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What to Know (and Look for) When Taking Down Holiday Décor

What to Know (and Look for) When Taking Down Holiday Décor

Taking down holiday decorations can be daunting for some.

…What kind of deep clean awaits you once the tree is gone?

…Do you really have the energy to lug all that stuff back to the attic?

…And could any damage be lurking behind that seasonal display?!

Get organized this year with one handy tip list. Keep reading to learn how to take down your holiday decorations, how to store them, what to LOOK FOR while you do it, and a few bonus tips just for fun!!


When Should You Take Holiday Decorations Down?

There’s also a hot debate about the “right” time to take down your Christmas décor. For whatever reason, that question has been asked REPEATEDLY this year…

  • Many say it’s on the Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas (January 6th).
  • Other’s say it’s as SOON as Christmas has come and gone.
  • Still others seem to think the Super Bowl is a good date to wait until!

As far as the queen of England says, however, you can invent your OWN date to take décor down…and it can be based on whatever reason is important to you.

Once you are ready to take holiday decorations down, have this article ready…


What do you do with the Christmas tree?

Taking down the Christmas tree is one of the most labor-intensive parts of tearing down your holiday decorations.

Some people even leave the tree up not because of their yuletide spirit, but because they just don’t want to tackle its disposal or storage!

This task, however, really isn’t that bad once you get started.

Besides…if you do have a real tree, it WILL grow mold if you leave it up too long. You definitely don’t want that floating around your home!!

Here’s how to go about tearing down your tree…

  • If you have an artificial tree, DO NOT use the box it came in. Call that beat-up pile of cardboard TOAST and recycle it for everyone’s sake! Replace the box with a tree storage bag. Then, once you’ve removed all the lights and ornaments from your tree, you simply disassemble the sections, lay them into the bag, then cinch and zip. Some of the bags even have wheels to drag them to your storage…just saying!!
  • If you have a real tree, be prepared for shedding needles while you work. This is just part of the deal. You can minimize the mess if you lay down a Christmas tree disposal bag on the floor at the start of the season instead of a skirt. Because, yes, you can bunch the bag up and leave it looking just as pretty as a regular tree skirt! But then, when it’s time, you just pull the bag up over the tree, and voila! If that opportunity was missed this year, get help gently inserting the tree gently into a bag, then dispose of it however your city or jurisdiction requires.

Whether you’re packing away an artificial tree or a real one, do not attack the fallen needles with a vacuum if you have anything OTHER than carpet…instead, sweep the needles first. Otherwise, those bristly needles could rub into your floor’s surface and leave it scratched. (There’s no better way to end up on next year’s “naughty” list!)


How do you store holiday lights?

Ah, the season’s lights! They’re SO beautiful when done right…yet, it’s so tempting just to dump them in a plastic tub when it’s time to take them down.

You think, “I’ll deal with it next year.”

…Every time next year comes, though, then you’re stuck untangling a NASTY nest of cords and broken lights.

Here are three clever storage solutions to make packing AND putting lights back up next year far more holly and jolly!

  • Small plastic bags: if you store each string of lights in its OWN devoted plastic bag, they will store densely together but with zero risk of tangling.
  • Two-prong light stand: attach two dowels to the base of a plastic storage tub, and then you can wind and wind your lights around the dowels (in a figure eight is best). You’ll be amazed how many lights you can store together this way…
  • Use cardboard boxes: cut the sides of cardboard boxes into flat spool shapes (with slots on the end). Just picture what you use for twine or ribbon. Then…wrap your lights around the spool! It’s that simple.


What to Look for When Taking Down Christmas Décor

Now here’s the real advice from the happiest homeowners…

This is what almost no one thinks to do when taking down holiday décor.

Tearing decorations down is the perfect time to examine your home’s finishings for damage.

Yes, of course you could look for wear and tear every day of the year, but how often do you have your nose right up to walls and floorboards?! This is an opportunity. Treat it as such!

Once you’ve cleared your decorations, check your moldings, walls and paints for:

  • Rot
  • Peeled paint
  • Rodent damage

When you take outdoor lighting down, you can also check…

  • That security lights are all working
  • That your gutters are clean and in good condition for winter freezes
  • That all your yard irrigation is in good condition
  • That all spigots are protected for the winter

Again, you can ALWAYS check for damage any day of the year…but since you’re already pulling decorations down, why not use that as a prompt to do it now before winter settles in?!

Taking down holiday décor can also be an opportunity to hang your photos and frames differently, too.



Still wondering how best to store awkward ornaments and baubles?

One of the charming things about baubles is also inconvenient when it comes to storing them…we accrue such a collection over the years that they aren’t uniform in shape or size!!

For this reason, the most practical way to store baubles and ornaments is by wrapping each in bubble wrap or tissue paper. Do NOT use newspaper, as the ink can actually stain your ornaments…


Ideas to re-use holiday cards…

It kind of pains you to unceremoniously toss all those thoughtful greeting cards, doesn’t it?

Some of them are pretty cute, too!

Here’s what you can do this year instead:

  • Turn this year’s cards into stylish New Year’s Eve decorations. Just cut them into shapes, paint them any color(s) you fancy (black and gold are GREAT for New Year’s parties), then stick several pieces together in long garlands or for bunting…
  • Upcycle your cards into table place tags! Just cut squares or rectangles (or any other shape you like), then the white back will leave a perfect space to write family members’ or guests’ names…
  • Next year’s Christmas décor is another great opportunity to upcycle your cards, too. Just cut cards into tree hangings or ornaments, or fold them into little holiday houses, or even attach a fan of them together into a wreath.
  • Next year’s gift tags are, perhaps, the easiest way to upcycle your holiday cards. Just cut shapes out with some central shape or motif. Punch a hole in each and add a ribbon!

Of course, you can recycle holiday cards, too. That takes at least a little bit of the edge off (instead of just tossing all those greetings and cute designs).

And speaking of recycling…


Can you recycle wrapping paper?

There’s one REALLY simple test to know whether wrapping paper can be recycled or not:

  1. Scrunch the paper in your hand, into a tight ball.
  2. Open your hand.
  3. If the paper stays scrunched, it can be recycled. If it bounces back open, it cannot.

And don’t forget, any gift paper that’s even remotely re-usable can be saved and used for fun wrapping mix-and-matching next year, too!


Maybe the holidays have come and gone, but there’s still plenty to do to keep your home safe for the winter! Download this winter and holiday checklist to see what outstanding items you have to tick off your list…

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