When do you have to take down your Christmas decorations? I really need to know.
I do realise that many of you have already
packed up Christmas 2018 in your loft. You have put your Christmas tree out at the end of your drive to be recycled by your ever helpful local Council. Poor Christmas tree: after weeks of being made to feel special, festooned with shimmering baubles and glittery
garlands, it now finds itself devoid of decoration and awaiting collection with the domestic rubbish. Oh, how are the mighty fallen! I am rather glad that my (artificial) tree is small and perfectly formed - and that it will live to serve another year, enlivening
my lounge with its presence.
No, what I really need to know is: when is Twelfth Night, when decorations must come down for fear of bad luck in the year ahead.
Not that I believe in bad luck, you understand - I don’t throw salt over my shoulder if I happen to spill any on the table, for example. I would walk under a ladder if by doing so I would avoid a deep puddle - wet feet would be such a misfortune, don’t
you know? In fact, I am not at all superstitious. Touch wood.
I consult my Little Sister when she contacts me via FaceTime so that we can discuss our personal
Christmas Experiences. She tells me she will be taking down her decorations tomorrow, which is January 5th. I explain that I have always thought that January 6th was D Day (as in, Decorations Down Day.) Because my Little Sister and I never, ever argue (we
never have, in all our lives - not many sisters can stake such a claim) we both accept that the other may, indeed, be right. Which doesn’t actually resolve anything.
None of this would have been a problem had the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, visiting us on Wednesday, found time to divest our living room and hall of seasonal decorations. Bless her, she simply ran out of time, having made up beds, cooked meals,
filled the dishwasher and washing machine, hung up wet clothes on the drier, cleared the fridge of out of date food, helped me order Mr B’s birthday present on-line and listened to me endlessly chuntering on about my Life and Times. To be honest, I was
secretly pleased that the decorations (including my small but perfectly formed Christmas tree - do you think I am protesting too much!?) had to stay in place for a few more days. Our living room will look SO bare without the strings of cards, the candles on
the mantelpiece, the red lights glimmering on the tree.
I take to my Best Friend Google for a definitive answer to the D Day question only to find that Confusion
Reigns. Some say January 5th, others swear the Decorations Down Day is the following day. One source informs me, very precisely, that I need to do my Decoration Duty by midnight on January 5th. Which is January 6th in my book - not that I will be packing up
my baubles at midnight when any self-respecting person would be tucked up in bed.
Did I ever tell you that I was born at two minutes to midnight on 6th June
- and that the clock was wrong? This interesting fact has entered into family folklore, owing to the fact that my dear Mum was always certain that the clock was not just wrong, but was also slow - meaning that I was actually born on June 7th. Apparently the
midwife who attended my birth was having none of it.
Perhaps this explains why I am prepared to stretch the truth about Twelfth Night. My tree (please add description)
will stay in place until Sunday when I will strip it of its baubles and remove, with many apologies, its many branches. I will then store it, plus all the other decorations, in a spare room until such a time as we welcome a visitor prepared to clamber up into
the murky heights of the loft for me.
Then - and only then - will Christmas be Officially Over.