Coweta Fayette Real Estate & Newnan Homes for sale blog by Richard Weisser of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers

The Christmas Light Syndrome, when is it too late to put them up or take them down?

House at ChristmasIt has always been a curiosity of mine, when do Christmas lights go up on the outside of a house and when do you take them down?

It's not an easy consideration. After all, if you go to a lot of trouble to put them up, you want to enjoy then for more than a few days.

Not surprisingly, I have made an extensive study of this issue and find that the majority are turned on two weeks before Christmas. The peak is the weekend before Christmas, as some people leave town and the lights go out!

In the South, we have a dilemma. Old time Southerners believe it's bad luck to have the Christmas decorations up on New Year's Day, so many go down the day after Christmas. Yankee transplants like me insist on them burning through the holidays and sometimes beyond!

Christmas LightsFor me, typically they're up the weekend after Thanksgiving through the day after New Years. We enjoy the decorations so longer is better. For the first time this year they went up the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving.

Just wondering how this varies throughout the land and beyond. What do you do about decorating? When do yours go up and when do you take them down?

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46 commentsRichard Weisser • December 03 2008 07:09AM

Comments

I agree with your schedule.  I get irritated when I see them any later than January 3rd.  (on or off).

Posted by Melody Botting (Melody Botting Real Estate Network) almost 6 years ago

In my neighborhood, we tend to leave them up and shining until January 6.  Usually, they are put up the day after Thanksgiving.  I haven't gotten around to it yet but several neighbors are up and running and it looks great when I am walking JJ.

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) almost 6 years ago

We have the same schedule as you.  Happy Holidays

Posted by Mark Watterson, Utah Real Estate almost 6 years ago

Mel...

About 40% on people in my area (Those that do lights) agree! lol

Susan...

Growing up in Pittsburgh, my dad was a fanatic about leaving the lights on through the Feast of the Kings, or Little Christmas in January 6th. When I carried that tradition to Georgia they thought that I was a lunatic!

I hung in there for a few years, and then finally realized it wasn't going to catch on. I'm glad to hear that the tradition lives in your area!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Mark...

That seems to be the trend, although as a child they went up later and stayed on longer!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Here in Nova Scotia we  have the same dilemma.....those who live in subdivisions tend to feel pressured not to deviate too much from their neighbors. But we never know when there might be a big snow and so we try to take advantage of favorable conditions for doing outdoor decorations at/around the first of December.

In the days of 'hot' Christmas lights most people would put up the tree a week before Christmas.....now that we have safer lighting, that time is about two weeks before. [esp if your tree is fresh]

Believe it or not, it's not unusual to have a green Christmas in Nova Scotia.

Joyeux Noel!

Posted by Melva Reid, Exit Realty Optimum 902-403-5420 (Exit Realty Optimum) almost 6 years ago

Richard, When you get a chance post the Excel spreadsheet with the averages. I'm beginning to wonder about people named Richard being too analytical.

Around here the Thanksgiving weekend gets the nod for lights going up. Second week in January for coming down. Of course, there is always the odd neighbor who leaves them up all year.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 6 years ago

I think before Thanksgiving is bad. Get through one holiday before the first. I would say right before New Years or the day after is fine with me but anylonger and that's bad.

Posted by Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary, First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes (LemonTree Realty) almost 6 years ago

We typically spend Saturday after Thanksgiving putting up lights and stuff, then taking them down depends ... but never before New Years day.

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) almost 6 years ago

Melva...

First, in my mind I can't reconcile Nova Scotia and subdivisions! lol And I guess I forget that a lot of it is determined by the weather in some areas. Here, it rained all weekend, so few lights went up!

Oh, I burned my fingers many times as a child toughing a hot light in the SNOW! Those things could fry an egg!

Thanks for sharing, that's what I love best about AR! The diversity of the community.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Rich...

The "Christmas Room" is more popular than you think! Many have a secret Christmas nook tucked away somewhere! But some are just lazy! lol

Another tradition here is you must eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Day! Lucky for me, I love them!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

My decorations usually go up the first weekend of December and come down the first weekend of January.  Some of my neighbors here in St. Augustine, Florida, started decorating Thanksgiving Day!  That is a bit early for me.  Besides, after eating a big Turkey dinner, I just want to relax and watch football.

Posted by Marjorie Taylor, New Homes in St. Augustine Florida (Landon Homes) almost 6 years ago

We are on the same schedule here too! 

Posted by Kristin Johnston, Waukesha Realtor 414-254-6647, Waukesha County Realtor, RE/MAX Buyer Agent (RE/MAX Realty Center ) almost 6 years ago

Heather...

I think you're in agreement with the large portion of the South, but in some area, they start later and leave them up longer ... I think that four total weeks is about right!

Gail...

It is hard to put them away, isn't it? Thanks for supplying a "vote" from your area!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Richard - I try to get them up within the week or 10 days following Thanksgiving and like to keep them up, or active, until Jan. 6, the traditional last day of Christmas. Since it was cold and rainy last weekend they will probably go up this weekend.

However, I do believe it is tacky to leave the lights up all year, and there are plenty southerners around here that appear to be more lazy than superstitious about leaving them up.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) almost 6 years ago

Outside decorations usually go up the day after Thanksgiving and come down before the New Year.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA (Michael's Commercial LLC) almost 6 years ago

I don't think Thanksgiving is too soon but I do think they should be down by the day after NYE.  I'm w/Mel it irritates me to see them up later than that.  Take em down already! KM

Posted by Kristin Moran, San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397 (Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net) almost 6 years ago

When I was a young lass the tradition was the first week of advent to the epiphany on Jan 6.

Posted by Renée Burrows, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) almost 6 years ago

In some neighborhoods there are holiday lights year round!

;)

Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E. Selling Homes in Lake Travis & Central Austin! (512-771-6318 Austin Home Girls Realty) almost 6 years ago

When my kids were little we used to decorate . Now we're trying to keep the lector bill down.  LOL

Posted by Tami Vroma, Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

Typically light around here start going up in mid November and turned on after Thanksgiving. 

In my house though, the lights, trees, etc, go up in Early October.  Its alot of work putting them up so I want to enjoy them for as long as possible.  I take them down New Years Day.  My wife goes to her mom's house with the kids and I strip all of the lights and decorations and get the house back in order. 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) almost 6 years ago

Marjorie...

Although this year the games were not what you would call "nail-biters!" Thanks for chiming in!

Kristin J...

Thanks for the "vote!" lol

Mike...

I am surprised at the number of responses that say until the 6th ... because when I try to push that tradition, I am the "lone ranger!" My dad was a stickler for 12th night!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Seems like they are up until Feb in CA!

Posted by Cristal Drake, Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate (Prudential California Realty) almost 6 years ago

Richard,

The easiest solution is to leave them up all year (not the yard lights but the ones on the eaves). Then you can turn them on whenever you want. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, New Home Sales Trainer/Coach, Sales Books Author (Hoffacker Associates LLC) almost 6 years ago

So you are a yankee in the south - me too. Didn't know that it was supposed to be bad luck to have lights up after Jan 1 but no one around here has them up at that time so you are probably right. Love the blog!!

Posted by Kathy Knight, BROKER, ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR, Wilmington NC Homes and Beach Homes (Intracoastal Realty Corp) almost 6 years ago

I do very simple decorations for Christmas, and I have to do any this year. But, we normally put them up just after Thanksgiving and take them down just after Christmas. However, many people around me had their lights up before Thanksgiving and like you, will leave them up through New Years. I think it really boils down to personal preference and whether or not you can afford the light bill.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Russell and Jeffcoat) almost 6 years ago

Michael S...

One of the first "votes" for coming down before New Years! Thanks!

Kristin M...

Some Eastern cultures celebrate Christmas on January 6th, officially the Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas. Most kids love this because they usually get TWO Christmases! Cool, eh?

Renee...

Which is pretty much where we were when I was a child ... with some exceptions, but that's for my Christmas Eve post!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Richard:  Here in Northern VA, it's a good idea to consult the HOA covenants.  Leaving lights up too long after New Year's Day (like into Feb...and it happens) can have you landing some hefty fines.  But I think you are typical of folks up here.  Day after Thanksgiving to Day after New Year's Day.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Northern VA (Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA) almost 6 years ago

With the kids gone and just the two of use we put up the decorations when we have a holiday event and when the events are over the decorations come down no specific schedule.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) almost 6 years ago

Richard, we always put our up the weekend after Thanksgiving and leave them up through the New Year. My tree won't be up until this weekend, but my lights are on the house.

Posted by Anita Beach, Real Estate Assistant - Maple Valley, WA (RE/MAX Select Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

New year's day is our dead line for Christmas lights. As for putting them up, just after Thanksgiving works for us.

Posted by Scott Barr, Realtor (Hom Sotheby's international Realty) almost 6 years ago

Richard, what amazes me is the people that just leave them up ALL year long. I have seen this many times with the dangling lights in particular.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 6 years ago

We don't have a regular schedule at my house. When my wife decides they go up and vice versa.

Posted by Cameron Wilson, The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee California (Labrum Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

Richard...I am closee to your schedual.  We turn ours on a bit later.  this friday will be day 1, and then we leave them on until the 5th of Jan. (the twelve days of Christmas).  I have freinds that light up a day here and there all year as a sign of worship to our creator.  Not my style, but to each thier own!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 6 years ago

Richard...I am closee to your schedual.  We turn ours on a bit later.  this friday will be day 1, and then we leave them on until the 5th of Jan. (the twelve days of Christmas).  I have freinds that light up a day here and there all year as a sign of worship to our creator.  Not my style, but to each thier own!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 6 years ago

Betina...

Which I think makes them less special, but to each his own! ;)

Tami V...

Those LED lights draw VERY little power!

Chad...

Wow, you're the earliest one so far! Thanks.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Cristal...

Now THAT is laid back!

Steve H...

I wonder when they start building them in a new house as an upgrade?

Kathy...

It's bad luck to have them up ON January 1, so they have to come down BEFORE New Years!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

JL...

With these new low power LED lights they can be on ALL THE TIME! Yikes.

Chris Ann...

Wow, that's an angle I never considered! Thanks for bringing it up!

Terry...

Well, that's an interesting way of doing it! ;)

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Richard" Personally, I think the weekend after Thanksgiving they should go on and the weekend after New Years should come down.  Amazingly, sometimes going through different areas in town, some leave them up all year long (just not on) which tells me a little something about the household.  Their is some beautiful lighting done this year.  Makes one think Christmas is coming LOL

Posted by Dona Reynolds, St. Joseph MO (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers) almost 6 years ago

Anita...

We had rain all last weekend, so a bunch of the usual folks didn't get the lights up! Hopefully, things will be well on their way this weekend!

Scott...

You're with the majority! Thanks.

Gary W...

That is SO tacky it's beyond belief!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers) almost 6 years ago

Hmmmm.... I think I'm in trouble.  Ours went up in October and won't come down until May. :)  It's too damn cold to put them up in December and colder still in January.  At least they DO come down at some point... unlike a lot of folks who just figure it too much darn work.

Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Fairbanks Alaska Real Estate Specialists, 907-328-9328 (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) almost 6 years ago

Great, I will check back often. I really like the blog. I am new at blogging but I am beginning to learn quite a bit from reading blogs like the ones I find on Active Rain. If I can ever be of help just let me know.  

                                                                 Thanks, Terry

                                                                  Of "Now What?"

Posted by Terry Miller, Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator (Miller Homes Group) almost 6 years ago

Richard, don't ask me why, but ours stay up til the orthodox Christmas which is sometime in January!  Don't know how that cam about, but it's the way my parents did it!

And of course in some neighborhoods, they do stay up year round!

Laura G  

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) almost 6 years ago

Richard, I have always pretty much done like you.  The weekend after Thanksgiving and a day or so after New Years. (according to how much recuperating time I need!)  I actually use to think it was bad luck to keep them up for New Years and took them down the day before!  NOW today is the 4th and I just stood the tree up and turned on the lights...still no decorations!  I have AR to blame for that........it is my new addiction!

Debbie

Posted by Debbie Hutchins almost 6 years ago

I always believed the decorations should stay up until Jan 6, the day of the Epiphany. Mine usually stay up longer partly out of laziness, and partly out of a reluctance to give up on my favorite holiday season. This year I had the lights on until Jan. 9, as some of my neighbors still had theirs on as well. This year someone informed me that it is bad luck to keep the decorations up too long, so they are all coming down today! I don't want to take any chances!

Posted by Susan almost 6 years ago

I should have mentioned that I live in NJ, and am not from the south. Maybe because the winters are so dark and dreary here, we are more reluctant to give up the cheery lights and decorations.

Posted by Susan almost 6 years ago

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