Throughout childhood, Black Friday meant more to me than holiday shopping. Thanksgiving was over, and it was time to brave the attic and dust off my favorite box: our Christmas tree. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized not everyone does the same thing, and that—gasp—some even wait until Christmas Eve to decorate theirs.
For me personally, the earlier a tree stands in my living room embellished with ornaments, tinsel, and bling, the longer I can marvel at its warm sparkle that brings me immense joy. “It create[s] that neurological shift that can produce happiness,” psychologist Deborah Serani, Psy.D., told Today. “[It] will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.”
Over the last year and a half, our world has experienced deep pockets of grief and hopelessness while wading through a pandemic. If we’ve learned anything, it’s to not only savor those little dopamine spikes, but to create them where we can, when we can.
So, if putting up a Christmas tree flips that cheery switch inside you, and you—like me—enjoy planning a decor theme (vintage, colorful, moody—there are so many options!) there’s no reason for you not to pitch your tree ASAP.
But alas, not everyone feels the same way about the process, and there are valid reasons behind each tradition. So it’s only fair that we investigate the other options to have a better understanding.
Right after Halloween
Because Thanksgiving doesn’t need its own decor, apparently. And if you really need the extra joy, you might opt for a Halloween tree (yes, it’s a thing) and later swap the spooky ornaments for some cheerful ones.
For many, December 1 marks the beginning of a new month and the official start of the Christmas season. It’s also just a nice, round, easily remembered date. According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, if you choose to decorate a real evergreen this is also an ideal date, as buying one earlier will leave it dry and dull by Christmas. Live trees typically last about four weeks when they’re well taken care of (make sure you inspect it for bugs!).
The Christian faith honors Advent season which begins four Sundays before Christmas, per the National Shrine of St. Jude, and ends on Christmas Eve. For that reason, many families choose to put up their tree at the beginning of advent, which this year, falls on November 28.
Somewhere between December 22 and Christmas Eve
The indoor Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 1600s, according to Time. And in that era, the tree was often brought inside a few days before Christmas, or even on Christmas Eve. To do so any earlier was believed to bring bad luck.
“Originally the Christmas tree was put up on Christmas Eve and left up until Twelfth Night (January 6),” Chris Craig, co-founder of Christmas at Home U.K. told Good Housekeeping. “But very few families follow this tradition now.” Some, however, still wait.
Bottom line: Put up your tree whenever it makes sense for you.
When it comes down to it, the evidence is clear. There’s no perfect day to put up a Christmas tree because, as we’ve learned, it’s a very personal event. Different cultures, faiths, and countries celebrate differently, so if you want to put up your tree after trick or treating, go for it. If you like to wait it out, that’s cool too.
But when it comes to the best time to take the tree down... well, that’s a whole other debate.
You Might Also Like