When should you put your Christmas decorations up?
We're not even into December and we've already spotted a few houses with their Christmas decorations up.
But are you really getting too excited if you put your tree up this week?
And are you being too mean if you're making side remarks about those who have already decked their homes with bows of holly, festive flamingos and flashing lights?
When is the watershed for Christmas decorations? The answer is, there isn't one. But here are some popular (and less popular) notions:
Traditionally Christmas decorations went up on Christmas Eve and not before. In fact, it was bad luck to bring evergreens into the house before then.
But, let's face it, who other than the super-stringent or chronically disorganised waits until then these days?
This at least shows some restraint: you have waited until the beginning of December.
This is also the traditional day Australians put their decorations up, ready for the beginning of what is their summer holidays.
But while it's December, it still isn't Christmas, so perhaps waiting until the 1st of the month is just a token gesture to restraint.
If you caved at the weekend and your tree was up while it was still November, this is where you win.
Advent, the season when Christians prepare for the celebration of Christmas, begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas - Sunday November 27 this year.
Technically this is the official beginning of the build-up to Christmas, so use this as a stick to beat off your critics.
12 days before Christmas?
Some people use this argument mistakenly thinking the 12 days of Christmas lead up to Christmas Day. But they don't.
The 12 days of Christmas, as featured in the song, begin the day after Christmas Day, and end on Epiphany on January 6.
Two weeks before Christmas?
Seen by many as a good compromise, this will also make sure your tree doesn't end up nothing more than a bald twig by Christmas Day. But, again, there's no basis for it.
Around the world
To make things more complicated, people around the world celebrate Christmas and hang their decorations on different days.
In some cultures, the decorations go up on Saint Nicholas's Day (December 6). And Eastern churches use the Julian calendar, so celebrate Christmas on what for us is January 7.
In America, Christmas basically begins when Thanksgiving is over on the last Thursday in November.
So, in summary, there is no set date to put your tree up. Just do it when you want, and try not to be scathing when your neighbour has theirs twinkling bright halfway through November.
It's Christmas after all.
Is yours up yet?
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