In my childhood, the christmas tree was put up on Christmas Eve. We began celebrating on Christmas day and continued until Epiphany. Yesterday I was surprised to learn that a friend had already taken down her tree and removed all vestiges of Christmas. The initial surprise was tempered by the recognition that she is a secularist, who was raised in a home where no faith was practiced.
Yes, by by the Christian calendar, Christmas season begins on Christmas. However, according to the secular world, the Christmas Selling Season begins about Labor Day so most people are sick of it by December.
After Christmas, the secularists celebrate New Years Drunken Party Time which runs until after the Super Bowl, which is getting later and later. After Valentines Day Selling Season comes Mardi Gras/St. Patricks Day Drunken Season.
In my childhood home, the Christmas tree and all of its glorious decorations were also not put up until we children were in bed on Christmas Eve. Ditto for the train garden, which became more and more elaborate over the years.
Turning 12 signaled my time to be allowed to stay up on Christmas Eve and help decorate the tree. I was so excited to be able to participate in such a grown-up activity with my parents and older siblings. What a letdown it was to get up the next morning and see the tree that I had already seen before going to bed.
We, too, celebrated Christmas through Epiphany.
When my children were small, I initially did the tree the same was, but, as they got older, we put the tree up a little before Christmas, and they helped. They are all adults now, and some have their own children.
I have maintained the practice of waiting until Epiphany to take everything down. It’s always a little sad.