Once Christmas is over, you may start to think about returning to work and getting your home back to normal.
The baubles and tinsel will go back into storage and you’ll be faced with the task of taking down and disposing of the Christmas tree, if you bought a real one. With around 6 million trees being sold in Britain every year, it’s a problem a lot of us will have to face. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that difficult if you plan properly.
When to take the tree down
It may feel as though you’ve only just put the tree up and it’s already coming up to the time to take it down again. You might want to get the most out of it by leaving it up longer – after all, recent figures show that the average household spends £43 on cards, decorations and the tree for Christmas every year. So when is the right time for the tree to come down?
There are varying ideas about when the Christmas tree needs to be gone by. One popular tradition states that you should take it down by the end of the 12 days of Christmas. This starts on Christmas Day, and ends on either the 5th or 6th of January. The confusion about the last day depends on whether the start of Christmas is Christmas Eve night or Christmas Day itself. Either way, if you follow Christian traditions, you should look to have the tree down by one of these dates.
Some people get rid of the tree earlier, on New Year’s Eve. For the superstitious, it’s thought to be bad luck to leave your old tree up into the New Year. This apparently brings all the baggage and bad luck of last year into the New Year, so be sure you take it down early if you believe in that sort of thing.
However, you might want to take it down even earlier, such as on Boxing Day or the day before you go back to work after the Christmas break. If you’ve had the tree up since the start of December, you may be getting a little tired of it by now, so you could be ready to take it down as soon as possible.
Packing the decorations away
Whilst putting the tree up can be tricky if you’re trying to get it just right, you’re rewarded when you’re done with a festive feeling that helps you get ready for Christmas. In contrast, taking the tree down is a largely thankless task, and you may be tempted to rush through it to get it done as quickly as possible. However, if you just throw all of the decorations into a box haphazardly, you’ll curse yourself come next Christmas when you’re faced with a tangled mess of lights and cracked baubles.
Save yourself some time next year and help to prevent breakages by packing your decorations away neatly and protecting the fragile ornaments. If you don’t have the original boxes for your decorations, you can store smaller baubles in egg boxes or slot larger ones in a cardboard wine carrier. Stop the lights from getting tangled by wrapping them neatly around a large jar or a coat hanger so they‘ll be easy to put up next year and the wire is less likely to break.
Make sure to label all of the boxes clearly so you know where all of the decorations are stored, and throw away any broken ornaments as you pack. You can also make DIY padding by using old wrapping paper folded up between fragile decorations so they’ll be less likely to break before next Christmas.
Getting rid of the tree
Once the decorations are all put away, you’re faced with getting rid of the wilted live Christmas tree. Depending on where you live, this shouldn’t be too difficult as some councils will take the tree away for you. If you have a garden waste bin, you may be able to leave it next to the bin on your next collection day. However, if your council doesn’t offer this service, you may need to take it to a local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) – as long as you can fit the tree in your car.
If you can’t get to a HWRC, you may be able to contact the council for a free pick-up, as some authorities will do this for Christmas trees. You should contact your local council to see what their policy is, as they will have some rules in place.
Alternatively, if you bought a smaller Christmas tree in a pot, you could replant this in your garden. Just make sure you put the tree in a large enough pot for its roots and you might be able to save money by reusing it next year.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.