Why I take the tree down on Epiphany

Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a tree by the curb on Dec. 26. In our house, we don't take the tree down till Epiphany (actually Epiphany Eve last night)--dry needles be damned.

It's not only laziness that has us keeping our decorations up long after most folks have already returned to work and school (We got them up late too). It's that we're trying to pay some attention to the liturgical calendar--not just the secular one. And that calendar says Christmas is not a 24-hour feast.

Now, I know some purists will say that Christmas really ends the Sunday after Epiphany, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Others will insist it really goes until Feb. 2, on the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple.

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But if I waited that long I wouldn't be able to recycle our tree. At least the City of Chicago has moved the deadline for dropping off your tree for mulching past the new year. Maybe celebrating the 12 days of Christmas isn't so countercultural, after all.


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