10 Quick Tips to Save You Time and Money Storing Your Decorations

10 Quick Tips to Save You Time and Money Storing Your Decorations

Okay, maybe inviting the kittens to help isn’t terribly productive but the process of putting Christmas away for the year doesn’t need to be drudgery. Taking a little time and following these ten tips will help you…

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  • A. Save time by getting your Christmas decorations organized so you can find them quickly and easily next holiday season
  • B. Save space by using boxes that can be easily stacked and organized.
  • C. Save money by storing your Christmas lights and decorations in a way that preserves their quality and extends their life span.

10 Quick Tips

1. Use Clear Plastic Boxes – These are great because you can see the contents without having to spend time labeling each box. Plus the plastic helps protect from moisture better than cardboard. When stacking, be sure to place the largest and heaviest boxes on the bottom and smaller boxes on the top.

2. Box your Beads – Pack the beads in small boxes such as plastic shoe boxes. If you use many strands of beads, larger boxes could become too heavy. To keep the beads from becoming tangled, place individual strands in baggies. If you prefer, you can wrap each strand around empty paper towel rolls and tape the ends.

3. Don’t Heap Up the Christmas Lights – Use reels to wind your strands of lights so they don’t get tangled. You can use Santa’s Bags that include stackable reels. Another way to go is to use a kind of wind up like you’d use for a power cord. If you’re sticking with the clear plastic boxes, you can roll individual light strands into a gallon zip-lock bag to prevent them getting tangled.

4. Save Space with Re-Shapeable Decorations – Bows made of wired ribbon can be flattened and reshaped next year. Wired ribbon garlands and streamers can be tightly rolled. They don’t need to be flattened unless you need to conserve space.

5. Don’t Crush Your Wreaths – Wreaths can be stacked in larger boxes but each wreath should be wrapped with bubble wrap. If they aren’t wrapped then they shouldn’t be stacked. Bubble wrap can be purchased where office supplies are sold. Wreath boxes can also be purchased and are readily available on the Internet and in stores.
Twinkling Strand
6. Wrap Christmas Ornaments Properly – Ornaments should be individually wrapped in white tissue paper or where greater protection is needed, wrap in bubble wrap. Since most ornaments are lightweight they can be stored in large boxes. If you still have the original boxes the ornaments came in, then store them in these and then place them in the storage container.

7. Protect Christmas Decorations from Moisture – If you live in a humid climate using plastic containers may not be enough to protect from moisture. Place packets of silica gel in each container to avoid damage from humidity. Silica gel can be purchased at arts and craft stores. If you cannot find individual packets, you can make your own by wrapping several tablespoons of silica gel in white tissue paper and securing with tape. Several packets should be placed throughout the box.

8. Guard Against Temperature Extremes – Delicate decorations such as ornaments made with photos or wax can be temperature sensitive. Store them in a climate-controlled area or they could deteriorate, melt or stick together.

9. Clearly identify Christmas Storage Boxes – Attach a red ribbon or tag to each Christmas storage box. This will make them easy to identify next Christmas if they have been stored with other boxes unrelated to Christmas decorations.

10. De-clutter – Some people have a tendency to just “hang onto stuff” in hopes that they’ll find a use for it later. Don’t waste space by holding onto old ornaments you know you’ll never use again (unless of course it has some sentimental significance). Just toss out the trash.

christmas wreathA final note: You may also want to consider Christmas ornament boxes and wreath boxes for especially fine ornaments and wreaths instead of clear storage containers. They are available in stores and on the Internet. They are very convenient and some are even acid free for even greater protection for your fine collectibles. They are more expensive, but for high quality, valuable ornaments this may be a worthwhile investment.

A little organization today will take some of the stress out of Christmas decorating next yuletide. Happy un-decorating!

Christmas Shopping Alternatives

Christmas Shopping Alternatives

by the Elf Queen

Alternatives to shopping, what a crazy idea. But, Christmas shopping is so overrated. People running hither and thither to find just the right gift. Time spent worrying and fretting about whether they’ve spent enough money, or too much money, or did they buy evenly for the kids, or did they get a grandiose enough gift for the new in-laws.

An idea to this stress might be found in baking cookies and cakes for a home-made gift. Making candles or soap or knitting a cap are examples of time intensive gifts, but what is more valuable to the receiver than your time and thoughtfulness.

Perhaps instead of making candles or soap, your family could exchange names and buy a Secret Santa gift for one another. Our extended family did this a few years ago and it was fun to figure out who had your name, if you could. It is sometimes called a “pollyanna”. It is fun for the kids to yell “I knew it was you all the time!” after their Secret Santa comes forward.

A book of coupons for time spent together is another good alternative to the shopping trip. Coupons for yard work or a birdwatching walk or even breakfast in bed are great to have and can be redeemed through out the year. They coupons themselves could be a work of art.

Another idea for through-the-year gift is a homemade calendar. Calendar forms can be bought cheaply at local craft stores or you could even print blank months off the computer. Kids will love to get special calendars made by mom or dad just for them. Calendars made for parents or grandparents by children become special keepsakes in years to come.

More time to spend together can be experienced at a local dance class, or art class, or even a cooking class. What excitement to look forward to after a hard day at work, time spent learning something with a loved one.

You could mix a CD or MP3 of your family’s favorite music, listening to it in the car will be a great way to spend a drive. We made several CDs for a trip to North Carolina and the kids enjoyed listening to music without commercials!

When our daughter was younger we made her wooden blocks from downed trees in the back yard. A bit of sawing and sanding and voilà, terrific, fun blocks. No, they were not all the same size, but that was okay-much more imaginative play that way. We also made sewing cards for her that we still have. Another idea for younger children might be a photo book of familiar people and places-babies and toddlers love to look at books filled with loved ones.

There are endless possibilities for home-made and low cost alternatives to the Christmas shopping trip. The above are just a few ideas. I’m sure if you take a few moments, you’ll think of some fantastic ones of your own.

Email them to us, we’d love to read about them and incorporate them into our family’s treasure box of alternatives.

Christmas Decoration Ideas for Kids

Christmas Decoration Ideas for Kids

Are you a parent? If so, you already know how much kids love the holidays. That is why you should seriously consider letting your children help you decorate for Christmas.Kids certainly do love the Holiday Season In fact, in addition to just letting them help you hang Christmas decorations, you can let them make their own handmade Christmas decorations. There are a number of benefits to doing so, and you will also find that there are a number of fun and exciting Christmas decorations that they can easily make.  Handmade keepsakes from your child will be a lifelong treasure.  Why, I made a papier-mache planet in elementary school with a yarn ring that my parents refer to as “the blue bomb”.  Their tree isn’t officially decorated until it’s on there.

Most every family that celebrates Christmas has a Christmas tree; therefore, there is a good chance that your family will have one. One fun and exciting Christmas craft project that your children could do involves making their own Christmas ornaments. Christmas ornaments can be made from regular paper or any other type of material. In fact, you can purchase a number of Christmas ornament cutouts or guides from your local craft store. These ornament pieces are likely plain, but already shaped like something, such as a star or a cross. It would be up to your child to paint their ornament. This type of Christmas decoration craft project is great for small children or those who may be making their own Christmas decorations for the first time.  Another excellent ornament that children can help you with is the permanent cookie.  We’ll post a set of directions for these in an upcoming article.

In addition to Christmas trees, a large number of families have small Christmas signs or pictures throughout their home. These signs and pictures often state a Christmas message or have a picture of Santa. Your children could easily make their own paintings or drawings, often with the supplies that can already be found inside your home. Your child’s picture would likely look great on your refrigerator or you could even frame the picture and hang it up somewhere else inside your home. This type of Christmas decoration craft project is ideal for children of any age and, as previously mentioned, is a great way to save money since you likely already have all of the needed supplies.

Kids can bring something to the table besides an appetite if you let themAnother fun Christmas decoration that your children could do is make a centerpiece for your dinning room table. In fact, you may also want to use that centerpiece for your Christmas dinner. If you are looking for a somewhat elegant centerpiece, you could easily have your children make their own. You can do this by purchasing artificial flowers, a large bowl or vase, as well as other decorative items. Your children can easily arrange these items to create their own unique centerpieces for your dinning room table. It may also be a good idea to let them be crafty. Your child may also be able to create a centerpiece in the shape of Santa or a Christmas tree by using construction paper and a few other small supplies.

The above mentioned Christmas craft decoration ideas for kids are just a few of the many that exist. In addition to using your own craft ideas, you can also find a number of other fun Christmas craft projects for kids online. You can find a collection of ideas by performing a standard internet search. Also, in your local library or at one of your local book stores, you may also be able to find a collection of Christmas craft books for children. These books tend to outline the supplies needed, as well as give detailed directions on how to make Christmas decorations. These decorations may include Christmas drawings or paintings, tree ornaments, table centerpieces, and much more.

Kids will enjoy the tree even more if you let them help to decorate it

Regardless of which type of Christmas decorations you allow your child or children to make, they will likely enjoy the experience, especially if you participate as well. For a child, there is nothing like seeing their Christmas drawings hanging on the walls or their Christmas ornaments hanging on the tree. That is why you are advised to let your children make their own Christmas decorations. As mentioned above, there are a number of decorations that they can easily create; decorations that may require little time and money.