Christmas Aftermath: How to Stow Your Ornaments for Next Year

January is here, and so is the hardest part of winter. Holidays at the end of each year help us remain happy and festive as the cold, rain and long dark days arrive. This season starts with Halloween, with its bright orange and fall colors, then proceeds right into Thanksgiving and then Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. A large part of this festive feeling is from the holiday decorations that can be found everywhere.

Bring in 2012 - Store your christmas decorationsOrnaments and wreaths and lights are wonderful additions to your home during the holidays, but what do you do with them afterwards? If you’re like my family, we try to delay putting away the decorations as long as possible; that brightly decorated and lit Christmas tree is so nice to come home to after a day at work. A general rule of thumb is that decorations come down on the weekend after New Year’s Day, otherwise you are just dragging it out. Our decorations came down today. What about you? When did you take yours down?

Packing Away Christmas Items

With a little planning and organization, you can store all your holiday decor so that you can unpack them easily next year. No more broken ornaments and tangled strings of lights!

Your storage needs depends on what kind of ornaments you’re storing and where you’re storing them. If you have fragile ornaments, you’ll need sturdy boxes to put them in. If you’re storing your ornaments in a damp space or are worried about insects, you’ll need something airtight to keep them safe and dry.


  • Ornaments come in all shapes and sizes, so storing them can be difficult. Sorting your ornaments by size and shape can help you pack more efficiently and save space.
  • If you have flat ornaments, stack them together with layers of tissue in between.
  • Small, round ornaments may be stored in empty egg cartons.
  • Larger round ornaments can be stored in their original packaging or in special divided boxes (see below). If your ornaments are fragile, be sure to wrap them up in plenty of tissue paper or bubble wrap and pack the box loosely.
  • Label your boxes on top and on at least two sides, so you can see it however you store the box. If the contents are fragile, label the box as such and be sure to put it on top of a stack.

You can store wreaths in boxes, or buy specialized boxes (see below) for them. If you have a spare closet, you can also hang your wreaths up to keep them from getting flattened in storage.

Wrap your Christmas lights around something to keep them from being tangled. You can use a special spool or even a rolled-up newspaper. Be sure to keep spare bulbs with the lights so you don’t lose them. If you have many strings of lights for different purposes, be sure to label each string so you don’t have to sort them out again next year.

Specialized Christmas Storage Boxes
If you want to invest in some specialized storage boxes, there are plenty of options. You can get a divided cardboard box for round ornaments, airtight plastic boxes for fragile or perishable ornaments, or even wreath-shaped containers. Check out these specialized storage solutions:

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