Christmas is almost here, which means we're counting down the days until we can enjoy long summer afternoons eating and drinking with family and friends, unwrapping presents and admiring the beauty of our gorgeous Christmas trees.
But when exactly is the right time to put up your tree?
Christmas goodies are now stocked in the supermarket and beautifully grand Christmas trees will start springing up in shopping malls alarmingly soon, making it rather confusing to figure out when to put up our own trees at home. So we went to the expect and asked for an exact answer.
Nicole Keleher is the director and head designer at My Christmas, a specialist Christmas store and online resource, based in Melbourne.
She says the answer depends on whether you have an artificial tree made from plastic or a fresh tree bought from your local supplier.
Fresh trees vary in how long they last. Some people report their trees only lasting two-three weeks, while some online suppliers claim if placed correctly and taken care of, fresh trees can last between four and six weeks.
"I've got a good friend who last year came into the store around November 25 and said 'We've got our real tree!' and then they came in a couple of weeks later, around December 15th and said 'Our tree is dead!', so we sorted them out," Nicole said.
"But the first of December is standard for artificial trees to be put up," she said.
If you're tossing up between a real or fake tree, Nicole says they're absolutely no shame in having a plastic tree.
"I love artificial trees. They make them so much easier to decorate and of course there's no expiry date for when they ask," she said.
So if you've got one of these, you can lean into the Christmas spirit on December 1st and start decorating!
Otherwise, if you're a fresh tree lover, wait until the second weekend of December to pick up your tree, to ensure it's looking fresh and sprightly on the big day.
"If you want a real tree, I would be holding off a little longer. In Europe they decorate their trees on Christmas Eve, because they want them to be as fresh as possible," Nicole said.
"The second weekend of December is ideal, so you can enjoy them for two or three weeks."
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If you're wondering when is the appropriate time to take down the Christmas tree, after December 25th has been and gone, we've also got the answer for you.
Unlike the varied dates for people to put up their tree, many people do stick to the same date to take down their tree — between January 5 or 6.
Traditionally, the twelfth night (meaning twelve days after Christmas) represents the true end of the festive period.
In Victorian times, and even before that, families used to celebrate this date by eating cake, dancing, and playing games.
It was always the tradition to take down decorations only on or after those dates, which is probably bad news to those who leave Christmas decorations up until February!
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