It’s tradition that Christmas decorations should come down on twelfth night… but it twelfth night January 5th or January 6th? It depends whether the first day of Christmas is Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We always count actual Christmas Day as day one, so for us our decorations will be taken down and put away tomorrow. We put them up a couple of weeks before the 25th December – if my daughter had her way it would be on December 1st, if not earlier; however at home when I was a child, although some paper chains might be put up before, the Christmas tree was decorated on Christmas Eve.
Somehow, to me it made it more exciting. Dad would bring in the tree which he had bought at the cattle market, and would have put it in a pot, and then my sister and I would burrow into the box of decorations and arrange them on the tree. To see the same decorations, year after year was special, and as Dad had made most of the baubles (he had to make many of his own scientific instruments in the lab where he worked so he was an expert glass blower and worker) they were particularly special and lovely. In fact I still have two of them, with their little cork stoppers and tiny wire hoops to attach to the tree. We had tinsel, which I think of as the strands of silvery stuff, and we carefully took it off the tree on January 6th and collected and kept it for next year, and we had the other sort of tinsel which Wikipedia describes as ‘a type of decorative material that mimics the effect of ice, consisting of thin strips of sparkling material attached to a thread’.
The tree we have now is a living tree – it might seem ridiculous, but it seems cruel to buy a tree which has been grown and cut from its roots and sold knowing it will die. So we have a living tree which we keep out in the garden for the rest of the year. Obviously it grows over the year, and so the tree we have now is not the first we ever had. Our trees are called Tim, and this must be about Tim Eight, I guess. So tomorrow, once his decorations have been removed, he will be put out in the utility area where it’s very cold to acclimatise before he is put outside for the rest of the year.
We don’t decorate the house a great deal, the cards we are lucky enough to receive attached to ribbons, some tinsel, a few annual ornaments, some nice candles, fairly lights outside as well as on the tree… For some reason this year we had neither holly or mistletoe in the house. We have a holly tree in the garden so we cut of some lovely berried branches, and mistletoe we get from the greengrocer’s. As custom dictates, a sprig is always ‘forgotten’ and so remains in the house to bring us luck throughout the year. It should be burned on the fire when it is replaced, but we don’t have an open fire so it just goes out and into the garden. However, as we have no new mistletoe, last year’s will remain in place.
It’s always sad to take down the decs, but it has to be done… the rooms will seem very echoey and dull for a while… but time flies, and no doubt before we know it, we will be putting them up again, and bringing in Tim from the garden.
My featured image is of Tim Tree number six… or seven… growing happily in the garden where we have retired him.