Holiday decorations are an essential part of the season, but the irregular shapes present many storage problems. Follow these tips to preserve your favorite decorations year after year.
When taking your fir garland down from the banister, doorway, or mantel, gently drape it over your arm (or someone else's arm, depending on the garland's length) to make sure it doesn't get tangled. Place the garland in a clear plastic tub, fitting it so it coils neatly inside the container. If you have any additional adornments that go with your garland, wrap them in tissue paper and store in the center of the container. Place a piece of paper inside the top of the container indicating where the garland goes, or add a label on the outside so you'll remember for next year.
Store similarly shaped ornaments, such as glittery orbs, in boxes with compartments. Heavy divided boxes that once held wine will work nicely, otherwise ornament organizers can be purchased at crafts stores. Wrap each ornament in tissue paper and fit it inside its own compartment; if an ornament is a lot smaller than the compartment, pad it with small pieces of bubble wrap so it won't be jostled in storage. When you're finished putting all the ornaments in their box, make a list on the outside of the box so you know what ornaments it holds for next year.
Wreaths made from faux fir or pine can easily be stored in hat boxes or hung up in the back of a closet. Depending on the size of the hat box, it can store multiple wreaths. If you prefer to hang your Christmas wreaths, attach each wreath to a wire hanger using florist¿s wire or twist ties, and cover the wreath and hanger in plastic (we like using dry-cleaner plastic bags or trash bags) to protect the wreath from dust. Hang in the back of a closet, the basement, or the attic, and simply unwrap the wreath next year to display.
There are several handy ways to store Christmas tree lights so they remain untangled for the following year. When taking the lights down, be sure to wrap around your arm so they remain untangled, and store them in a plastic container, using clips or wire to hold a circular shape so the lights stay neat and organized for next year.
The best way to store wooden decorations, especially if they're handmade and didn't come in a box, is wrapped in a generous layer of bubble wrap and placed in a plastic container or cardboard box.
We wrapped each of these glittery snowflakes with a large square of tissue paper, secured with a piece of tape, and stored them in a shoebox. You can easily store other delicate, flat hanging decorations this way, as well. Don't forget to label the box so you know what's inside!
The ideal place to store candles is in a cool place, such as a refrigerator (this helps them burn slower and last longer). If this is not possible, wrap the candles in cellophane to keep them from melting together or transferring color if they become warm. Avoid wrapping your candles in plastic wrap or waxed paper because these materials might melt onto the candles if they're stored in a warm place.
Christmas ornaments that are unusually shaped might be tricky to store depending on their size and shape. Wrap them in a layer of tissue paper, followed by a layer of bubble wrap to ensure that fragile ornaments won't break in storage. The layers around the ornament will not only protect it, but they'll make it easier to store by creating a rounder shape. Place wrapped ornaments in a labeled box, or see our other ways to store Christmas ornaments.
It's important when storing decorations from a multiple-part display that you keep the parts together for easy reassembly next year. Wrap each component in bubble wrap (if it's extremely delicate) or tissue paper (if it's made from wood such as the letters shown spelling "Joy") and store neatly in a box. If you used fresh pine or fir sprigs for a mantel display, make a note of that on the box so you'll be able to recreate the same display year after year.
If your advent calendar is made of fabric, simply fold it and store in a box. If it's made of another material, pack it in a storage container with bubble wrap. Store the loose pieces in a separate bag or the pockets for each day.
If you don't store your special holiday dishes in a dining room cabinet or hutch, you can store them in a box without risking damage. Line a cardboard box with newspaper and bubble wrap, then stack each plate with a sheet of bubble wrap in between. Fill the gaps with crumpled newspaper so the plates won't shift when being stored.
To store large hanging decorations, cover each with a layer of tissue paper and a layer of bubble wrap, leaving the ends exposed. Then pack neatly in a box, keeping any hooks or ribbons on the ends visible during storage.
For a glass cloche display, wrap the glass piece with a layer of bubble wrap. If you'd like to keep what was displayed, wrap it with bubble wrap and then place it inside the glass cloche for snug storing. Place all mantel decorations in the same box, such as display ornaments and a jar of swept-up faux snow.
Wrap light-but-delicate table decorations in several layers of tissue paper. Lay them on their sides and store them in a plastic container, filling the extra space with crumpled newspaper so they won't shift in storage. If your side table decorations are more fragile, wrap with bubble wrap instead of tissue paper.
Keep everything from your fine Christmas china to the napkins, centerpieces, and place cards all in one place. If you have a hutch to store special dishes in, stack them according to size. Fold cloth napkins and store in the same place, or keep packages of paper holiday napkins in a nearby drawer with the holiday place cards and silverware. If the Christmas table centerpieces are made from materials that can be used year after year, dismantle and keep in a separate box, making sure to label it and store in a place where you'll easily find it next year.