How Long Should A Christmas Tree Stay Up?

My Christmas Tree before January 13. 

My Christmas tree is still up. I’m a slacker. I hate that it’s the middle of January and it’s still in the window. At least it’s naked. I did take down the kids’ tree in the family room, the stockings, and the Hanukkah decorations. But that tree in the living room, facing the road? That bothers me. In fact, every time I pass it, I think, if you were on top of your game that tree would be down. 

I know people whose tree has been down since December 31st. I heard that’s a tradition in Texas. Is that true? Anyway, here in New Jersey, I do know people whose tree is down, put away, and forgotten for another ten months. Why can’t I be this person?

I could say, “I’m busy. I work, have two teens I have to drive everywhere, laundry, blah, blah, blah.” There are plenty of reasons for me to justify why that tree is still up. I mean, maybe I want to hang Valentine’s Day cupids on it. Or I could hide Easter eggs in it. But all the reasons in the world don’t stop me from thinking I should have that tree down by now. I mean, what am I waiting for really? Couldn’t I get up from my desk right now and pull that tree apart and shove it into the bag? I could, but then I wouldn’t be talking with you and it’s almost lunch time. I have to eat every two hours like an infant so I’d have to wait at least until after lunch and then I have to pick Noodge 2 up at the end of the school day for her first activity so I can’t start then. There’s always tomorrow when everyone is home and maybe someone taller than I am could help me.

And the tree still stands.

I don’t waste any time putting the tree up. Every Thanksgiving weekend. So why can’t I make the time to take it down? Not as much fun? The holiday let down? Both. There is so much anticipation as the holidays approach. The festivities, the lights, the presents, time with friends and family. Then after what’s left? Cold and dark January nights. The weeks after Christmas are so anticlimactic. I told myself the tree is pretty and I can sit with a cup of tea gazing over at it as if something magical would appear through its branches while Nat King Cole croons in the background.

I think I’ve been sipping the egg nog punch again.

I can procrastinate with the best of them and I work best with a deadline. I can even impose my own deadlines on myself and meet them. How’s that for anal retentive? So, why is the tree still up? What does that say about me? Failure to meet objectives.  I wouldn’t be getting a raise if I was at my old job. I’ll tell you that.

If I was a young adult, would the inability to finish taking down the tree be a failure to launch from the holidays into the dregs of ordinary life?

I could dare myself to keep the tree up all year.

What’s the solution? Drag it out onto the porch as an offering of a new housing development for squirrels and chipmunks? I could spray paint the branch tips white and pretend it snowed inside. Maybe if I act like it is already down others will start to believe me. I could make them think they’ve been sipping the egg nog punch too.

I’ll try not to pass judgement on myself. I’ll be kinder to those who suffer from the same condition: Tree Removal Procrastination. (TRP) I could start a support group. Save lives. Save the world!

The tree still stands. At least for another day.








8 thoughts on “How Long Should A Christmas Tree Stay Up?

  1. Your tree is beautiful! There’s something mesmerizing in “watching” the tree. My husband laughs when I say I’m going to sit in the living and watch the tree. He asks without fail, what do I expect that it’s going to do? I usually leave it up until January 14th. That’s my husbands birthday. Then it comes down. I had a friend, who has passed on, who always left hers up until Valentine’s Day. Whatever makes you happy!

    1. Thank you for the kind words about my tree! I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes to sit and watch the tree. It seems to be a habit in many homes. Happy Birthday to your husband! I’m sorry you lost your friend. All the way until Valentine’s Day? That’s a love of Christmas.

  2. So funny! Taking the tree down is depressing. I don’t blame you for still having it up. (It’s beautiful!) We get a real tree every year. I keep it in the house until it’s a dried up fire hazard and even then, I take it down reluctantly.

    You’re not procrastinating, you’re extending the wonderful holiday. Watching the tree is an enjoyable pastime. You go!

    1. Thank you for telling me my laziness is a good thing!! I like having you around, Kim. I’ve never done a real tree. The Coffee King is Jewish so I never wanted to impose the whole go to the tree lot every year thing on him. Though, I love the idea of a family tradition, going to the tree farm on a cold day, a little snow in the air, the smell of cedar in the air, picking the perfect tree and then having hot chocolate together before bringing the tree home to decorate.

  3. Back in my apartment days, mine stayed up until Feb too. Hubby takes it down now, but at least he waits until the Epiphany (Jan 6). And I love watching the tree too, esp when the house is quiet. 🙂

    1. One year, back in my apartment days also, I kept the tree up until Feb. It’s embarrassing. I didn’t even have kids then. The Coffee King will help me take down the tree if I ask. Otherwise, it’s on me. If I waited for him, it would never come down. 😉

  4. Taking it down is never as fun as putting it up. But I like to think that it is the limited-time relevance of trees at Christmas, jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween, fireworks on the Fourth of July, etc., that endow those holidays with their particular specialness: If we could have those things all year long, what we would look forward to?

    1. I have to agree with you. The anticipation of all the things you mentioned are part of the excitement. Anything routine becomes ordinary. And honestly, do you know how much dust a tree would collect if it was left up all year long? It would just be something else to clean.

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