Epiphany: The End of the Christmas Season
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light
-"We Three Kings of Orient Are"
Some think that Christmas ends once the ball drops in Times Square, but the season of Christmas as celebrated by most of the Church ended yesterday, at the feast of the Epiphany. The holiday commemorates the Magi visiting the Holy Family, bringing forth gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (The Wii, regrettably, didn’t make the final cut in their gift selections. Not that you’d want to play video games in a stable anyway.)
The unofficial penitential season of "Removing Everything Christmasesque From The House" follows shortly after Epiphany. Unless, of course, you want to keep it up year-round.
Although the season of Christmastide has ended among Western Christians, many Orthodox Christians are celebrating Christmas today. (And if you are, Happy Christmas!) The reason? Some Orthodox jurisdictions maintain the feast days of the Church according to the Julian Calendar, which is approximately 10 days behind the "new" Gregorian Calendar. Others follow what’s called the Revised-Julian Calendar, which I’ll allow Wikipedia to explain.
So, even if you’re not an Orthodox Christian and you’re looking for an excuse to keep your Christmas stuff up longer, there you go. It’ll be my excuse.