– the uncertainty and apprehension of modern life (the poem was written just before WWII). (Attaching a link here–it’s the very long section in the middle.)
    http://www.cs.utsa.edu/~wagner/church/auden/
    Blessings,
    Melinda

    Reply
  8. Jo, I believe the traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th (at least on the Gregorian calendar), but many churches do shift observances of the day to the Sunday closest (January 4th this year). At our house we have an artificial tree so that we can keep it up until January 6th without the worry of fire hazard or mess that comes from those dry branches and needles. This time of year I always end up rereading that poem of Auden’s, “For the Time Being”–the last long bit of it that starts, “Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree. . .” and so beautifully uses the post-Christmas letdown as a metaphor for “the time being”– the uncertainty and apprehension of modern life (the poem was written just before WWII). (Attaching a link here–it’s the very long section in the middle.)
    http://www.cs.utsa.edu/~wagner/church/auden/
    Blessings,
    Melinda

    Reply
  9. Jo, I believe the traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th (at least on the Gregorian calendar), but many churches do shift observances of the day to the Sunday closest (January 4th this year). At our house we have an artificial tree so that we can keep it up until January 6th without the worry of fire hazard or mess that comes from those dry branches and needles. This time of year I always end up rereading that poem of Auden’s, “For the Time Being”–the last long bit of it that starts, “Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree. . .” and so beautifully uses the post-Christmas letdown as a metaphor for “the time being”– the uncertainty and apprehension of modern life (the poem was written just before WWII). (Attaching a link here–it’s the very long section in the middle.)
    http://www.cs.utsa.edu/~wagner/church/auden/
    Blessings,
    Melinda

    Reply
  10. Jo, I believe the traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th (at least on the Gregorian calendar), but many churches do shift observances of the day to the Sunday closest (January 4th this year). At our house we have an artificial tree so that we can keep it up until January 6th without the worry of fire hazard or mess that comes from those dry branches and needles. This time of year I always end up rereading that poem of Auden’s, “For the Time Being”–the last long bit of it that starts, “Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree. . .” and so beautifully uses the post-Christmas letdown as a metaphor for “the time being”– the uncertainty and apprehension of modern life (the poem was written just before WWII). (Attaching a link here–it’s the very long section in the middle.)
    http://www.cs.utsa.edu/~wagner/church/auden/
    Blessings,
    Melinda

    Reply
  11. Jo, I plug in my mungy minitree sometime in December and unplug it when the spirit moves. Since I was taking down the outside swag, and the box the tree goes in was on top of the box the swag goes in, I put it away this evening.
    I never take down all the Christmas stuff. Outside lights are forbidden here two weeks after the holiday ends but nobody but an eagle and one neighbor who leaves her inside lights up all year round can see the inside of my balcony, so I flip them to my side and wait til the batteries run out. I kind of collect small Santa figures and there are always some of them around; I think they’re cheerful. They mix well with the Doctor Who and Star Trek action figures 🙂

    Reply
  12. Jo, I plug in my mungy minitree sometime in December and unplug it when the spirit moves. Since I was taking down the outside swag, and the box the tree goes in was on top of the box the swag goes in, I put it away this evening.
    I never take down all the Christmas stuff. Outside lights are forbidden here two weeks after the holiday ends but nobody but an eagle and one neighbor who leaves her inside lights up all year round can see the inside of my balcony, so I flip them to my side and wait til the batteries run out. I kind of collect small Santa figures and there are always some of them around; I think they’re cheerful. They mix well with the Doctor Who and Star Trek action figures 🙂

    Reply
  13. Jo, I plug in my mungy minitree sometime in December and unplug it when the spirit moves. Since I was taking down the outside swag, and the box the tree goes in was on top of the box the swag goes in, I put it away this evening.
    I never take down all the Christmas stuff. Outside lights are forbidden here two weeks after the holiday ends but nobody but an eagle and one neighbor who leaves her inside lights up all year round can see the inside of my balcony, so I flip them to my side and wait til the batteries run out. I kind of collect small Santa figures and there are always some of them around; I think they’re cheerful. They mix well with the Doctor Who and Star Trek action figures 🙂

    Reply
  14. Jo, I plug in my mungy minitree sometime in December and unplug it when the spirit moves. Since I was taking down the outside swag, and the box the tree goes in was on top of the box the swag goes in, I put it away this evening.
    I never take down all the Christmas stuff. Outside lights are forbidden here two weeks after the holiday ends but nobody but an eagle and one neighbor who leaves her inside lights up all year round can see the inside of my balcony, so I flip them to my side and wait til the batteries run out. I kind of collect small Santa figures and there are always some of them around; I think they’re cheerful. They mix well with the Doctor Who and Star Trek action figures 🙂

    Reply
  15. Jo, I plug in my mungy minitree sometime in December and unplug it when the spirit moves. Since I was taking down the outside swag, and the box the tree goes in was on top of the box the swag goes in, I put it away this evening.
    I never take down all the Christmas stuff. Outside lights are forbidden here two weeks after the holiday ends but nobody but an eagle and one neighbor who leaves her inside lights up all year round can see the inside of my balcony, so I flip them to my side and wait til the batteries run out. I kind of collect small Santa figures and there are always some of them around; I think they’re cheerful. They mix well with the Doctor Who and Star Trek action figures 🙂

    Reply
  16. I didn’t put up a tree this year. I did buy flowers in red and white. I need to take them out.
    My lights I would have used if I put up a tree went to work, and the tall guys took them down yesterday. Thanks to them, I didn’t have to stand on a work chair with wheels.
    I bought a white globe light that was half-price at the grocery store along with batteries. Since I have been busy cleaning, I haven’t gotten that out. If I like it, I can continue to have light even though Christmas is past.

    Reply
  17. I didn’t put up a tree this year. I did buy flowers in red and white. I need to take them out.
    My lights I would have used if I put up a tree went to work, and the tall guys took them down yesterday. Thanks to them, I didn’t have to stand on a work chair with wheels.
    I bought a white globe light that was half-price at the grocery store along with batteries. Since I have been busy cleaning, I haven’t gotten that out. If I like it, I can continue to have light even though Christmas is past.

    Reply
  18. I didn’t put up a tree this year. I did buy flowers in red and white. I need to take them out.
    My lights I would have used if I put up a tree went to work, and the tall guys took them down yesterday. Thanks to them, I didn’t have to stand on a work chair with wheels.
    I bought a white globe light that was half-price at the grocery store along with batteries. Since I have been busy cleaning, I haven’t gotten that out. If I like it, I can continue to have light even though Christmas is past.

    Reply
  19. I didn’t put up a tree this year. I did buy flowers in red and white. I need to take them out.
    My lights I would have used if I put up a tree went to work, and the tall guys took them down yesterday. Thanks to them, I didn’t have to stand on a work chair with wheels.
    I bought a white globe light that was half-price at the grocery store along with batteries. Since I have been busy cleaning, I haven’t gotten that out. If I like it, I can continue to have light even though Christmas is past.

    Reply
  20. I didn’t put up a tree this year. I did buy flowers in red and white. I need to take them out.
    My lights I would have used if I put up a tree went to work, and the tall guys took them down yesterday. Thanks to them, I didn’t have to stand on a work chair with wheels.
    I bought a white globe light that was half-price at the grocery store along with batteries. Since I have been busy cleaning, I haven’t gotten that out. If I like it, I can continue to have light even though Christmas is past.

    Reply
  21. I always feel as if the tree and greenery should go up on Christmas Eve and come down on Epiphany, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. Not when the public decorations appear all over the place before Advent even begins and vanish before New Year’s.
    It doesn’t seem quite right.
    Maybe I belong in my own historicals.

    Reply
  22. I always feel as if the tree and greenery should go up on Christmas Eve and come down on Epiphany, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. Not when the public decorations appear all over the place before Advent even begins and vanish before New Year’s.
    It doesn’t seem quite right.
    Maybe I belong in my own historicals.

    Reply
  23. I always feel as if the tree and greenery should go up on Christmas Eve and come down on Epiphany, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. Not when the public decorations appear all over the place before Advent even begins and vanish before New Year’s.
    It doesn’t seem quite right.
    Maybe I belong in my own historicals.

    Reply
  24. I always feel as if the tree and greenery should go up on Christmas Eve and come down on Epiphany, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. Not when the public decorations appear all over the place before Advent even begins and vanish before New Year’s.
    It doesn’t seem quite right.
    Maybe I belong in my own historicals.

    Reply
  25. I always feel as if the tree and greenery should go up on Christmas Eve and come down on Epiphany, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. Not when the public decorations appear all over the place before Advent even begins and vanish before New Year’s.
    It doesn’t seem quite right.
    Maybe I belong in my own historicals.

    Reply
  26. Pine needles. Ah yes … in the old days when I was buying large and beautiful trees imported from some other state I filled the house with pine needles as a byproduct of the holidays.
    I would walk around barefoot and discover them ouch ouch ouch. Then I would clean them OUT of the house for six weeks after the tree left.

    Reply
  27. Pine needles. Ah yes … in the old days when I was buying large and beautiful trees imported from some other state I filled the house with pine needles as a byproduct of the holidays.
    I would walk around barefoot and discover them ouch ouch ouch. Then I would clean them OUT of the house for six weeks after the tree left.

    Reply
  28. Pine needles. Ah yes … in the old days when I was buying large and beautiful trees imported from some other state I filled the house with pine needles as a byproduct of the holidays.
    I would walk around barefoot and discover them ouch ouch ouch. Then I would clean them OUT of the house for six weeks after the tree left.

    Reply
  29. Pine needles. Ah yes … in the old days when I was buying large and beautiful trees imported from some other state I filled the house with pine needles as a byproduct of the holidays.
    I would walk around barefoot and discover them ouch ouch ouch. Then I would clean them OUT of the house for six weeks after the tree left.

    Reply
  30. Pine needles. Ah yes … in the old days when I was buying large and beautiful trees imported from some other state I filled the house with pine needles as a byproduct of the holidays.
    I would walk around barefoot and discover them ouch ouch ouch. Then I would clean them OUT of the house for six weeks after the tree left.

    Reply
  31. Epiphany is further enriched by some folks stubbornly sticking to January 19 — preferring to have nothing to do with the changeover to the Georgian calendar.
    All part of life’s rich pageant.
    As I dislike the six-week commercial frenzy before Christmas I’m rather fond of the custom in some parts of Germany of bringing greenery and the Christmas tree into the house only on Christmas Eve. The big holiday party is then New Year’s Eve and January 6, Epiphany, is about right for putting everything away.
    I do love Auden, and that poem of Auden’s, so much.

    Reply
  32. Epiphany is further enriched by some folks stubbornly sticking to January 19 — preferring to have nothing to do with the changeover to the Georgian calendar.
    All part of life’s rich pageant.
    As I dislike the six-week commercial frenzy before Christmas I’m rather fond of the custom in some parts of Germany of bringing greenery and the Christmas tree into the house only on Christmas Eve. The big holiday party is then New Year’s Eve and January 6, Epiphany, is about right for putting everything away.
    I do love Auden, and that poem of Auden’s, so much.

    Reply
  33. Epiphany is further enriched by some folks stubbornly sticking to January 19 — preferring to have nothing to do with the changeover to the Georgian calendar.
    All part of life’s rich pageant.
    As I dislike the six-week commercial frenzy before Christmas I’m rather fond of the custom in some parts of Germany of bringing greenery and the Christmas tree into the house only on Christmas Eve. The big holiday party is then New Year’s Eve and January 6, Epiphany, is about right for putting everything away.
    I do love Auden, and that poem of Auden’s, so much.

    Reply
  34. Epiphany is further enriched by some folks stubbornly sticking to January 19 — preferring to have nothing to do with the changeover to the Georgian calendar.
    All part of life’s rich pageant.
    As I dislike the six-week commercial frenzy before Christmas I’m rather fond of the custom in some parts of Germany of bringing greenery and the Christmas tree into the house only on Christmas Eve. The big holiday party is then New Year’s Eve and January 6, Epiphany, is about right for putting everything away.
    I do love Auden, and that poem of Auden’s, so much.

    Reply
  35. Epiphany is further enriched by some folks stubbornly sticking to January 19 — preferring to have nothing to do with the changeover to the Georgian calendar.
    All part of life’s rich pageant.
    As I dislike the six-week commercial frenzy before Christmas I’m rather fond of the custom in some parts of Germany of bringing greenery and the Christmas tree into the house only on Christmas Eve. The big holiday party is then New Year’s Eve and January 6, Epiphany, is about right for putting everything away.
    I do love Auden, and that poem of Auden’s, so much.

    Reply
  36. I am picturing Star Trek, Dr Who and Santa Figures all clustered about, chatting through the long nights.
    We need more holidays when we can decorate things with strings of little lights.

    Reply
  37. I am picturing Star Trek, Dr Who and Santa Figures all clustered about, chatting through the long nights.
    We need more holidays when we can decorate things with strings of little lights.

    Reply
  38. I am picturing Star Trek, Dr Who and Santa Figures all clustered about, chatting through the long nights.
    We need more holidays when we can decorate things with strings of little lights.

    Reply
  39. I am picturing Star Trek, Dr Who and Santa Figures all clustered about, chatting through the long nights.
    We need more holidays when we can decorate things with strings of little lights.

    Reply
  40. I am picturing Star Trek, Dr Who and Santa Figures all clustered about, chatting through the long nights.
    We need more holidays when we can decorate things with strings of little lights.

    Reply
  41. Folks buy Poinsettias in the season. Beautiful plants, but I think the red color goes away after a while and doesn’t come back. I kind of remember it needs some sort of special greenhouse lighting to make it do the red.
    This is definitely the time of year to buy Christmas lights though. I see them all over the place on sale.

    Reply
  42. Folks buy Poinsettias in the season. Beautiful plants, but I think the red color goes away after a while and doesn’t come back. I kind of remember it needs some sort of special greenhouse lighting to make it do the red.
    This is definitely the time of year to buy Christmas lights though. I see them all over the place on sale.

    Reply
  43. Folks buy Poinsettias in the season. Beautiful plants, but I think the red color goes away after a while and doesn’t come back. I kind of remember it needs some sort of special greenhouse lighting to make it do the red.
    This is definitely the time of year to buy Christmas lights though. I see them all over the place on sale.

    Reply
  44. Folks buy Poinsettias in the season. Beautiful plants, but I think the red color goes away after a while and doesn’t come back. I kind of remember it needs some sort of special greenhouse lighting to make it do the red.
    This is definitely the time of year to buy Christmas lights though. I see them all over the place on sale.

    Reply
  45. Folks buy Poinsettias in the season. Beautiful plants, but I think the red color goes away after a while and doesn’t come back. I kind of remember it needs some sort of special greenhouse lighting to make it do the red.
    This is definitely the time of year to buy Christmas lights though. I see them all over the place on sale.

    Reply
  46. I use colored Christmas lights to let me know my birdbath heater is on and that I’ve turned on the space heater in the kitchen. It is sooo easy to forget to turn them off.
    When it is cold I always have that cheerful strand of colored Christmas lights on inside the house. It makes the cold days seem a tad bit more cheery.
    As for the string of lights in the tree in the backyard – only 1 neighbor can see it and it isn’t on every night – just those nights it will be 32 or below.

    Reply
  47. I use colored Christmas lights to let me know my birdbath heater is on and that I’ve turned on the space heater in the kitchen. It is sooo easy to forget to turn them off.
    When it is cold I always have that cheerful strand of colored Christmas lights on inside the house. It makes the cold days seem a tad bit more cheery.
    As for the string of lights in the tree in the backyard – only 1 neighbor can see it and it isn’t on every night – just those nights it will be 32 or below.

    Reply
  48. I use colored Christmas lights to let me know my birdbath heater is on and that I’ve turned on the space heater in the kitchen. It is sooo easy to forget to turn them off.
    When it is cold I always have that cheerful strand of colored Christmas lights on inside the house. It makes the cold days seem a tad bit more cheery.
    As for the string of lights in the tree in the backyard – only 1 neighbor can see it and it isn’t on every night – just those nights it will be 32 or below.

    Reply
  49. I use colored Christmas lights to let me know my birdbath heater is on and that I’ve turned on the space heater in the kitchen. It is sooo easy to forget to turn them off.
    When it is cold I always have that cheerful strand of colored Christmas lights on inside the house. It makes the cold days seem a tad bit more cheery.
    As for the string of lights in the tree in the backyard – only 1 neighbor can see it and it isn’t on every night – just those nights it will be 32 or below.

    Reply
  50. I use colored Christmas lights to let me know my birdbath heater is on and that I’ve turned on the space heater in the kitchen. It is sooo easy to forget to turn them off.
    When it is cold I always have that cheerful strand of colored Christmas lights on inside the house. It makes the cold days seem a tad bit more cheery.
    As for the string of lights in the tree in the backyard – only 1 neighbor can see it and it isn’t on every night – just those nights it will be 32 or below.

    Reply

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