Some individuals think that removing your Christmas tree after midnight on December 31st would bring you bad luck in the New Year. If you are superstitious, you should remove the tree before midnight on New Year's Eve to avoid ill luck in the next year. The idea comes from an old English tradition called "outwitting the Devil." As part of this tradition, people would leave their trees up through the last night of December so that Satan could not cut them down before New Year's Day.
In recent years, many homeowners choose to dispose of their Christmas trees immediately after New Year's Day instead of waiting until after Valentine's Day. This is because trees contain toxic chemicals that can leach into the soil if they aren't disposed of properly or within legal limits. Toxins that may be found in discarded trees include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, formaldehyde, hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid), and mercury. The best way to handle a discarded tree is to contact local authorities to determine whether there is a landfill site near you. If so, then you should put the tree in your garbage rather than placing it in your regular trash bin.
Christmas trees are made from wood, which grows back even if it is cut down. Therefore, removing your Christmas tree early isn't going to cause it to grow back any faster than normal.
Even if you pulled down your Christmas tree over the weekend, it's possible that it's too late to avert bad luck. Some individuals think that if you don't take down your Christmas tree by midnight on New Year's Eve, you will bring "all your baggage and bad luck from last year into the new year," according to the website sheknows.com. If you want to keep your tree up after New Years, consider putting a red candle in a glass of water underneath it to ward off evil spirits.
Putting up the tree too early or leaving it up too late was thought to bring ill luck. The Christmas tree should be raised and decorated on Christmas Eve, December 24th, and taken down after the Twelve Days of Christmas, which run from December 2nd (Jesus' birthday) through January 6th (Arrival of The Magi). If the tree is not taken down by then, someone will have to cut it down before it dies.
This old wives' tale probably started with people cutting down trees on Christmas Eve in order for them to be decorated for the next Christmas. Since then, people have been decorating their own trees or having them done by others early in the year. There are several stories told about how Christmas trees came to be used as holiday decorations, but they all center around Christians burying their heads in the snow in search of fruit-bearing trees. When they found one, they would take it home and use it for Christian purposes throughout the year. As time passed, people began using non-fruit-bearing evergreens instead, but they still needed to be brought into the house for use during the holidays. This could only be done at Christmas when families went caroling together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Today, most people have no reason to cut down a Christmas tree before Christmas Eve; however, they are still often put up early in the year. If you ask ten people what happens if you leave your tree up past Christmas, you might get eleven different answers!