Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On Christmas Decor

I've been quasi packing my Christmas gear and wondering how folks out there handle the transition of seasons from Christmas to ordinary time?  As of right now, we are planning to keep up the tree and door wreath until the official end of Christmas this Sunday.  Down went our candles in the windows yesterday.  Down goes the lit garland around our door today.  If you were to look down our street, you'd have a hard time believing Christmas was just over a week ago!  

What do you do?  Do your decorations stay up post Epiphany Sunday?


MomVee said...

We keep everything up until the Baptism on the authority of a priest friend who does the same. Then it all goes away except the creche, which stays up until Candlemas--otherwise the Magi wouldn't get much time out of the box. :)

PS We put the tree _up_ on Christmas Eve.

Right Said Red said...

We spoke with a knowledgeable priest at our parish about the "Christmas Season" because of some confusion on our part about when "Christmas" officially ended. He informed us of the following:

1) Christmas begins on the 25th, and this is the biggest, most important feast of the Christmas season

2) The day after Christmas is also a big feast and should be celebrated accordingly

3) The octave of Christmas (eight days) is the most celebratory part of the season, and should be filled with feasts/celebrations

4) The end of the Octave, Feast of Mary Mother of God (Jan 1), should be VERY celebratory and is technically the 2nd biggest Feast of the Christmas season.

5) The Christmas season officially extends until the Baptism of Christ, but the feasts/celebrations between Mary Mother of God and the Baptism of Christ aren't as big of a deal as the Octave.

What all this means:

We tend to take decorations down and end the celebrating after Epiphany Sunday (post Octave, pre-end of Christmas season). Is this the right thing to do? I don't know, but our tree was dying and ornaments were falling off so we disassembled everything yesterday. We still have our outdoor lights up, but those will probably come down this weekend.

Margaretjdmom said...

We keep it all up until the Baptism of the Lord. But we also don't put much up right when Advent starts. The first Sunday of Advent the creches (sans Baby Jesus) and the Advent Wreath come out, the Second Sunday of Advent the outdoor wreath, garland, and lights, the Third Sunday of Advent more decorations (sometimes the tree too- it depends on if my husband will budge on that one! He prefers to do it on Christmas Eve, but I have a lot of other stuff to do then!). That way our tree isn't totally dead by the Baptism of the Lord. My reasoning is that the church's decorations stay up until the Baptism of the Lord, so mine should too!! The liturgical colors are white until this Sunday. We go back to green on Monday.

On a side note- I feel really weird not celebrating the Ephiphany on January 6th!!

Right Said Red said...

As an aside, I have a live Christmas tree question-- how do you all keep your trees alive until the Baptism? We live in an urban area, so we can't really cut down our own tree. Regardless of when you buy your tree, they chop them all down at the beginning of advent, so even if you wait until Christmas Eve to put the tree up (this sounds like a very stressful tradition btw), it is still dead by Epiphany Sunday. I'm tempted to feel that the only way to avoid this problem is either #1 put up a fake tree or #2 cut your own tree down closer to Christmas. Is there another alternative that I am missing?

kathleenob said...

In answer to Right Said Red's question, if you want to keep your tree green, you might want to fake it. I grew up with real trees and when my husband insisted on fake trees I was appalled. No fresh smelling pine or tree axing expedition? However, submitting to my husband on this point hasn't been all that bad. 1. There are no pine needles to clean. 2. The lights come already on the tree, which I remember my mom stressing about every Christmas. 3. We go out of town after Christmas so there is no worry about it dying. 4.( and this is my Husbands real reason for insisting on a fake tree.) My brother in law was a volunteer fire fighter and saw one too many family's Christmas ruined by Christmas tree fires.

To make myself feel better, I call it our "permanent" tree, not fake.

As a side, I don't put very many ornaments on the tree (just one long ribbon wrapped around the tree, a few balls and candy canes and each kid gets one special ornament) so that I won't have as much to take down.

Joelle said...

We've been putting aspirin in the water of our tree (about two tablets a week) and it's still pretty healthy. And we put it up on the first Sunday of Advent! I've heard of other concoctions involving soda in the water, but you'd have to look that up. Flower shops also sell some kind of powder, but you would need a lot of it to keep a tree up for that long. It's also important to water it every day.

Frances said...

Re keeping the Christmas tree alive -- my DH bought this Christmas tree preservative (comes in a little red packet) and our tree is still beautiful -- he just adds a tsp. with the water every day.

We bought our tree on Gaudete Sunday from the KoC and decorated it the Sunday before Christmas. We take things down on the Baptism of the Lord. This year we might keep the creche out until Candlemas.

We're also still singing Christmas carols with the kids, reading Christmas books, etc. So much fun to keep celebrating during this cold winter!

Kate E. said...

Hmmm my decorations stay up until I can browbeat my husband to help take them down. He usually says it has to be post-epiphany but this is really just an excuse...see the year the tree was up until Valentine's Day as evidence.

I was hoping for this weekend but he will be out of town so it looks like they will be around for at least another week. Our outside decorations need two people to get down and our tree is a bit much for me to handle on my own as well. But I think I will start packing things up this week.

Red, we do chop down our own tree and our tree farm guy says add nothing but keep watered and it will last a really long time. So far ours is going strong (from 12/6).

Maybe next year you can make a trip up here, our tree day is super fun and involves a big delicious breakfast at our favorite country cafe...it's not that far!

texas mommy said...

The very thought of packing up decorations at this moment has me exhausted. After all the festivities, we need a few weeks to recover enough to pack up our Christmas decorations...another reason to be thankful for the long time to celebrate! They may all stay up until Candlemas this year...

Jess said...

Just a side note, if you have pets, be very careful adding anything to tree water in case they drink it. Most are very toxic to pets, even if they're not very chemically oriented. We can't seem to keep our cats from drinking out of the toilet, so we just let the tree die and when it was done we took down the tree, but left the rest of the ornaments.

Cathy said...

Nothing comes down until after Sunday. Leaving the creche out until Candlemas is a great idea. Maybe we'll do that!

We used to take down the tree as soon as it got to be a fire hazard, but we had to buy a fake one for our soon-to-be brother-in-law last year, so the tree can stay up indefinitely!