If you've been looking for a reason to keep your Christmas decorations up a bit longer, this is it.

By Emily VanSchmus
January 03, 2020
Elizabeth Sallee Bauer / Getty Images

When it comes to holiday decorations, there are two kinds of people: Those who take down their Christmas trees down on December 26, and those who aren't quite ready for the season to be over. And while taking down the tree is usually less fun than putting it up, there's actually another good reason people wait to do it. If you've been looking for an excuse to keep listening to Christmas music and admiring your festive decor, you're in luck: Tradition says you should be celebrating Christmas (and leaving your decorated tree up) through January 6.

You're probably familiar with the song about the 12 days of Christmas—but you may not have known that the 12 days don't actually start until Christmas Day, meaning there are almost two full weeks of celebrating to do after Santa arrives. According to Christian tradition, January 6 marks the day the three kings actually arrived in Bethlehem and signals the end of the Christmas celebrations.

Related: How to Replant Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

This day is called The Feast of Epiphany, The Twelfth Night, or Three Kings Day, and in some parts of the world, it signifies a celebration that's just as big as the one on Christmas Day. And while we'll welcome any excuse to leave the ornaments and lights up a little longer, tradition says it's actually unlucky to take your tree down before this date. When you do finally take down the tree, don't just leave it on the curb; you can actually recycle live Christmas trees by finding a recycling program or having them chipped into mulch for your garden.

While the Christmas festivities technically end on Epiphany, the holidays aren't over just yet. The day also marks the official start of the Mardi Gras season, so it's tradition to serve King Cake on January 6. The tradition of Three Kings Day is actually where the name "king cake" comes from—and why there’s a tiny plastic baby hidden inside.

This article originally appeared on Better Homes & Gardens by Emily VanSchmus.


Comments (4)

January 7, 2020
According to some historians Jesus Christ was 2 to 3 years old before the magi found him and we usually say 3 wise men because there are 3 gifts mentioned but true be told we don’t know how many there were. If you look at the Christmas story in the Bible you will see it says the Child not the Baby this is why the historians think he was more toddler than newborn or infant.
January 5, 2020
This is a wonderful tradition, one which I follow! I also have more reasons for doing so. My mother’s birthday was on January 5th, and mine is on January 6th. It’s very comforting to be surrounded by the warmth of the Christmas spirit as long as possible! Happy Bithday Mom🥰
January 5, 2020
This is a wonderful tradition that I have always followed! However I also have another reason for it. My mother’s birthday was on January 5th and mine is on January 6, the Epiphany! I’ve always thought it was nice to still be surrounded by the peaceful feelings from the Christmas spirit on my birthday🥰
January 5, 2020
Thank you for this! Having the tree up is super important to our family. Now I have some evidence to support it.🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁🌲😁