Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree


While it may never reach the level of controversy of how to hang the toilet paper roll or which way to load the dishwasher, the right time to put up the Christmas tree is a heavily-debated household topic.

There are answers to this question that depend on everything from Prince Albert to the opinion of tree growers to something called Adelaide Pageant Day.

RELATED: They spent 30 hours to identify the best fake Christmas tree

Whether you're undecided on the best time to put up your Christmas tree or are merely looking for reinforcement for your preferred date, at least one of these timing traditions is bound to work for you:

Forbidding the tree before turkeys

The ultimate etiquette authority, Miss Manners, doesn't specify when you should put up the tree, but does note succinctly that it isn't done before Thanksgiving.

The nouveau 12 days of Christmas approach

In days of yore, the 12 days of Christmas started with Christmas Day and wrapped up on January 6, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Apartment Therapy suggests a more modern 12 Days of Christmas tree strategy, putting up the tree for around 12 days beginning in mid-December and taking it down right after Christmas.

This dovetails nicely with advice from the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, which noted in The Telegraph that while it's cool to buy live trees from December 1 onwards, the middle of the festive season, around the third week of Advent, is a good compromise between putting the tree up immediately and waiting for Christmas Eve.

Prince Albert

Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, is widely heralded as the man who lit up the Victorian Christmas tree tradition in the 1840s, bringing it to Britain from his native Germany. If you want to stick with the original Christmas Tree timeline of Albert and his German forebears, go with Christmas Eve. 

The Aussie approach

According to Monash University religious diversity professor Gary Bouma in The Age, the established guideline in Australia is not to put up the tree before December, but not everyone abides by it.

By "not everyone," he may mean the full 14 percent of Be a Fun Mum blog readers, who said they put up the tree in early November. They did restrain themselves until after something known as Adelaide Pageant Day, the second Saturday of November. And they are in solidarity with the Fun Mum herself, who says she put her tree up in early November because, "My mum always did. I love Christmas and like to string it out."

Viva Italiana

You may be leaning towards putting the tree up the first week of December anyhow, but this Italian tradition provides a godd reason for it. According to Italy Magazine, Italian Christmas traditions begin on December 8 with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a date set in the Catholic calendar in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV.

Since December 8 is a public holiday and most Italians get the day off, it has become the day when many of them put up their Christmas trees and other holiday decor.

The final word on when to put up your tree

Assuming your own family tradition isn't already firmly in place, Southern Living gets the last word on the best time to put up the Christmas tree. That's because the ultimate authorities on Southern taste on all things mayo and wicker are also so darn sensible and inclusive on this topic: "We pass no judgement, but here are the times for when to put up your Christmas decorations. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the earliest that you should set up a Christmas tree or put up Christmas-specific decorations."

The reason you shouldn't do it earlier? "It is inconsiderate for your beautiful tree to steal the thunder from your big turkey dinner."

As for the latest time to put up the tree, that would be Christmas Eve, a nod to bygone, less holiday-crazed times.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Go Guide

Agatha’s still serving up meals, mystery and murder
Agatha’s still serving up meals, mystery and murder
According to Atlanta theater lore of the late 1990s, there were only two ways to get a gig at Agatha’s. Actors hoping for a starring role in the murder mystery productions had to wait for one of the existing actors to move out of state...or die. “It was such a popular place to go and everybody wanted to work there,” said Ryan Girard...
Pedal Atlanta's best paved cycling trails
Pedal Atlanta's best paved cycling trails

Ready to ride? Pedal these great bike-friendly trails in metro Atlanta over pavement and boardwalk to some seriously scenic sights: It's pretty much Atlanta's best place to bike if you're looking for a flat, long distance, scenery packed ride. Bike the Silver Comet Trail on a former rail line that runs more than 60 miles of gentle grade from Smyrna...
Sneaky ways to save money on your next road trip
Sneaky ways to save money on your next road trip

You hop in the car with a few friends or the family and a mere 1,000 miles later you're down $400 when you only intended to spend $150. What happened? Probably just a few overruns on the road trip budget. With a little effort, you'll find it's just as simple and sometimes even more pleasant to take a road trip that will save you hundreds. Credit Donkey...
Atlantan enhances art of the Games, trading athletics for paintbrush
Atlantan enhances art of the Games, trading athletics for paintbrush

The Olympic athletes currently gathered in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have mastered many physical skills, but few of them are adept with acrylics. Atlantan Roald Bradstock, an athlete and an artist, is an exception. He’s easy to spot in the Gangneung Olympic Village. First of all, he’s 55, and many of the athletes here are the ages of his...
Don't try this at home: Top home repairs that aren't DIY
Don't try this at home: Top home repairs that aren't DIY

Everyone wants to feel self-sufficient, and even those with deep pockets find it's a good idea to stick to some kind of home maintenance budget. If you chuckled at the thought of having "deep pockets," you're probably even more concerned with controlling costs on the home front. But frugal isn't always better, even if you have monster DIY...
More Stories