Stretch your holidays and decorate early or make them last into January.
Advertisement

While we are unabashed Christmas decorating fanatics, we have a countdown for when is the perfect time to set up the Christmas tree. We realize that Christmas decorators generally fall into two decorating timeframes: the pre-game Christmas decorators and the after-party decorators. Since there are so many ways to deck the halls, here are Southern Living's suggestions for when to put up your Christmas tree.

The Earliest Time To Set Up Christmas Trees

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the earliest you should set up a Christmas tree or decorate Christmas-specific decorations. Waiting until Black Friday to set up your Christmas tree allows your big turkey dinner not to have its thunder stolen from your beautiful tree. If you fall in this timeframe, you will probably take your Christmas tree down earlier than others. In other words, early setup and early takedown.

What do you do if your holiday decor is neutral? Yes, there are some neutral, "holiday" decorations like wreaths that can safely straddle both Thanksgiving and Christmas. If it has a speck of red, a reindeer, or Santa Clause somewhere, it's typically more associated with the Yuletide festivities and better left for your post-Thanksgiving decorating.

The Latest Time To Set Up Christmas Trees

The only correct answer to this is after Christmas. If holiday decorating creates more stress than joy for you, then wait to decorate your Christmas tree until Christmas Eve. Make it a family tradition and prepare your home for Santa Clause the night before the big day.

Person Balancing on Small Ladder Putting Lights on Christmas Tree
Credit: AlenaPaulus / Getty

Decorate According to a Calendar

One option for this decorating style is to begin your holiday preparation on December 1 and keep them up until the day after Christmas. Another popular option is to decorate according to the Advent season for those who follow the Christian calendar. Marked with lighting candles around a wreath, Advent blends seamlessly into your other more holiday-themed decorating.

For people on the later end of the decorating spectrum, your Christmas tree can go up on Christmas Eve and stay up through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which marks the visit of the Wise Men to baby Jesus and the end of the Christmas season.

Making a Live Tree Last

Of course, putting up an artificial tree is the easiest way to preserve your Christmas decorations. If your attic space is large enough, you could even store it decorated. However, if you want a live tree, the Grumpy Gardener (who once even sold trees on a lot!) recommends how to buy a tree. 

First, get the freshest you can find. The needles must be dark green, not yellowish, and should not drop when you brush your hand over them. As soon as you get the tree home, cut an inch off the bottom of the trunk to help it absorb water. Place the end of the trunk in a bucket of water, and store it in the shade until you take it inside. Once it's indoors, place it away from a drying heating vent or fireplace, and keep the tree stand filled with water.