9 ways to make Christmas last longer: preserve decorations, gift wrap and trees

July 29, 2015

You can't put a dollar value on your family's treasured holiday ornaments. Ensure they last many years by following a few simple guidelines.

9 ways to make Christmas last longer: preserve decorations, gift wrap and trees

1. Store ornaments at room temperature

  • Ornaments will last longer if you store them inside your home in a closet, as opposed to the basement or garage, where they may be destroyed by mildew.
  • Attics are okay for storing glass ornaments.

2. Protect fragile ornaments

  • Avoid breakage by storing ornaments in their original packages or by wrapping in acid-free white tissue paper several times.
  • Put the repackaged or wrapped ornaments in a sturdy box or plastic storage bin to help prevent them from being accidentally crushed. Do not stack heavy ornaments on top of light ones.
  • Store ornaments made from natural materials, such as dough or pine cones, separately.
  • Wrap in tissue paper, and put in airtight containers or in plastic bags with zip-type closures.

3. Don't wrap ornaments in newspaper

Never use newspaper to wrap your holiday ornaments. The ink may transfer to the ornaments and ruin them. Stick with tissue paper.

4. Wrap wreaths for reuse

  • Ornamental wreaths, such as those made from dried flowers and herbs, can be used for years. Just wrap each one in tissue paper, and place it in a cardboard box.
  • Do not stack other wreaths or ornaments on top.

5. Keep lights and garlands tangle-free

Wrap garlands and ornamental tree lights around a sturdy piece of cardboard to keep them tangle-free and out of harm's way.

6. Hang lights with care

  • Avoid damaging ornamental lights and creating a potential fire hazard by never puncturing the insulation on the light string with tacks, staples, nails, or sharp hooks.
  • Do not install lights near gas or electric heaters, fireplaces, or other heat sources.
  • Avoid overloading wiring by connecting more than the recommended number of light sets together (usually three).

7. Dealing with a blown holiday light fuse

  • Sometimes a light string will blow its on-board fuse (usually located in the plug).
  • If this is due to an overload (such as connecting more than the recommended number of light sets together in a continuous run), you can replace the fuse and continue to use the lights.
  • If the overload is due to a short, however, discard the string.

8. Save ribbon and wrappings in a bin

  • Careless storage of wrapping materials will mean they'll be too crushed and wrinkled to use when you need them.
  • Store them in a large, sturdy plastic container so you won't have to buy new ones. Store reusable gift bags, folded flat, in a large shopping bag.

9. Longer-lasting cut Christmas trees

  • The best way to ensure a fresh-cut tree on Christmas Eve is to cut a live tree several days before the holiday.
  • Cut down the tree so you are left with as much of the trunk as possible.
  • Once home, cut 2.5 centimetres (one inch) off the bottom, place the tree in a bucket of water, and store it in a cool place, such as the garage.
  • Refill the bucket as necessary. When you are ready to decorate the tree, cut the trunk to suit your tree stand and to ensure adequate water absorption. Then replenish the reservoir in the tree stand as required.
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