More Than Half of Americans Say It's OK to Keep Holiday Decorations Up Past Jan. 1

More Than Half of Americans Say It’s OK to Keep Holiday Decorations Up Past Jan. 1

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about our lives — and that includes how we’re celebrating the holidays this year.

Many people are traveling less or skipping traditional gatherings. With unemployment still high, gifts might be less of a priority this year for some.

But we wondered how the pandemic has impacted one of our favorite holiday traditions — decorating. Has COVID-19 changed how Americans are decorating their homes for the season? Has it changed how we think about and appreciate our holiday decorations?

We surveyed 1,101 Americans to find out, and now it’s here: Neighbor’s 2020 “Deck the Halls” Report. We’ll dig deeper into all of these statistics down below, but here’s a quick summary of some of the most interesting things we learned:

  • The largest share of respondents (around a third of them) say the day after Thanksgiving is the best day to put up decorations. Dec. 1 and the Saturday after Thanksgiving were also popular days for decorating.
  • More than half of Americans say it’s OK to leave your decorations up past Jan. 1 — 51% of respondents said Jan. 2 is the best day to take them down.
  • With that in mind, when is “too late” to still have decorations up? Respondents were divided — 31% said Jan. 15, and 33% said Feb. 1. Don’t tell that to the 9% who said it’s fine to leave them up all year.
  • Lights out? Apparently not. Almost half of Americans say it’s totally OK to leave holiday lights on all night long.
  • How does COVID-19 factor in when it comes to holiday decorating? Almost half of Americans said they’re either decorating earlier or decorating more than usual.
  • 83% said decorations are helping bring more joy to a tough year. But people are also decorating more and earlier because they’re spending more time at home, and can take time to really enjoy their holiday handiwork.
  • The holiday spirit abounds! 74% of people are feeling neighborly about the holidays, and don’t see decorating as a competition with their neighbors.

When Should Decorations Go Up? At Least Wait Til After Thanksgiving

When Should Decorations Go Up? At Least Wait Til After Thanksgiving

It’s a debate that’s raged for years: How early is too early for holiday decorations? Americans feel so strongly about the subject, they’ve given it a name: “Christmas creep,” or the way holiday items and sales seem to start appearing in stores earlier and earlier each year.

In our survey, there was no clear consensus here, except that most Americans (80% of them, to be exact) say you should at least wait til Thanksgiving has passed. More specifically, the most popular days for putting decorations up were:

  • The day after Thanksgiving (34%)
  • Dec. 1 (16%)
  • The Saturday after Thanksgiving (13%) 

What About Taking Them Down? More Than Half Say After the New Year

What About Taking Them Down? More Than Half Say After the New Year

Just as hotly debated is the question of when holiday decorations should come down. Is it OK to leave them up after Christmas Day? Boxing Day? New Year’s Eve? Valentine’s Day?

Once again, Americans who participated in our survey were split on the exact day. However, there’s no need to rush to get your decorations down right after Christmas — more than half of people said the best day to un-decorate is Jan. 2. That’s why we’re officially declaring Jan. 2 to be National Un-Deck the Halls Day. You heard it here first.

When Is “Too Late” to Have Decorations Up? (We Say Never)

When Is “Too Late” to Have Decorations Up? (We Say Never)

If we’re all waiting til after the New Year to take our decorations down, why not just keep waiting? Why not just keep them up and spread that holiday cheer all the way til spring?

Well, we wouldn’t mind — but your neighbors might. According to our survey, there is a point when it becomes “too late” for holiday decorations to still be up.

Once again, respondents were mixed. But the majority of people said that decorations are up “too late” if you don’t take them down by Feb. 1. There is that 9% of people who said they can stay up all year — they’re invited to all our holiday parties (once parties are a thing again).

What Time Should Holiday Lights Be Turned Off? Most People Say There Isn’t One

What Time Should Holiday Lights Be Turned Off? Most People Say There Isn’t One

Lights out? Apparently not. When asked what time exterior holiday lights and other light-up decorations should be turned off, nearly half of Americans said it’s actually fine to leave them on all night. That’s the kind of holiday cheer we’re here for.

However, almost a third of people (29%, to be exact) said 10 p.m., so if you want to err on the side of caution, that’s probably a good time to pull the plug for the night.

Has the Pandemic Changed Decorating Habits? In a Word, Yes

One of the biggest things we wondered about was how COVID-19 was affecting people’s decorating habits.

Most Americans say they’re decorating earlier than usual, putting up more decorations than usual, or both. In fact, 33% said they’re decorating earlier and 26% said they’re decorating more, compared to just 14% who said they’re decorating later and 19% who said they’re decorating less.

Has the Pandemic Changed Decorating Habits? In a Word, Yes

The reasons people are changing their decorating habits are varied, but the overwhelming majority of people — 83% — said holiday decorating is helping them bring some cheer to a year that’s been really tough.

holiday decorating is helping them bring some cheer to a year that’s been really tough.

It’s no wonder people want those holiday decorations up in their homes — the top way people said the pandemic is disrupting their usual holiday traditions is that they’re traveling less and spending more time at home with their immediate families. If you decorate more, that just means more time to admire your holiday handiwork.

pandemic affecting holiday traditions

Are Decorators Feeling Neighborly? Most Said Yes

We here at Neighbor love learning more about how neighbors come together for one another. So we were pretty excited to see that most Americans don’t compete with their neighbors over holiday decorations. We hope the 24% who do are keeping things fun and friendly.

Are Decorators Feeling Neighborly? Most Said Yes

And since our platform is all about connecting neighbors to share extra space in their homes with others who need to store belongings, we couldn’t let this survey go without asking people about where they store their holiday decor during the off-season.

where do people store holiday decorations after use

Basements, garages, and closets are all popular spots, but if you don’t have those spaces in your home — or you’re just running out of storage space for your holiday display — consider Neighbor to find a safe, secure place for your decorations to live from Jan. 2 to the day after next Thanksgiving (or whenever you decide you want to put them up and take them down).

Survey Methodology

We surveyed 1,101 American adults using Pollfish.com. They came from 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Their ages broke down like this:

  • 18-24 years old: 12%;
  • 25-34 years old: 28%;
  • 35-44 years old: 37%;
  • 45-54 years old: 12%;
  • 55 and older: 12%.

54% were female and 46% were male.