The quick answer is, keep them up as long as possible. The secular and commercial world begins “Christmass” at Halloween. By the time December 25th arrives, many are tired of mangers, trees, and carols; on December 26th, trees are often tossed out and decorations come down, but for Christians, the observance of Christmass begins with the Advent season’s four weeks of preparation – a gradual, steady increase of lights and festivities surrounding our celebration of the birth of the Christ child and our anticipation of His return – the second Advent.
Christmass itself begins on December 25th and lasts a full 12 days, culminating with the festival of the Epiphany – the arrival of the Magi, bearing gifts for the young child. The Epiphany season lasts from five to eight weeks, depending on the date of Easter, and climaxes in the Transfiguration of Our Lord on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday – and in the Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras/ Fast Nacht night of feasting. Epiphany is a season of lights – the manifestation of the Jewish Messiah as God’s “light to the nations”. So, brave Christian saints, keep the lights lit, the candles burning, the decorations up and the carols singing throughout Epiphany!
Here are some traditional markers when Christians have taken down trees and decorations: Epiphany night (January 6); the Baptism of Our Lord (Sunday after Epiphany); Presentation of our Lord/ Candlemass (blessing of candles); Ground Hog’s Day (February 2); Festival of the Transfiguration (last Sunday of Epiphany Season); Shrove Tuesday (day before Ash Wednesday); when Lent begins.