When Christmas is finally over, it’s time to store your Christmas decorations away. Find out the best ways to pack them up safely, ready for next Christmas.
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You’ve finished off the last mince pies, nobody is playing ‘Last Christmas’ any more. The Christmas jumpers have been consigned to the back of the wardrobe. You can’t avoid it any more, Christmas is finally over.
There’s still time to bake a Galette des Rois, but at some point you’ll have to take down the Christmas decorations. Tradition says that you should make sure they’re all down by Twelfth Night (5th January) to avoid bad luck!
Let’s be honest – taking down the Christmas decorations is never going to be as much fun as putting them up. The house seems darker without the sparkle and fairy lights, but it can be a positive thing as well.
Without all of the decorations around the house, it feels bigger and roomier. You might even use it as the start of a redecoration project.
So follow our simple tips and strategies to make packing away the Christmas decorations an easy task. Before you know it, they’ll be stored neatly away and you’ll be ready for when Christmas 2020 rolls around!
Before you start
If you love the way your house looked this Christmas, then give yourself a head start on next year’s decoration.
Use your phone or camera to take photographs of the rooms, to help you recreate the look next Christmas. Make sure that you label the photographs with the year and save them into a folder that’s clearly named.
Don’t forget to take photos of areas like mantelpieces and your dining table to inspire your decorations for 2020.
Time to take stock
Now you’re ready to start taking down your decorations. Give everything a dust and a check over as you go.
Here at the Christmas Guide, we’re fans of re-using decorations as much as possible. It helps to keep the financial cost of Christmas down, as well as reducing the amount of waste sent off to landfill. And we love a bit of tradition as well!
So as you check through your decorations, check if any look worn or damaged. Are they sentimental favourites that you’ll use again anyway, or can they be recycled or passed on rather than throwing them away?
You might also want to consider if any of your decorations can be used throughout the year. Maybe you used some twinkling fairy lights in a jar that will still look good through the winter. Or could that new photo frame stay on your mantelpiece all year?
Make a note of any new decorations that you’ll need to buy. This might be to replace existing decorations or to add in something new to your collection. That way, you’ll know what you need when the new stock starts to arrive in shops next autumn
Now you’re ready to start packing away your decorations. As you work through your collection, make a list of everything that you’re storing away and where it’s stored. You can add this list into your Christmas planning notes ready for when it’s time to decorate again.
Storing the Christmas Tree
The bulkiest item you’ll need to store is probably an artificial Christmas tree.
You might decide to take the tree apart and store it in its original box. This is certainly the cheapest option and all you will need is some sturdy packing tape and a marker to write the contents on the outside of the box.
You can also buy storage bags and boxes that are specially designed to store a Christmas tree.
This is a heavy duty Christmas tree storage bag that’s made from waterproof and tearproof canvas fabric. It has a wide two-way zipper so it’s easy to fit your tree inside, and three handles to make storing it away simple.
The festive bright red colour will make it stand out in storage, and it comes with a card so you can write on what is stored inside.
This Christmas tree storage bag is big enough to fit artificial trees up to 9 feet talk. And it’s made to last several seasons, so it will protect your tree and keep it dust-free and ready for the next time you need to use it.
Of course, if you had a natural Christmas tree, this won’t be suitable!
So if you aren’t planting your tree out in the garden, check with your local council for details of how to recycle your Christmas tree.
Storing Christmas lights
Storing Christmas lights can be one of the trickiest parts of packing away your Christmas decorations. You need to make sure that they don’t get tangled up and keep track of the plugs. If they aren’t LED lights, you’ll also need to make sure that bulbs don’t get broken.
If you have several sets of lights with detachable plugs, you need to keep track of which plug goes with which lights. Pop a piece of masking tape around the end of each string of light, and another one on the plug. Then write the same letter on each so that you can easily match them up when the time comes to unpack.
You can also stick a length of masking tape around the end of the lights and write on the location where you used that set.
This Christmas Light Storage Box is perfect for storing your Christmas Lights neatly and safely.
Each of the sturdy inserts will store a strand of up to 200 LED lights, keeping them dust and tangle-free. Alternatively you can take out the inserts if you need to store larger items in the box as well.
The box has a double zip opening, carry handle and transparent sides. Write the details of the contents on a card and pop it inside the box so you can easily see what’s inside.
But you don’t need to use a dedicated Christmas light storage box. If you have a wire coat hanger handy, or a piece of sturdy cardboard cut from a box, you could simply wrap the string of lights around that.
The inner tube from a roll of kitchen paper would also work for a smaller string of Christmas lights. These can then be stacked in a plastic box to keep them safe.
You might want to give the lights a final check once you’ve wrapped them up, just to be sure that everything is in working order. If you will need to buy new lights before next Christmas, make a note of it in your Christmas planning notes.
Storing Christmas baubles and decorations
More than anything else, you’ll probably have a sentimental attachment to your Christmas tree baubles and decorations. You might have bought them to mark special occasions like the birth of a child, or they might be a memento of a holiday abroad.
So it’s important to store these precious items carefully. Dust them after removing them from the tree and check over for any damage, especially to the hanging strings.
Wrap them in squares of bubble wrap or paper towel, you can re-use these year after year to prevent waste.
And then store pack them in sturdy boxes to make sure that they’re protected while they’re in storage. Make sure you label each box clearly so that you can see what’s in each one when they’re stacked up.
You could use a sturdy cardboard box, a plastic storage tub or a dedicated Christmas bauble storage box like this one
It will hold up to 64 baubles in four layers of sturdy cardboard inserts. The box is made of heavy duty canvas material, which will keep your decorations protected while in storage.
The box has carrying handles on the side, and a plastic tag for you to write the contents on.
And if you can’t bear the thought of packing all of your Christmas ornaments away until next December, why not keep a few out? You could display some of your favourites in a glass jar, or pick one or two out and hang them on ribbons.
Storing Christmas wreaths
If you love displaying Christmas wreaths, you’ll need a simple way to store them safely after the festive season is over.
You can store them simply with what you have at hand. Use some garden twine to hang the wreath around the hook of a coat hanger. Then use a dry cleaning bag or a black rubbish back to cover the wreath, poking the hook of the hanger through the base of the bag.
You can hang the wreaths from a rack or in the back of a wardrobe to stop them getting squashed.
Alternatively, you could invest in a Christmas wreath storage bag like the one above.
The durable material will keep your wreath protected, and the zipper opening makes it easy to use. There’s a convenient carrying handle, and this Christmas wreath storage bag can store wreaths up to 30cm in diameter.
Either of these methods are suitable for storing tinsel or garlands as well.
Simply wind them up in a circle and tie together with twine to hang them from a coat hanger, or coil them inside the wreath storage bag.
Storing Christmas wrapping supplies
Have you ever got back from the shops with an armful of Christmas wrapping paper, and then realised that you already had plenty at home? Or run out of gift tags when you’re in the middle of a late night present wrapping session?
If so, you’ll know how annoying both of those situations can be, and why it’s a good idea to sort out storage for your Christmas wrapping supplies.
Something like this wrapping paper storage bag would be ideal. It will hold up to 25 standard wrapping paper rolls, and the zipper top makes it easy to get to the roll you need.
And the clear PVC material means that it’s easy to see what wrapping paper is inside. You might even want to buy one for storing Christmas wrapping paper and another for storing the wrapping paper you use for other occasions.
Another good option would be a plastic storage box for wrapping paper like the one above.
This comes with two internal storage trays so that you can also store your tape, scissor, and all the bows, ribbon, tags you might have left over. It’s a great size for stashing under your bed so that you can access it for late-night present wrapping!
Storing Christmas Cards
What do you do with your Christmas cards at the end of the festive season? They can be reminders of special times with family and friends, but equally they can start to clutter up your house if you keep too many.
Here’s our three step plan for dealing with Christmas cards:
So first of all, go through your cards and decide which ones you really want to keep. These will be the ones with a special message inside, or are from your nearest and dearest.
These ones can be stored in a binder or stuck into a photo album that you can bring out each Christmas as a treasured reminder of Christmases past.
Next, decide which ones you can turn into gift tags for next year. Cut the fronts into tags, punch a hole at the top and thread ribbon through it to attach them to presents next Christmas.
Any cards that are left over can be recycled. You’ll need to remove any stuck on ornaments or glitter, as these can’t be recycled. So that might mean removing the whole front of the card and discarding it.
Storing all the other Christmas decorations
Now you’ve safely stored most of your Christmas decorations, you may still have a few things left over.
If you have large decorations that won’t fit any of the suggestions above, you can use fabric bags to store them. Wrap them in bubble wrap if they need extra protection, and then hang at the back of a wardrobe or on the back of a door.
Plastic vacuum-seal storage bags are great for storing fabric decorations like Christmas stockings, tablecloths and tree skirts. They’re also ideal for festive cushions that you only bring out for Christmas. You can buy vacuum storage bags on Amazon and they’re quite inexpensive.
When you’ve packed away all of your decorations, number each box clearly so that you can see the numbers when they’re stacked up in storage. Also make sure that each box also has a clear note of what’s inside.
Then compile a list of the numbers with the corresponding contents, and keep that with your Christmas planning notes.
Taking time over this now will save you lots of time when you’re looking for a specific decoration next Christmas!