I love Christmas decorations and find it fun entertainment to look at those of others in my neighborhood in season. But they do seem out of place to me if they are still up long after Christmas.
How long is it acceptable to keep Christmas decorations up?
What I Do
Some years I like to take mine down before the end of Christmas Day (December 25) or the day after Christmas. Other years, I leave them up until New Year's Day (January 1) or the day after. And I sometimes leave them up a few days beyond this, too.
There are reasons for the variation in my behavior from year to year. Some years I like to move beyond Christmas right after the Christmas Day celebration. Other years I prefer to try to retain the Christmas Spirit and gradually put Christmas behind me by delaying the removal of my Christmas decorations. And sometimes a busy schedule delays my taking down Christmas decorations.
This year I'm taking my decorations down in stages. I started by taking down my snow globes. Then I took down my Christmas candles and candle holders. On New Year's Day I took down all the decorations in my window. But as of today, January 4, 2013, my Christmas tree remains up. I expect to take it down today or tomorrow, and complete the storing of my Christmas decorations until next Christmas season (maybe early November).
What Others Do
Most people around here seem to take down their decorations sometime between Christmas and the end of the first week in January. Businesses that are closed for the days from Christmas through New Year's Day typically leave the decorations up until they return to work in January and take them down soon afterward.
But complicating matters, many Orthodox Christians use the older Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar that is commonly used by most of us. They celebrate Christmas in January (i.e. January 7, 2013). They may be putting up Christmas decorations even as many others are taking them down!
I usually enjoy still seeing a few Christmas decorations in the neighborhood in early January. Even in mid January, a week after some Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, I enjoy seeing a few decorations remaining.
I don't even mind if outdoor lights are left up all year round, as long as they are not lit. I respect the time saved by persons who might otherwise need to climb up a ladder in cold, windy weather annually to put them up -- and again to take them down.
But it seems a bit weird to me to see Christmas lights lit up after the end of January or a large Santa Claus in someone's yard in February. Still, I believe each person/family can make their own decision on when to take the decorations down, as long as they are not violating a zoning ordinance and their neighbors aren't offended.
Call me weird if you like. But I wouldn't mind celebrating Christmas every day of the year in the good sense. People seem to be in better spirits, give more generously, etc., during the Christmas season. And since Christmas Day in the Julian Calendar that many Orthodox Christians use is still a few days away, I'll close by saying "Merry Christmas."
NOTE: This article is very similar to one the author previously posted on another website.