The 10 Stages of Saying Goodbye to Your Christmas Tree

By Julia Millay Walsh |

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This piece originally appeared on

Many people like to keep their Christmas trees up through the new year, and that's A-okay in our book. But there comes a time when it's just been too long. When that time comes, just know that you're not in this alone. There's a whole collective of people out there who just can't say goodbye. We know. We've been there. To help you through this dark period, we've outlined the 10 stages of saying goodbye to your Christmas tree. Now you know what to expect... and come January 19, you can celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with no looming greenery to be ashamed of.

1. Denial

This initial stage begins on Dec. 26. The reality that you will eventually have to un-trim your tree, store your decorations, and leave your tree on the curb may have crossed your mind, but you promptly pushed it to the deepest depths of your intellect, next to those old House & Garden and Domino issues you're irrationally holding on to.

2. Compliance

Your housemates or family members have approached you and inquired about when you'd like the tree to come down, or perhaps given you a directive. You have verbally complied, or maybe agreed that it must, but there is not one drop of emotion in your soul that actually believes it will... no logical thought in your brain that plans to make it happen.

3. Procrastination

Okay, the pine needles have begun to track throughout the house. You find them in your upstairs bedroom, and you swiftly brush them aside before your better half sees. Now you know the tree should come down. But there are so many returns to make, and you have to shop those great post-Christmas sales while you can. Plus, your cousins who you never, ever silently judge are only in town for so long. So you really should make plans to spend time with them. Who has a moment to deal with the tree? Not you.

4. Blame

You're more than happy to take down the tree, you say. But you can't do it alone. Your family knows you don't like bringing boxes up to the attic when it's cold—they need to help. And you've been telling them for days to go pick up one of those ornament organizers at The Container Store so you can properly store the glass bulbs immediately after you remove them from the tree. It's really not your fault the tree hasn't come down yet.

5. Nostalgia

Oh! The time has finally come to un-trim the tree. Michael Bublé is playing on Spotify. What a lovely day to spend with your family. Ohh!! Honey, remember when Sally glued this piece of pasta to cardboard when she was three? She used to be so cute. Oh no! That one's my favorite. I get to take it down. Yes, I like the clip-on peacock ornament with one eye the best. It's so feathery and soft.

For the rest of the stages of saying goodbye to your Christmas tree go to

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