A recent conversation disclosed that my friend knew of someone who takes down Christmas decorations at home – on December 26th! Unfortunately, we all know this is not unique. Apparently, the frenetic commercialization of Christmas over the last two generations has inverted the understanding of when this season occurs. Advent is the preparation for Christmas. Christmas Day is the first day of the Christmas season.
The arrival of The Three Wise Men on the Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas and symbolizes the end of the season for many. The Catholic Church marks the return of “ordinary time” as the eighth day following the Sunday celebrating the Epiphany. 1
Some may choose to leave Christmas decorations up longer, but they should be removed by the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. While the liturgical seasons go from one to the other, the spirit of Christmas (and Easter) should be evident in our actions throughout the year!
1 – Father Edward McNamara, LC, A Zenit Daily Dispatch, 7/17/2012, EWTN.com