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Chez Larsson

Packing Away the Tree

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The tradition here in Sweden is to keep the Christmas decorations up until 20 days after Christmas Eve. That happens to be the name day of Knut (= knot, tihi…) so that day is called Tjugondedag Knut (tjugondedag = twenty day).

I’m not big on tradition that doesn’t work in real life. How on earth does one keep a tree up that already sheds its needles on Christmas Eve itself? I kept it until the day before yesterday and then out it went. I do still have some Christmas lights and string lights up and the Amaryllises that still have life in the stay until they don’t. I’m not sticking to the twentieth day for that though, I’ll remove the rest when I feel like it.

 

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So when I brought the boxes up to pack everything back into I realized that the looked kind of too shabby. And that’s not in any chic way at all. Just shabby full stop. After rummaging around and reorganizing some blankets and extra unused throw pillow inserts I decided that those boxes would be perfect for all things holiday.

 

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I like that they are completely square. I considered some rectangular tubs I have first but the sides are slightly sloping and since I have quite a few small square ornament boxes that need to go in the big box the space isn’t fully utilized.

Anyway I started out by putting all those square boxes inside one large box and the two large cylinders with ornaments from Target which I love in the other. The white and green ornaments where still on the tree when I took the photo but they later filled the cylinders to the brim.

 

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After all the larger things had gone in I added the unbreakables which I store in zip lock bags. The little piggies were wrapped in tissue paper towards the top and the tree lights went in next to the Target ornaments. Any ornament I know I’ll want to get out first for Advent next year also went toward the top such as snowflakes, mushrooms and beaded garlands. The cardboard triangles that you see at the top in the right box will later store the paper stars and the lights that go with them will to at the top of the box.

 

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Since the boxes I used don’t have label holders I made my own little hang tags with the use of some metal rimmed labels and some ball chain thingies.

 

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Good thing the word Christmas is only a three letter one over here so it fits nicely on my label.

 

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And there they are, two boxes full of all the stuff that I’m so eager to remove now but which I’ll be so eager to bring out again come November.

 

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And there they are at the bottom of the shelves in the storage room. Perfect.

 

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And that’s where the tree went. We can still see it from the living room and it’s propped up nicely in the snow on the balcony. Come spring I’ll use the branches to shade some of the delicate plants that don’t want to much harsh early sun and after that what’s left will be either burned if we do a fire or gets sent away to the big communal rubbish dump/recycling center/compost heap.

Do you still have your tree up? When is it tradition to take it down? Do you stick to tradition?

60 Comments

  • Carin says:

    Over here, the tree is traditionally not taken down till the 6th (the Epiphany/ trettondagen), but we don’t usually leave it up that long. I start getting antsy on Boxing Day and put the tree and decorations away as quickly as I can after New Year’s Eve. This year we took everything down Sunday afternoon and stuck it in the attic yesterday morning. I love having my house back.

  • Jo says:

    I’m amazed you can get your whole christmas into TWO boxes.. and frankly a little jealous. ;o)
    Being a Brit our tradition is to take the decs down on Jan 6th like Carin says.
    I find that I don’t really enjoy the decorations until after Christmas. There’s so much to do beforehand that I don’t get to sit down ’til the day after Boxing day. So I do leave them up ’til 12th night… [Jan 6th] that way I can relax and really take them in.
    Jo xx
    and if we had any snow left I would ABSOLUTELY do that with our tree.. looks great.

  • lisa h. says:

    Very interesting, this “Tjugondedag Knut” business! I don’t think there is a traditional day to take down the tree here in the US. Whenever you’re sick of looking at it, or whenever the needles are falling all over the place — whichever comes first.
    I love how neatly packed your ornaments are. I did a bad, hasty job packing mine away last year, but you’ve inspired to do it right this year.
    When space for writing is an issue, English-speakers can always fall back on the trusty old “Xmas”. Still not as economical as the three slender letters of “Jul”, but it’ll do in a pinch (as long as one’s religious sensibilities aren’t offended by it!) 😉

  • Anne says:

    Have never ever waited until Tjugondedagen. My tree was out this Sunday – along with all the other jul-thingies. Instantly wanted to buy some white tulips, but the daughter is too allergic. Was thinking of throwing her out with the tree but she really is a sweetie sometimes so I let her stay. Pity about the tulips though.

  • Julia says:

    I absolutely LOVE your storage room! This really is a room one likes to enter and rummage about. (unlike ours at home…) Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Julia says:

    We keep our tree up until the 6th of January (and mostly until the weekend after the 6th….). As I didn’t find the christmas tree stand this year (and the box where it was all the years before was empty!!!!) we had to put our tree in a planter. We filled it with water and – voilà! – no needles came down! Maybe we will buy a new tree stand for next christmas and I saw a few where you can fill water in them.

  • Petra from NL says:

    Catholics in the Netherlands also take down the tree on January 6th. We call it the day of the 3 Kings. Supposedly that’s the day the 3 wise men arrived at the manger.
    Another tradition on that day is to bake a special dessert with a coffeebean hidden inside. Dessert is then cut up in parts and whoever finds the bean inside his/her part is King for the day.

  • Anne says:

    You don’t have water in your christmas tree stands? All our stands are with water in Sweden – doesn’t prevent the needles from falling though.

  • Heidi says:

    I am amazed by that storage room…its my goal to be so organized, but I´m afraid it will nevner happen. It’s something with my genes, I think…

  • Terhi says:

    In Finland it’s a tradition to keep the tree and the christmas decorations until January 6th, or “loppiainen”.
    I tossed my tree this past sunday, it started to look quite awful 😀 The christmas lights on my balcony are still up, but everything else is gone.

  • Iani says:

    In Spain its tradition to keep all christmas decor up until January 6th at least, for we celebrate the arrival of the 3 wise men to Betlehem, and exchange gifts. SO these days are still a shopping spree nightmare for us…

  • monica says:

    In Italy we keep the tree up till the 6th January too. I’m quite keen to take it down a bit earlier because all the needles are falling everywhere… but hey, two more days wont’ hurt me!!

  • Monica says:

    Your storage room is absolutely amazing. It totally reminds me of Martha’s basement in her Bedford home.
    I will be taking the tree down sometime this week. The volunteer fire department will be coming around in our town to gather Christmas trees this Saturday (they always do this the Saturday after 3 Kings). That is a much better option than procrastinating and then having to chop/saw it up to fit in the compost garbage.

  • Iiris says:

    My Christmas tree and decorations went yesterday. Traditionally I think the right day is the 6th, but as the living room floor was getting a bit pricly to walk on, I thougth it was the right time. Mind you, since I’ve been living in the UK, I’ve started bringing the tree in mid-December and not on the morning of Christmas eve like we used to in Finland, and by New Year it certainly is looking past its best. I’ve left some fairy lights in the hall because otherwise it does look a bit gloomy coming downstairs on a grey morning.
    I know Knut’s day is celebrated in Finland, though I don’t think it’s that common anymore, and probably in some areas of the country only. I think it was a pagan celebration and more popular before Father Christmas arrived to the scene. Christmas time ends when Knut’s goat comes and steals it. Well, this is how I understand it is, might not be completely right.. Near where I’m from they still have a Knut’s party anyway.

  • Oh I love how organised your shelves are – especially love that the Christmas boxes look extra super special amongst all your plastic sorts! Here in Australia their is no real rule about when to pull down the tree. Most people tend to have plastic trees over real pine trees – so they usually just come down once you get sick of them – or before you go on Summer holidays!!

  • Mira says:

    We kind of go by Croatian and Italian tradition and leave it on until Jan 6th (the Epiphany or 3 King/wise men day). On the other hand, my american in-laws remove Christmas tree and decorations on Jan 1st. So, most of the time I go by my own feeling and take it down sometimes between the 1st and 6th – whenever I feel like doing it. This year it was Jan 2nd.

  • Lizzy says:

    Here in the U.S., I used to like to take down the tree by New Year’s in order to have a fresh start. However, my Mexican Catholic husband likes to leave it up until Ephiphany/Three King’s Day/Twelfth Night. That day – like in the Netherlands and France, it seems – you have a party with a special crown-shaped cake, Rosca de Reyes, and whoever gets the little plastic baby Jesus doll inside has to host a tamales party on Candlemas (February 2). Keeps the parties going!

  • Eunice says:

    Here in Canada, some people leave their tree up until Jan 6 (I think mostly artificial trees) but most people have their tree down and everything packed away prior to Dec 31. It’s nice to have your house clean & tidy before the start of a new year 🙂
    Benita – Did you add sugar to the water for the Christmas tree? It does help to stop the needle drop under the tree. A friend of mine uses 7-up or Sprite soda pop to water her tree. If the needles drop quickly, it usually means the tree was cut a while ago.
    When I saw the foto of the tree outside, I thought it would look nice with white fairy lights to give a little extra light during these dark evenings.
    Have a great day.

  • I didn’t put sugar in this year but I have tried that and soda in the past. There as an article in the newspaper though that claimed it would’t help (or harm for that matter) the tree so I skipped it.
    As for the string lights I have some up in the oak tree right next to the tree and I can see them from inside too and since the lights I had on the tree weren’t outdoor proof I didn’t want to get into the hassle of restringing :).

  • Leena says:

    My tree has started to grow! So I’m sticking with it for a while still. I might do what you did and put it on the backyard afterwards and use the braches on spring, or I could take the branches out and discard the tree trunk. At my building the dustman will take the tree if I just leave it by the trash bins.

  • jja says:

    I keep my tree up until the 6th of January (actually until the weekend after the 6th.) My tree is still very alive thanks to fresh water every second day and tree holder
    http://www.yagma.de/media/images/popup/588181.jpg

  • zimt says:

    haha i always thought “knut” was something Ikea marketing came up with so that they don’t have to use the word “winter sale”
    i’m austrian and my family traditionally keeps up the tree till february 2nd/lightmas (some of my friends also take it down on jan 6th). but we only put it up on december 23rd and before that we only have an advent wreath, candles and maybe a wintery door wreath. so when christmas comes we’re not fed up with christmas decorations already.

  • Casa e Cose says:

    Hi! Oh my that is some orginazied storing space shelves you have!
    Happy New Year!
    We made our palm into a christmas tree this year. No need to buy a tree I feel.
    My palm works well enough. And at granny my son will have his christmas tree as allways so…
    I though love traditions and im traying to get better at them – not so much for me but for my son. And it is fun!

  • Michelle says:

    Hi Benita!
    In the Southern U.S. (North Carolina) it’s considered bad luck to leave the tree up past December 31. You’re not supposed to have the “old year” meeting the “New Year?” Seems a bit kooky because everything thing else in the house has been in the old year, but there you go. Being the superstitious person that I am (I spent alot of time with my very Southern superstitious grandmother), I get antsy at the thought of leaving the tree or any other decorations up so down they all come! New Year’s Day has alot of superstition with it too; you’re supposed to eat black-eyed peas for luck and turnip greens for wealth and you can’t wash your clothes because someone in your family will die that year. No matter what I tell myself about it being complete and utter nonsense – well, the thought of not doing it makes me a nervous wreck (and my grandmother lived to be 95:)
    Take Care,
    Michelle
    p.s. our tree is out on the back deck in it’s plastic stand…they are always so beautiful that I leave them out there as long as possible!

  • monica says:

    I always host a New Years Day party, and since our home is very small, I generally take the tree down New Year Eve Day. It seems a bit early, but we really do need the space for the party! We have a big front porch, so I put (drag) the tree – with its lights still on it (but no ornaments) out to the front porch and put the lights on a timer. We can see it from the living room and also from the street – and it makes me smile! I leave the other decorations up for another week or so, and I leave the lights I have around the inside of our living room and dining room window up for most of the winter!

  • Lynn says:

    I put up the tree on the last Sunday of Advent and take it down Epiphany. Like another commenter, I find I really enjoy it during the more relaxed time after Christmas and I love having it for New Years Eve and Day.
    Most people in my part of the US find this odd though as the trend is to decorate the day after Thanksgiving (last Thursday in November) and undecorate immediately after Christmas Day. Sometimes ON Christmas day. In fact my neighbor took hers down Christmas Eve this year! Said it was driving her crazy and she just couldn’t stand it any more!

  • RebeccaNYC says:

    I put my christmas decorations up at 1st Advent, and take them down around epiphany. We don’t have a real tree, so I don’t have the needle problem anymore.
    And I too, am amazed that you can put all your “Jul” stuff in 2 small boxes! I feel like I have nothing and it gets stored in 4 big plastic bins! NOt to mention the tree itself…
    And the storage room! We rent one, (we live in Manhattan, and have no storage in our apartment) and let me tell you it is a horror. You have inspired me! (but you always do!)

  • Kari says:

    We typically take the tree down the day after Christmas. We are both academics and have a ton of work to do over the break in preparation for the next term, and it just feels right for us to take the tree down and have a fresh, uncluttered house when we turn to the work of the new term/year. We started doing this when we were in graduate school in Austin, Texas–we bought a live tree our first year and it was ready to go up in flames by Christmas and had to come down out of safety concerns. We found we liked the fresh, clean and tidy house as we started into the next year, so we kept up the tradition.
    That’s the nice thing about holidays–we can adapt them to our own needs!

  • Ana V. says:

    In Portugal,we leave it until Jan 6th the Kings. How I wish I had a house like yours with space to take everything so super neat.

  • norma says:

    In our household we have no traditions except to cut down a tree, Thanksgiving weekend, for Christmas. We go with my sister and her family to find the perfect tree. It usually comes down the weekend after Christmas since it’s pretty spent by then no matter how much I water it.
    I’m drooling over your storage shelves and all the bins. I need to do that.

  • Kim says:

    We don’t mind keeping it up through New year’s eve, but then it goes down that day or right after. We also like to burn ours in a big bonfire, sometimes on new Year’s eve itself. We join in with my brother-in-law who has a big party, with everyone bringing their trees. They also collect them from the curb in the neighborhood. He has a big space for a huge fire, and a firefighter friend on stand-by with extinguishers and water! The kids love it, though it might sound weird to burn something that was once so beautiful.

  • Amycapdet says:

    For several reasons we don’t put a tree at home, but the tradition here in Spain -at least in Catalonia as far as I know- is keeping it up -and all the things Christmas-y – till the Candelera or Candelaria day, which is one of the first days in February -I don’t remember whether the 2nd or the 3rd-. We never kept it up for so long either; not only it shed its needles on the floor, but everything got dusty after almost two months and looked dull.

  • Nancy in Canada says:

    We too take our tree down on New Year’s Day or the day after. We leave our tree at the curb and the town picks up the trees and chips them into mulch. Another town nearby holds a Winterfest Party in the middle of January and they ask people to bring their trees for chipping. They also offer horse drawn sleigh rides, skating and tobogganing, they roast hot dogs over a fire and serve hot chocolate. They have turned the municipal tax burden of disposing of Christmas trees into a party!

  • Bride of COG says:

    Your tree looks so pretty in the snow. I think the birds would appreciate it if you hung some little suet cakes or pinecones with peanut butter in them. And the birds would be little moving ornaments, too.
    Although, I don’t know how Mini or Bonus would feel about the birds.

  • Bride of COG says:

    Oh, and here in New England the town has a big bonfire in mid-January to which everyone brings their tree. It’s a party atmosphere, food booths abound, and a good way for the town to get rid of the old trees.

  • Vicki K says:

    Usually, I’m one to get the tree and trimmings put away by January 1st, but this year I have some Alaska relatives who don’t normally get to come for Christmas arriving today. I wanted them to see our “Christmas house” – so I’ll start putting away at the end of the week.

  • Linda says:

    Jag håller benhårt på traditionen! 🙂 Jag älskar att ha julen uppe tills den rätta dagen och då åker allt ner.
    Så härligt det ser ut med förrådet! Vi har bara en plats i gemensam källare som inte ens är färdigbyggd, så allt står huller om buller där nere. Hemskt att inte hitta det man behöver, så nu blev jag lite avis! 😉
    Kram

  • Mini and Bonus would love little birds in that tree…

  • This is all so interesting, hearing about your traditions!

  • Lisa A says:

    We usually get our tree closer to Christmas, say a week ahead, because we like to have it through the new year. This year we got our tree for free, so it came into the house two weeks before Christmas. It was dropping needles like crazy by Christmas, and I was so afraid it would go up in flames before trash day. In our city the recycling company will pick the tree up from the curb and mulch it, usually the first trash day of the new year.
    My former mother-in-law used to take down all the Christmas decorations the day after Christmas, and I found it a bit hasty for my taste. I like to savor the season while I still can.

  • Marianne says:

    In the Netherlands it is tradition to keep up the tree until Epiphany (January 6th). Ours will have to go on Friday, because we both have the time to take down everything.

  • Karen says:

    It blows my mind that you wait until a few days before Christmas to put your tree up! Here in our part of the US, people are itching to put the tree up as early as Thanksgiving day or even before that. I wonder if waiting until a few days before Christmas would make it feel more sentimental? Maybe one of this years I’ll have willpower and will try this. 🙂

  • Jill says:

    I don’t really follow a tradition, but I usually take the tree down Jan. 1st. If the needles are too impossible, I take it down sooner. This year I left the little white lights on the mantel up. I find them very pretty and uplifting. I remembered that you have lights on your mantle to help combat the lack of light during your winter, and I really liked that. Thank you for the idea!

  • Claudia says:

    Hi, new subscriber, came over from Bower Power, but I just wanted to let you know that my SIL and her husband are visiting – from Sweden! They’re going back on Thursday, but I just had to mention that. ’cause you know, you mentioned Sweden. Um, that’s it. For now.

  • Just found your blog (also from Bower Power). I am so inspired by your organizing. I really need to tackle my attic this year! Hope you’ll swing over and check out my blog as well!

  • Natalie says:

    Those little tags are really cute, and I loooove all of the storage bins! Organization is my favorite. 🙂 I am in the process of reorganizing our Guest Room/Office closet {BEFORE pic in my most recent post}. After pics coming soon!
    Be sure to enter my giveaway: http://lovelylittlenest.blogspot.com/2011/01/csn-giveaway-happy-new-year.html
    Happy New Year! 🙂

  • Emma says:

    Here in New Zealand the tradition (at least in our family) is to take the tree down by the 12th day after Christmas, which is the 6th. I never really knew the reason, but that it is bad luck to have it up longer. However, ours comes down earlier. We used to use a “faux” tree, but with a real one leaving it so long is just not feasible – especially since we tend to get it first or second weekend in December!! By shortly after Christmas I was starting to get a bit twitchy about the fire risk – especially as we are having a very hot dry summer!!

  • Jo says:

    I think that’s a shame.. but I guess it comes with having Thanksgiving so close to Christmas.
    We don’t have a ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday in the Britain, but here in Canada they have it in October, so the timing is more in keeping with the British tradition of Harvest Festival..[which is also about giving thanks]
    I suppose because there’s more of a separation between the two holidays, people aren’t sick of it so soon.
    Jo xx

  • tara says:

    We currently have our tree out on our deck. It’s about three feet from our living room through french doors. I hung a suet feeder and a birdfeeder on it, and it has become Cat TV, supplying hours of enjoyment for our felines who do not go outdoors.
    I like the idea of using the branches to shade tender shoots in the spring – thank you for that!
    Growing up, we used to either buy a tree we could plant, or we would use the tree as a slowly-decomposing shelter for birds and small mammals. I grew up with lots of land, though, so this strategy won’t work for everyone.

  • Jonella says:

    My Swedish-American family always leaves our decor and tree up until 20th Night when there is a fire (to burn the tree) and some song that I can’t remember the name of. At work, my co-workers get annoyed if I don’t remove my small holiday decorations by Epiphany (1/6). I’ve never understood the folks that just can’t wait to get rid of their holiday decorations. I like to let the joy and whimsy of the season linger a little

  • Allyson says:

    We leave our tree up for ages! It’s a fake tree, so we don’t have to worry about needle drop, and we put it in our living room, which we don’t really use anyways so it doesn’t really get in the way either. We usually take it down sometime in the middle of January — whenever we get around to it, really. My whole family really loves having a tree up. I think one time it was actually February before we took it down!

  • christine says:

    I try to take down the tree + decorations before I return to work in January! yesterday was the day! although it really isn’t “Boxing Day” that is what I call it – http://silverlinings4me.blogspot.com/2011/01/boxing-day.html

  • Kathy says:

    Here in Canada we really don’t have a specific day to take down our tree. This year we cut down a tree around December 10th and put it up. I love to have the house still all sparkly for New Year’s Eve so I leave the tree up for that. I took it down New Year’s day and it was just the right amount of time.
    Happy New Year!!

  • As with a number of others, it’s tradition to take the tree down 12 days after Christmas ie 6th January. However, we normally take it down on the 2nd Jan. Once New Year has passed then all the days thereafter seem like any normal day of the year and having the tree up just doesn’t feel right.
    BTW, where did you get those boxes from? I could certainly use a load myself!

  • I got them in a local department store called Åhléns years ago. The KASSETT boxes from IKEA are similar.

  • April says:

    I covet your storage room. My goal is to have mine looking as neat and organized as yours someday!

  • Kathryn Miller says:

    Hi there…
    I’m down in Australia, and of course, Christmas is done in the tropical heat with the airconditioner on! My family tradition is to not enter the New Year with the tree (or any other decorations) still up. The feeling of a fresh start in a New Year has me scurrying for the storage boxes by the 30th December usually, and it works well.
    Since there is no snow and the sun is getting up a 4.15am, the whole magical Christmas feeling is kind of lost here! So we get it down, head for the beach and get on with it!
    Kathryn M

  • calliope (Greece) says:

    pretty please,
    DO post an entire post on that storage room!
    AND the insides of all those containers.
    I’m sooo happy I found your blog!