The OH is a demoness for tidiness and order. If she had her way, then the Christmas Tree would be down on Boxing Day and the cards would have fuelled the wood-burning stove before the turkey was cold. I am not quite so drastic and in previous years have been happy to let them see out their allotted span until Twelfth Night on the 6th of January. This year, I felt the need to compromise so suggested a New Year’s Day clear up. This seemed more appropriate as it gives impetus and meaning to a fresh year rather then the tree and the tinsel staying on like some unwanted and hungover party guests until next weekend.
I know it is unlucky to keep the decorations up after this twelfth Night but there seems to be no matching punishment if you retire them early. Why Twelfth Night? This is traditionally the last of the twelve nights of Christmas or the feast of Epiphany.
The Western Church began celebrating the Epiphany in the 4th century where it was, and still is, associated with the visit of the Magi (wise men) to the infant Jesus when God revealed himself to the world through the incarnation of Jesus. According to Matthew 2:11 they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is also known as Dia de los Reyes in the Spanish speaking world or Three Kings Day.
In our increasingly secular society, Twelfth Night seems less relevant now to most people. Why keep them up so long in Twenty-first Century Britain? Now those twelve nights of Christmas probably begin with the opening bars of Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” belting out of the doors of a Primark in Chesterfield in mid-November.
So get ‘em packed away and take on this new year. Leave your outside lights up though and cheer everyone else up.