Driving home last night, on a dark subzero evening, I saw something that made me stop and circle the block for another look.


It was a holiday light display, a fiesta-bright rainbow of color that lit up the lawn. 

Yes, January is more than half over, and most of us have taken down our holiday finery, probably even weeks ago. But this festive remnant in south Minneapolis looked awfully warm and cozy on such a frigid night. It cheered me up, just looking at it.

Most people, me included, are generally sick of holiday decorations by mid-January. Some folks even look askance at those procrastinating slackers who haven't yet gotten around to undecorating.

Are there "rules" about when holiday decor becomes a stale eyesore? One newspaper, the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md., conducted a reader poll. The results: While a majority (55 percent) said they undeck the halls between Jan. 2 and Jan. 6, and almost 29 percent do it even earlier, there was still a good-sized chunk of folks who take their time -- 13.5 percent said "Whenever" and 2.6 percent said "Never." (http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/when-do-you-take-down-your-holiday-decorations/poll_4605187c-5028-11e2-a08c-0019bb2963f4.html)

Most people seem to agree that the Christmas tree, at least, should come down by Twelfth Night (12 days after Christmas). But there seems to be a little more tolerance for outdoor holiday decor that sticks around well past the New Year. Maybe that's especially so here in Minnesota, where January is often too cold, snowy, icy or all-around miserable for mucking around with outdoor decorations.

The Huffington Post took a stab at writing "guidelines" for taking down holiday decor. While holiday-specific decorations like Santas and candy canes should probably come down promptly, more generic winter decor, such as lights, can be left up longer without raising neighbors' eyebrows. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/take-down-holiday-decorations_n_1174822.html)

On "Today," Kathie Lee and Hoda also weighed in -- with Hoda confiding that her family once left their decorated tree up until February. (http://www.today.com/id/40819956/site/todayshow/ns/today-today_home_and_garden/t/when-do-you-take-down-christmas-decorations/#.UP7SQWeUBI2)

How about you? Do you have a different timetable for indoor and outdoor holiday decor? And what do you think of neighbors who leave their holiday decorations up until Groundhog's Day?