When to put up your Christmas tree: Expert reveals date to avoid bad luck

Is it better to start decorating early or hold off until closer to the big day?

Are you one of those people who likes to bring Christmas cheer into the house as early as you can? Well, maybe you should think again.

It turns out, historically, there's a certain date people used to decorate their tree just so they would avoid bringing bad vibes into their household.

A woman putting baubles on a Christmas tree in a modern white home
People now like to put their Christmas tree up earlier than the traditional December 24th. Photo: Getty Images

Traditionally, trees were brought in on Christmas Eve, the final day of Advent, and decorated, remaining up for the 12 days of Christmas before being taken down in the evening of the 5th of January (the twelfth night).

According to Good Housekeeping, doctor Martin Johnes, author of Christmas and the British: A Modern History, wrote that putting your tree up before those dates traditionally meant you would bring bad luck to the household.


But more recently people are choosing to put up their decorations earlier for the joy it brings. Some go as early as November 1st, as soon as Halloween is done and dusted.

And while most families have developed their own traditions around putting their tree and decorations up, there is still an official date you should go by.

So when should you put your tree up and how did the tradition come about?

How Christmas trees started

Trees have been decorated and brought into the home for celebrations since ancient Egyptian and Roman times. Even in Europe, the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate midwinter pre-dated its use in Christianity.

The Christmas tree tradition that we know today is thought to have come from Germany in the 16th Century. But it was the British Royal Family who spread that tradition to the UK and America and ultimately the rest of the Commonwealth.

Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert was German and brought the Christmas tree tradition from Germany for his family. In 1846, the popular royals were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree, and soon after, many adopted the tradition.

Queen Victoria and her German husband Prince Albert started the tradition of Christmas Trees in the United Kingdom, America and across the Commonwealth. Photo: Getty Images
Queen Victoria and her German husband Prince Albert started the tradition of Christmas Trees in the United Kingdom, America and across the Commonwealth. Photo: Getty Images

When should you put your tree up?

"For the 30 years we've been selling trees, the majority buy them roughly two weeks before Christmas. However, in the last couple of years, we've sold more trees at the end of November to coincide with the beginning of Advent as people's traditions change," Chris Craig, co-founder of Christmas at Home UK and director and second-generation grower at Stagsden Christmas Trees told Good Housekeeping magazine.

One of the reasons people used to put trees up so close to Christmas was that before artificial Christmas trees were available, real trees didn't tend to last too long after being cut down and brought into a heated home.

However, with the arrival of commercially modified trees, real ones last longer and life-like artificial trees offer an authentic look, meaning the Christmas tree could be placed in the home earlier and last right through the festive period.

Some people think that December 1st is the day you should put up your tree as it's the start of the Christmas month. But it's at the start of Advent that people really should commence decorating.

Advent is the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which always falls between 27 November and 3 December and this year it was December 3rd.

Traditionally, families would make an Advent wreath and put up evergreen branches to symbolise everlasting life at the start of the season. In more recent times, people enjoy decorations going up on that date to have the colour, light and joy in their lives that bit longer.

But at the end of the day, it's all about what your family loves and creating traditions of your own.

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