St Knut's Day means it is time to take down the Christmas tree

It is time to take down the Christmas tree and the decorations, if you have not already done so, according to Swedish tradition.

Today is St. Knut's Day, or the twentieth day of Christmas, but according to ethnologist Bengt af Klintberg many Swedes are starting to take down their Christmas decorations earlier than usual, thanks in part to the growing commercialisation of the festive holiday.

"It can be because many people think that Christmas drags on a little bit, and that they have had enough by Epiphany", he tells news agency TT, adding, "the whole emphasis of Christmas has been pushed earlier, and from a consumption point-of-view is more important before Christmas".

An important part of the Swedish tradition is to "raid" the tree when you take it down, meaning the family gets to eat the sweets and biscuits traditionally hung on the spruce tree, but that is also slowly disappearing, af Klintberg says.

"The raiding of the tree was from a time when kids didn't have access to sweets like today", he says, "then you could have raisins and nuts in the paper decorations, but that wouldn't be enough for the kids of today."

However, the idea of Christmas ending on St Knut's Day will not disappear in the near future, Bengt af Klintberg says, with well-established Christmas poems and rhymes reminding Swedes of the tradition.