Thursday, January 04, 2007

Old traditions

As one who looks with dismay at the annual (now, pre-) Thanksgiving rush to decorate for Christmas season, I enjoyed seeing a post on The Guardian's Newsblog about Twelfth Night. The twelve days of Christmas ends Saturday, and, according to the Newsblog, it's bad luck to leave your decorations up after midnight tomorrow, but traditional to keep them until then.

I have some years left a tree up until then. This year and the last three years we had living trees so couldn't keep them inside so long. We took ours outside Tuesday (it was losing needles) and planted it yesterday. Previous years' trees are happily growing around our mountain home, although we may not be quite high enough -- or Northern enough -- to sustain them to full growth.

As far as other decorations: I haven't turned outside lights on the last two nights, but may do it tonight and tomorrow, before taking them down. I thought I'd leave greenery inside a bit longer but....

According to a site from a school in Kent, in earlier times it was traditonal to leave decorations (greens, etc.) inside until Candlemas, in February. I guess houses were cold enough then that they wouldn't dry out. Yule logs were kept burning til twelfth night, and a traditional fruit cake was served.

Fascinating stuff. It's hard in these days of new traditions to remember the old, especially ones like this that are dying in this country. Worth doing.

And, the Guardian blog also mentions ways to recycle all that Christmas stuff we accumulate. The links are mostly UK links but there are similar things we can do here.


  • We haven't disposed of our live tree yet. (NYC doesn't start recycling 'em until Jan. 5.) However, to avoid fire hazards, we pulled down the decorations yesterday.

    Believe it or not, the tree still looks healthy and beautiful. The trick is to keep it well-watered until it's time to hit the streets.

    By Anonymous Jade Walker, at 6:03 AM  

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