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When should you put up Christmas lights? A new survey illuminates an evergreen debate

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the age-old debate alights: When should you hang up your Christmas decorations? A new survey reveals where Americans stand.
Kinga Krzeminska
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Now that Thanksgiving is over, the age-old debate alights: When should you hang up your Christmas decorations? A new survey reveals where Americans stand.

Updated November 29, 2022 at 5:49 AM ET

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but that won't stop the debate over the appropriate time to hang up Christmas lights.

The home improvement website House Method surveyed almost 4,000 U.S. homeowners to ask them what day is acceptable to begin decorating.

Dec. 1 was the most common response, but most people said they planned to begin earlier than that, in early to mid-November.

The survey also found that procrastination over decorating is real, with almost 3% saying they'd hang up their lights on Christmas Day itself.

House Method's David Cusick calls that "a little wild."

"I don't think my wife will let me get away with trying to do presents and hang up Christmas lights on December 25th," Cusick said.

The website also found some differences by state. While a majority of states — 34 out of 50 — believe that hanging up lights before Thanksgiving is too early, people in Georgia responded that October is the earliest they'd display lights.

"Maybe they just want to get in the holiday spirit a little early," said Cusick.

NPR did a much smaller, much less scientific survey: asking Black Friday shoppers in Beacon, New York when they thought the best time to hang Christmas lights is.

"Today, the day after Thanksgiving," was the view of Hakiem Simmons. But he doesn't begrudge those who got an earlier start.

"I used to be a person who did not particularly like Christmas, but as I get older and more festive, you have to capitalize on those days that you have. So I highly recommend whatever day feels comfortable for you and your family, start there," Simmons added.

Fellow shopper Robin Cullen agreed that after Thanksgiving is preferable. "I like to keep the holidays separate, to be able to enjoy each one."

Daria Pugh might end up being one of those last-minute light hangers.

"I feel like it's the day before Christmas. It's not the best day, but that's when it happens," Pugh said.

Even if you get a late start on putting up your lights, maybe you'll enjoy them for a lot longer than most. The House Method survey found that 4% of homeowners will leave their Christmas lights up all year.

They might have been inspired by the British glam-rock band Wizzard's 1973 hit "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday."

The audio for this story was produced by Kaity Kline and Phil Harrell, and edited by Adam Bearne.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Adam Bearne
Adam Bearne is an editor for Morning Edition who joined the team in August 2022.