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Here's when to take down your Christmas tree, according to experts

Wondering how long you can leave your tree up? Here's what to know.

The 2023 Christmas season has officially come to an end.

If putting up a Christmas tree was part of your annual holiday tradition, then chances are you were super into the decorating of it all, whether your evergreen was artificial or fresh off the tree lot.

But no matter your tree preference, one question always remains post-holiday: How long is it acceptable to leave your tree up after Christmas is through?

It's a fair question, and one many people wonder about, given that holiday decor protocol can often be a hotly-debated topic. Some argue that Christmas trees (real or fake) should be taken down as soon as Santa heads back to the North Pole, while others have no problem leaving them up well past Valentine's Day.

What do the statistics say? According to a 2022 Home Decor Report from Opendoor, 84 percent of responders say that they take their holiday decorations down sometime in January, with 51 percent aiming to put them away on or around New Year's Day.

To help get the facts straight on when it's officially time to take the tree down for the season, asked the experts to weigh in. A few answers are rooted in Christian tradition, while other guidance comes straight from Christmas tree farmers and pest control experts.

Like most things, there's not necessarily a right or wrong answer, which means that it's ultimately up to you to decide what's best for you and your family.

Here's what to know.

New Year’s Day

Many people love ending the year with a brightly lit tree, but it seems like many have taking down their tree high atop their list of New Year’s resolutions.

“January 1st is that clear marker of time that the holidays are over and a new beginning is here,” Ariana Lovato, owner and principal designer at Honeycomb Home Design, tells “Time to clean up the home, clear up the clutter and take a breath from the stress of the holidays.”

January 6

“Many people will take down their artificial Christmas tree, wreath or holiday decor during the week following New Year’s Day so as to start the year anew or wait until January 6 as the final day to remove all holiday decor,” Lewis Puleo, vice president at Puleo International, the oldest artificial tree company in the country, tells

January 6 is known as the Epiphany, Little Christmas or Three Kings Day. From the perspective of religion tradition, it's the day that the Magi (the Three Kings or the Wise Men) brought gifts to the infant Jesus, so it makes sense for many to mark this as the last day for the Christmas season. 

And as the song goes, there are indeed 12 days of Christmas, with the last being January 6.

Any time in January

According to the 2020 “Undeck the Halls” report by Neighbor, more than half of Americans won’t frown upon keeping decorations up past January 1. You might start to get the side-eye from your neighbors at a certain point, though: 31% said decorations should come down by January 15, while 33% extended the deadline to February 1. 

Domestic living room decorated with Christmas fir tree and holiday decor
It's up to you when your tree comes down.Yana Iskayeva / Getty Images

When your tree says it's time

“Growing up on a Christmas tree farm in the South, we’ve heard so many different perspectives on when the ideal time to take down the tree is,” Kaitlin Carpenter, a second-generation Christmas tree farmer in Ashe County, NC, and owner of Third Day Market, tells “The undressing of the Christmas tree has become more and more of a personal, highly opinionated topic, where no one is wrong and yet, no one is right.”

That said, if you have a real Christmas tree in your midst, it’s really up to the fir itself to decide when it comes down. And unfortunately, it might be sooner rather than later.

If your tree is exhibiting any of the following signs, Carpenter says it might be time to take down your tree, no matter the date:

  • The needles are falling, either on their own or with the touch of your hand
  • The limbs are stiff or droopy
  • It smells musty rather than like citrus or pine
  • The tree doesn’t seem to be taking in much or any water

A dehydrated tree can be dangerous in your home, especially if have lit candles nearby. In fact, a holiday safety report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that fires resulting from dry Christmas trees and holiday candles causes nearly $56 million in property loss each year.

Aside from that inherent danger, a real Christmas tree might also, unfortunately, invite other natural things to spend Christmas with you. 

“Homeowners should inspect and shake Christmas trees, wreaths and other live greenery thoroughly before bringing into the house,” Scot Hodges, pest expert and A.C.E. Certified entomologist at Arrow Exterminators, tells “Store all holiday decorations in plastic, airtight containers and when retrieving from the attic or basement, inspect them outdoors before bringing inside.”

Hodges recommends that you also seal up any holes or cracks around your foundation, put a screen over vents and chimneys, and close up any openings near exterior doors and windows to keep unwanted visitors. If there’s any sign of pests or rodents, it’s time to remove the tree and contact a pest professional.

Don’t let any of this sway you from having a real tree, though. “With proper care, you could easily enjoy your tree from Thanksgiving through the New Year or Epiphany, because who doesn’t want to make the holidays last just a little bit longer,” Carpenter adds.

But really, take down your tree anytime you want

Provided you have an artificial tree — or maybe you just have a green thumb — you can leave your tree up for as long as you want. It’s your house, your rules. What's more, the aforementioned Neighbor report found that 9% of respondents wouldn’t mind if you kept your decorations up all year.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to prolong the festivities. But there might be something else to keeping your holiday decor up well past the season.

“The tree can be thought of as a transitional object/security blanket,” Amber Dunford, a design psychologist and the style director for Overstock, tells “It’s a symbol of comfort for us, so it makes sense that people want to carry it with them throughout all seasons because Christmas can be such a magical time.” 

Whatever your Christmas decoration timeline is in your home, it’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all.