The end of Christmas Time

Tomorrow, January 6th, is Epiphany and with it sees the end of the Christmas period. Down the tree will come, down will come the various festive lights and decorations and the house will return to normal.

Our tree goes up relatively late (it went up on the 15th I think this year) but it’s up more than long enough for me. As my birthday falls on the 11th December, when I was little the tree never went up until around a week after my birthday, something I think my parents still follow to date (although my brother did put his own tree up earlier than the 11th this year). My parent’s tree comes down before the new year as my Dad’s birthday is 2nd January; we were always very clear to separate birthdays and Christmas time out. Damian has always left his tree up until Epiphany and that’s something that we have adopted since being married. The children, of course, love it and this year have had great fun as we have been around the various shops to get decorations and things.

Christmas is almost over - read about our traditions here

Damian tells me that as a child his memory is of bringing the dining room table into the living room on Christmas Day for the Christmas meal (he doesn’t know why, though!) and a large Father Christmas plastic door poster that went up every year. Damian and his siblings adored the poster but it was despised by his mum on account of it being a bit naff.

My own memories are of my dad, brother and I head to the supermarket the weekend after my birthday (my mum worked weekends) and we would fill the trolley with crackers, crisps and other rubbish and for some reason, I seem to remember there always seemed to be loads of frozen sausage rolls. The food was all stacked up in the dining room and we weren’t allowed to touch a single crumb until Christmas Eve. My dad use to gently chide my mum about this, but the decision was firm; it wasn’t to be opened until the ‘party tea’ on Christmas Eve.

It’s funny the traditions that establish themselves and I hope we can establish some fun ones for our own children. It got me thinking about the practice in different countries around the festive period and how different cultures place emphasis on different parts of the period. One of my friends who blogs at Spud & Pudding did some stuff with her children around the different traditions. She was sharing some bits on Facebook and it’s definitely something I want to explore with Mr. D, Miss E and Mr. H next year.

Some of the traditions I intend to look at with them, as well as our own, are:

  • St Nicholas Night – this looks like a lovely little tradition is celebrated in many other European countries. St Nicholas day is 6 December and there is a range of traditions including the visit from Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) and his friend Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) who visit good girls and boys on St Nicholas Eve (5th December). There is plenty of information on this great site called the St Nicholas Center and I will be looking at this next year to kick-start our Christmas time.
  • In Spain, Epiphany is a big celebration and a special cake called Roscón, which means means ‘ring shape roll’. The cake is very doughy and can be filled with cream or chocolate and contain a little gift. There is talk about someone bringing one of these cakes to our Spanish group tomorrow.
  • In Portugal the traditional Christmas Meal is eaten on Christmas Eve and usually consists of fish and green vegetables.

But, for now we will enjoy the final night of our tree being up and the lights twinkling away before it’s taken down tomorrow. Do you leave your tree up until Epiphany or do you take it down much sooner?

 

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37 Comments

  1. 5th January 2017 / 10:47

    Absolutely loved this post and I bought my little boy the book A boy called Christmas by Matt Haig, and it is such an amazing story, we are only a third of the way through but recommend this to you X

    • 5th January 2017 / 16:50

      oh I’ll have to look out for this book, I’ve not heard of it x

  2. Dannii
    5th January 2017 / 11:27

    I absolutely love Christmas, but I am ready for the tree to be down now and to get on with the year 🙂

  3. 5th January 2017 / 15:19

    My mum also leaves the tree up until Epiphany. We tend to go all out with Christmas decorations so it always looks so bare once we take them down.

    • 5th January 2017 / 16:47

      yes it does looks quite bare when the tree and decorations are packed away doesn’t it?

  4. 5th January 2017 / 15:35

    I’m really bad. As soon as Christmas is over it want it all down. We did ours on the 28th but they went up on the 4th so more than enough time up. Lots of people still wait until the 6th and I think it’s a lovely tradition to have!

    • 5th January 2017 / 16:46

      yes if they’re up on the 4th I’m not surprised you don’t leave them up until tomorrow xx

  5. 5th January 2017 / 17:00

    Lovely post. I always thought 6 January was when the tree came down! This year, I did it early! We were in Spain for Christmas as my parents live there and they were telling us about the fact that 6 January was the main day, even though they still made a big thing of Christmas Day – I’ll take both! Happy New Year! x

    Kat

  6. 5th January 2017 / 18:15

    We always take our tree down much earlier but I certainly always remember stocking up on party food in the run up to Christmas – mini sausage rolls were always my favourite! x

  7. 5th January 2017 / 18:29

    It’s so lovely to learn about other holiday traditions, I have always thought that St. Nicholas night would be a wonderful tradition.

  8. 5th January 2017 / 19:32

    Our tree doesn’t go up until after my birthday on the 20th so it stays up until the 6th x

  9. 5th January 2017 / 19:52

    It’s always a bit depressing when christmas is over. I don’t really agree with this whole idea of having to take the tree down by a certain day. What does it matter if you leave it up an extra two days. In Poland the Christmas season runs into February and Poland is one of the most devout Catholic countries in Europe x

  10. 5th January 2017 / 20:02

    I can’t imagine eating a Christmas meal consisting of fish. I love how everyone celebrates differently x

  11. Angela Milnes
    5th January 2017 / 21:50

    I had never heard of epiphany before. We like to keep the christmas tree up. In fact it’s still up as i went into hospital and ams till stuck here since christmas…and no one has bothered to take it down lol.

  12. 5th January 2017 / 21:59

    Epiphany in Portugal is quite similar to Spain, they bake a ring shaped cake and put fruit in it. I can’t believe it was just New Year Last week xx

  13. 5th January 2017 / 22:56

    We tend to take our tree down quite quickly, this year it came down on 2nd Jan. I love Christmas but as soon as NY is over I like to have it all taken down ready for the clean slate of the new year.

    I like the idea of Spainish Epiphany celebrations – any excuse for cake!

  14. 5th January 2017 / 23:09

    I seem to have memories of many more people leaving all their decorations up until the Epiphany when I was little – I’m sure we always left ours until the 6th. I know I could never wait to be able to draw all over the Christmas cards!

  15. 5th January 2017 / 23:13

    We took our tree down earlier than normal but because of work more than anything (and we had to put new furniture up!)| x

  16. 6th January 2017 / 00:17

    We still have our tree up. We don’t have a set date to take it down but it will probably in the next few days as the needles keep dropping and have to be hoovered daily. That Spanish cake sounds yummy!

  17. 6th January 2017 / 09:39

    Mine usually comes down a few days after new year, this year I took it down on Tuesday which was the 3rd. But mine always goes up on 1st December x

  18. 6th January 2017 / 10:30

    We’re trying to prolong Christmas as my folks were working over the festive period and need to feel Christmassy a little bit more 😉

  19. 6th January 2017 / 11:42

    Ahhh I totally agree – I had a bit of a naff boxing day and it knocked the Christmas right out of me! Normally we’re until the 6th x

  20. 6th January 2017 / 13:48

    It’s great that you stick to traditions, to many Christmas is just about the gifts! xo

  21. 6th January 2017 / 18:32

    I took my tree down last night and I so feel sad. I love having all my decorations up!

    • 6th January 2017 / 19:39

      it does feel empty when it’s down doesn’t it?!

  22. 6th January 2017 / 20:18

    We had a “party tea” on Christmas Eve, too. It consisted of cheese, crackers, nuts and crisps, and we loved it. I was home for Christmas this year (we live in Sweden) and my mum did it for me and the kids! Christmas traditions are so important especially for me as we live in another country and I want my kids to know all about how we do it in the UK!

  23. 6th January 2017 / 21:23

    Our tree came down asap because we have a kitten who kept climbing up it!

  24. 6th January 2017 / 21:54

    I am a big fan of Christmas, it went by to quickly. I took my tree down earlier because my mum has a puppy and he was trying knock it over. I normally take it down a lot later though

  25. 6th January 2017 / 22:35

    We always end up putting the tree up late. No idea why! Also stays up for much longer. This was the first year it went down at a reasonable time. Love hearing other people’s christmas traditions x

  26. 7th January 2017 / 16:46

    Awwww this was such a lovely read!! I always do the christmas decorations on december 1st and we always get them down before jan 1st, I wish we could separate birthdays from christmas but sadly mine is 3 days before christmas and my husbands is 5 days after!!!

  27. 7th January 2017 / 17:38

    We have always had strong traditions in our house, Carols around the piano on Christmas Eve, New pyjamas and a story before bed, then the tree goes down on 5th January. I miss the glow of the decorations once they are down, and January always seems so gloomy.

  28. 7th January 2017 / 18:22

    It is so interesting how everyone celebrates Christmas so differently. From where I come from today (7th January) is the actual Christmas day, but it is only celebrated by the religious.
    What happens is you celebrate the New Year’s Eve instead, as that is when Santa comes down to give you presents at 12 o’clock as you have been good this year. So you celebrate the year and that is why you get a gift at 12 at night! I used to love new years eve for that reason growing up – you always got so excited to open your presents! The decorations also only went up a week before NYE and hence don’t come down until mid January.
    Quite different to what we do now, as we just do a Christmas thing on 25th December!

  29. nicol
    7th January 2017 / 20:32

    ah i didnt know about the portuguese tradition. i love the idea of fish and green veg

  30. 9th January 2017 / 11:44

    Most people I know like to keep the tree up for as long as possible. It’s all over once it comes down which is why people want to keep it up for as long as possible!

  31. 9th January 2017 / 13:59

    Our tree always stays up until the 6th of January, though we went out of town this weekend and it is still up! My tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving, and even though I live in the UK I try to keep to that tradition. x

  32. 10th January 2017 / 21:11

    I love christmas because of all the traditions, I think it is completely what makes the season! I know a lot of countries have christmas dinner on the eve which is lovely but we’d end up having celebrating christmas eve eve too!

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