When air gets crisp and leaves start falling, the holiday season can be felt waiting just around the corner. It’s generally agreed that October is the domain of all things Autumn and Halloween related, but once the calendar turns to November, the lines between other holidays aren’t always so clear.
The annual debate of when it’s appropriate to decorate, celebrate, or even think about Christmas decorations can be a bit contentious. Should you set up your tree before Thanksgiving? Only decorate it on Christmas Eve? How soon is too soon, and when does waiting patiently turn into just decorating at the last minute?
So to help settle the debate, we went in search of every opinion on it we could find on the matter – and then tried to make sense of it. Turns out there are a few different answers depending on how and why you celebrate Christmas.
If You Want to Go By What Most People Do
There are lots of opinions on the right time frame, with outliers suggesting that the tree should go up as early as before Halloween! However, most people can agree on a couple of different dates that work best. In informal polls online, the day or weekend after Thanksgiving emerged as the most common time to put up your tree, with the first week of December coming in as another popular timeframe.
Decorating right after Thanksgiving is a great option because often family is still gathered in one home and can decorate together. It also allows for a great transition between the two holidays.
The first week of December is just as valid, providing time to separate the two holidays a bit and still leaving a whole month to have your tree and decorations on display.
If You Want to Focus on The Religious Celebrations Around Christmas
There are also a few religious holidays immediately before and after Christmas that can frame your celebration of the holiday.
In Christian tradition, Advent starts 4 Sundays before Christmas and is a period of reflection and preparation for the coming of Christ. It ends on Christmas Eve, at which point the official Christmas season begins. This lasts for 12 days and ends on January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany (which celebrates the 3 kings reaching the baby Jesus).
Within this timeline, it’s important to not take away from the significance of Advent by putting up your tree too early and jumping into Christmas celebrations, so most religious sources recommend waiting till at least the 3rd Sunday of Advent. After that, any day up till Christmas Eve is fine to put your tree up.
Of course, current trends and religious tradition are not the only factors that affect timing during the holidays. Be sure to ask yourself these questions before penciling in your decorating day:
Is your tree live or artificial?
Live trees can last around 4 weeks, so you should probably not put a live tree up before the beginning of December, or you risk a carpet of dried needles before Christmas even gets there. If you are using an artificial tree, you have a lot more leeway, as it will look the same regardless of timing.
When do you have time?
The holidays are a busy season, and when it comes down to it, not everyone has time to decorate on a schedule. If it makes the holidays more enjoyable to put up the decorations before all the hustle and bustle takes over, then do it!
When will any guests be there?
If you have loved ones coming for the season, you may want to plan ahead and have the tree decked out before they arrive. Alternately, you might wish to wait until they are there so that you can all decorate together. Either way, this is something to take into account when deciding on a timeline.
So When Should You put up Your Christmas Tree?
The earliest you should put up your Christmas tree is the day after Thanksgiving, and the latest is Christmas Eve. Between those dates, decorate whenever best suits your religious or family traditions.
Now that you’ve decided to set up your tree, get decorating ideas and inspirations here.