Un-decking the Halls

  • Home Owner Tips
  • Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The festive season is behind us, and we’re sure many of you are now looking dauntingly at that tree you so excitingly constructed just a month ago, wondering when and how you should tackle taking it down.

According to Christian tradition, many believe that twelve days after Christmas is the best time to put away your seasonal décor. The Twelfth Night is known as Epiphany, which marks the day that the three Wise Men visited baby Jesus – and waiting too long afterward to put your decorations away will bring you bad luck. If you follow this tradition, then January 6th is the day.

That said, when to take down your tree is really up to you, and we recommend finding the most convenient time for you and your family to take on the task. Some people prefer to keep up their tree well into January to help ease those post-festivity blues, while others can’t wait to clean up and get it all put away. Whether that’s the day after Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or whenever you can get to it, there’s no correct answer. After all, you worked hard hanging up all those ornaments – you should enjoy it for as long as you want.

You Have a Live Tree

There are a lot of things you can do with your live tree, including cutting it up and putting in your green cart to be composted, or taking it to one of several of the City’s drop-off locations. Please see the City of Calgary’s website for more information on their tree recycling program.

You can also get creative, and use your tree at home in several ways:

  1. Create a mulch. Pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, making them an excellent moisture- and mold-free mulch for ground-covering crops, such as strawberries, to rest on.
  2. Insulate perennials. You’ve likely already prepared your garden for the winter season, but why not use the boughs of your tree to help protect your bulbs from the frost and snow? It’s been a cold winter, and an extra layer will certainly be helpful.
  3. Edge your garden. Cut your tree trunk into 2” discs and save them for spring to edge the borders of your garden or walkways.
  4. Get artsy! If you’re feeling crafty, cut those discs thinner, sand them smooth, apply a thin layer of varnish, and you can use them as coasters or trivets.

You Have an Artificial Tree

As tempting as it may be to just shove it in a closet or box and deal with next year, there are several things you should do to ensure your artificial tree and your ornaments have a good, long life.

  1. First, you should remove all the ornaments as well as any lights if your tree isn’t pre-lit. This will ensure both your ornaments and your branches will not get crushed during storage.
  2. Wrap your ornaments in paper and place them in a box for safe keeping. Carefully loop any string lights around your arm in a large circle, and secure with a twist tie or string to prevent tangling.
  3. Since you’re cleaning up anyway, give the branches of your tree a good dusting with a feather duster or vacuum, so it’s nice and clean when you unpack it again next year.
  4. Smaller trees may be just one piece that can be folded up like an umbrella; but larger trees will be composed of multiple parts – work backwards using the assembly instructions if you need to – and take all the pieces apart.
  5. Finally, don’t feel the need to cram it all back into the original box. Artificial trees tend to fluff out, just like real trees do, and getting it back into that box will be nearly impossible. Place all the pieces into a large, clean, plastic bag, and find a cool, dry place to store it.
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