But I'm not sure this feels right now, or ever did.
It increasingly feels to me like winter feasting time and new year at the solstice instead. This is instinctively the 'start of Christmas' for me, which is probably why my decorations go up when they do - I'm subconsciously aiming for the 21st.
So if the 21st is '1st day', this would put 12th Night on 2nd Jan - yesterday! And that is indeed when I wanted to take them down. I looked at the tree and thought: you have to go. But it didn't, it stayed. Because although I aspire to live by instinct, I'm a sucker for tradition - if only I could work out what it actually is.
Well, as all sensible bloggers are probably sleeping ATM I'll google it.
OK, The Gray Monk reckons 12th Night falls on Epiphany on the 6th, which has made sense to me in previous years.
Wikipedia puts it on the 5th too, and explains the confusion between the 5th/6th as follows: "In some traditions it is taken to mean the evening of the Twelfth Day itself, the sixth of January. This apparent difference has arisen probably due to the old custom of treating sunset as the beginning of the following day. Therefore Twelfth Night would have been considered as occurring on the twelfth day, though in present day custom it is the previous day." Hmmm... that doesn't make much sense to me. Never mind.
Although one of the following paragraphs: "In Tudor England, the Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve — which some now celebrate as Halloween. A King or Lord of Misrule would be appointed to run the Christmas festivities, and the Twelfth Night was the end of his period of rule. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition can be traced back to pre-Christian European festivals such as the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia. The Winter Solstice (December 21st) marks the 1st day of many Pagan Winter Festivals. The 12 nights following and including the solstice represent the 12 zodiac signs of the year - and the 12th Night (New Years Day) is a culmination and celebration of the Winter Festivals" seems to indicate New Years Day is also an option.
Tradition is evidently a fickle thing. (Though I am attracted to the idea of a Lord of Misrule feast - I keep saying I'll hold one one year!)
Hmmm this page equates it with the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which was their winter solstice, which took place on 17th December! Gah.
OK, let's take a consensus: when does Christmas (or whatever you call your midwinter celebration) end for you, please, dear readers? Do you do anything special to finish it off, as it were? Or just quietly put the decorations back in their boxes? And is there any reason why you do it the way you do?