Updated: Jan 5, 2018
The Twelfth Night is traditionally considered as the last day of Christmas and when we should take our decorations down. There's some discussion as to whether this is the 5th or 6th January - but the 6th falls on a Saturday this year, so I'm going with that!
One belief stems back to yester-year when people decorated their homes with ivy and holly. They used to think tree spirits lived in the greenery and made sure all their festive ornaments and trimmings were taken down in the first week of the new year to set them free.
If the custom wasn't followed it was said to affect the vegetation and greenery for the next twelve months.
If like me, you are dreading this annual chore I've put together a few handy tips so that taking down your decorations is as important a ritual as putting them up. Rather than doing it in a rush, take your time and try to approach it methodically. Of course, taking down the decorations also means that it might be time to pack away the Bailey’s and giant chocolate boxes too, but don’t let me spoil your fun. In the interest of wastefulness, might I suggest eating and drinking it all whilst taking down the decorations and then you have ticked the multi-tasking box too!
Tip Number 1 - Storage boxes
"the more beautiful things you can do to pack away now can only bring happiness and joy next Christmas..."
1. Find a location and some serious containers to store your Christmas Decorations. I have those plastic, stackable storage tubs with lids that can go in the shed or the loft. I learned the hard way and it doesn't matter how carefully you pack cardboard boxes - I just don't trust those pesky mice!! Label every container by location i.e. room, or by type e.g. lights, baubles. Always have a thought in the back of your mind that getting the Christmas decorations out every year should be an exciting event and not a chore, so the more beautiful things you can do to pack away now can only bring happiness and joy next Christmas!!
Tip Number 2 - have a good clear out
I swear to goodness I have as many decorations still lurking in plastic tubs in sheds at the moment than in my house! I'm going to be making a conscious effort this year to have a good clear out. I hang on to those multi coloured lights every year in the hope we are going to return to a Christmas from the 1970s, but alas I think it's time to let go. Having said that, any really good items that simply don't bring you joy anymore consider donating to a charity shop or sell on ebay.
You may have a list of new things you'd like to purchase for next year - write it down and keep in one of your storage boxes as a reminder. Top of my list is lights for my Olive trees outside - you may even find them in a January sale now!
Tip Number 3 - wrapping
Treat your decorations like early Christmas presents to yourself!
If, like me, you seriously over bought wrapping paper over Christmas, use it in a meaningful way to wrap ornaments and baubles to prevent them from getting damaged during the year. Scrunch it up to line bigger boxes or to wrap more delicate items and tie safely with left over ribbon. Someone once told me that it's not the bauble that's exciting, but taking it out of the gorgeous box you wrapped them in last year! Treat your decorations like early Christmas presents to yourself!
tip number 4 - take pictures
"create a reminder of any new decorating ideas you have seen or really liked this year..."
Create an album on your Smartphone or set up a Pinterest account and take pictures of all your favourite Christmas Decorations from this year. Partly to make an inventory of the decorations you have, but also as a reminder of any new decorating ideas you have seen or really liked this year. For example, I decorated my plain white ceiling lights this year with (tasteful!) faux green garlands and they were instantly transformed! I'll definitely do that again next Christmas, but I always seem to forget!
tip number 5 - Storing Lights
One of the great chores of Christmas is unravelling the lights! Save yourself some time this year by wrapping lights around a piece of cardboard, a paper towel tube or even a Pringles box! Remember to throw out any lights that are quite literally on the blink!
tip number 6 - a wreath isn't just for christmas
I can't bear to part with my Fresh Christmas Door Wreath - it's greeted me for the last few weeks with the horticultural equivalent of a heart-warming, beautiful, beaming smile! Consider hanging it on a shed door or placing down on a garden table and enjoy a few more weeks of loveliness.
tip number 7 - let there be light
"arm yourself with gorgeous scented candles and keep those lights up for a little longer..."
One thing I really can't bring myself to take down are some of the gorgeous fairy lights around my house. I have battery lights in the bookshelves and delicate twinkling lights festooned along beams. No matter how much I tell myself Spring is on it's way - I know it's going to be a long and dark road, so arm yourself with gorgeous scented candles and keep those lights up for a little longer until those hours of daylight starts to increase.
Happy New Year everyone x