As relieved as we are when Christmas is over, the worst part might have to be when we have to take down the decorations and tree. Coming home from Christmas outings on the big day or waking up the morning of December 26 to a room full of wrapping paper, toys everywhere, and now seemingly out-of-date holiday decorations is pretty gut wrenching in my opinion. Although it's necessary to pick up the trash and organize the new gifts, taking down the tree is something many households hold off on — for at least a few days (or weeks). So, how do you know it's time to throw away your Christmas tree?There are a few ways you can decide.
If you're a believer in superstition, the pines begin to brown, you notice a funky smell, or your tree starts shedding more than your cat, these are all solid reasons to take down the tree. I'll be the first to admit, however, that it's a little too easy to put this task off for as long as possible. Especially with the undertaking it feels like to get out the storage boxes, take each ornament off, and find a way to haul your tree away and where to, there are plenty of families who find themselves on Valentine's Day with a tree still in the living room. But for many reasons, including the fact that once-fresh Christmas trees only become more flammable over time, this is not safest option.
For those with a fake tree, the answer's a bit simpler. Take it down, pack it up, and store it away — end of story. But if you have a real tree in your home, there are a few ways to get rid of your tree responsibly. You can recycle, mulch, or donate it to a local nature organizations, or you can look into local services for curbside pick up. You can also search for designated Christmas tree recycling centers here.
So once you've decided how to get rid of your tree, you need to pick a time and do it. Here are some of the factors that can play into when it's time for the tree to go, because everyone has a point when it's just been too long to justify keeping the tree up any longer.
1. The Pines Are Browning
According to HuffPost, you can realistically keep your tree up as long as you want if it stays in water and is still retaining moisture well. Although that's not great motivation to take it down, the truth is that watering the tree is just one more chore for you to do every day. And chances are, at some point, the family will start to forget. When this happens, you'll notice the tree pines might start to brown, at which point it's pretty difficult for the tree to recover from, and it becomes a bigger fire hazard. Consider taking the tree down if this happens.
2. There's A Smell In The Air — Or Lack Thereof
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you take down your Christmas tree as soon as it looses its smell. When your tree doesn't hold moisture, it can become a fire hazard. And although it may not start wreaking when this happens, you'll notice when it no longer has the amazing pine tree smell that fills the room. At that point, it's time to take it down.
3. The Needles Hit The Floor
Additionally, the NFPA suggested that if needles are falling off your tree at a rate much faster than when you first brought it home, it's another sign your tree is losing its ability to hold in moisture. Not only is it creating a huge mess for you to clean up (which is honestly motivation enough), but it's also more of a fire hazard at that point.
4. You're Superstitious
If you're a big believer in superstition, or even want a set date to start a new tradition of when the tree goes, then there are a few dates you should note to take down the Christmas tree. The first is December 31, because if you don't get the tree down before the clock strikes midnight, you'll carry bad luck all throughout the new year. And after 2017, that's a big no thanks.
5. You're Religious
If New Year's Eve is a little too soon for you though, the second date you'll want to consider is January 5. Because this date is considered the twelfth day of Christmas, this is the perfect tradition to start and gain some closure from the holidays each year.
Lastly, January 6 is your deadline if you want to jump on board the significant-date train. Especially if you observe Christmas from a religious standpoint, January 6 is a great date because it's considered the Epiphany or “Three Kings Day.” Basically, it's the day the wise men were said to have shared their gifts with baby Jesus and declared him the son of God.
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