How long can you keep those Christmas decorations up until your neighbors start to judge?

Everyone has their own opinion on when to take down Christmas decor. Some say that it's best to take them down by December 31, so that you get a "fresh start" in the new year. Others follow the tradition of Twelfth Night (Jan 5.).

Whichever way you decide to go, early January seems to be the move. Some even believe that leaving decorations up too late will lead to bad luck. Beyond the superstition, leaving them up will definitely lead to your neighbors staring and whispering.

When it comes time to take all the holiday decor down, it can seem a little overwhelming—but it doesn't have to be. I took my lights down the day after Christmas, and the entire process took less than 20 minutes—a fraction of the time it took to put them up.

By the way—starting with the outdoors is the way to go when it comes to taking down the decorations. Knock the big stuff out first, plus you'll take care of the first place that will be scrutinized by the outside world.

The Edinburgh Christmas Fair Open For The Festival Period
Jeff J Mitchell, Getty Images

One major key to taking down decorations is thinking ahead to next year when you'll be taking them down. Labeling decorations and even marking sections for lights, wreaths and other decorations will speed up the process when you take them down next year.

Which leads to the next key to de-holidizing your decor—taking down decorations in reverse order. Basically, the last thing you put up should be the first thing you put away. This will make it a breeze to decorate next Christmas.

After you go through the indoor decorations, from the mantle to the dining room table, the final piece to take down should be the tree. If you have a live tree, it's already important to make sure to take it down before the four week mark to avoid increased fire hazards from the dry pine needles.

Like all the other decorations, reverse order is the way to go. Make sure you keep something soft on the ground until you're done taking all the ornaments off. Also, if you have an artificial tree, I highly suggest getting one of those huge tree bags to store it in.

With that said, Merry Christmas cleanup, and Happy New Year!

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