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The Easy Way To Pack Up Christmas Without Breaking The Bank

January 05, 2023

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Well hello friends and Happy New Year!

I hope your introduction to 2023 was a pleasant one.

As I sat down at my computer today, ready to write my first post of the year, I was very well aware of that fresh calendar page.

2023 Planners

And what I was supposed to be sharing. 

All that new year, new you stuff, as I've done in the past.

How to organize something, my word of the year or, at the very least, reveal my creative new winter decor.

In case you were craving words, here are some from past years:

Unfortunately,  right now, that's not real life.

In real life, I, like many of you, am still dealing with the old year and its leftover decor.

Tabletop Christmas Tree

Christmas trees and Santa Claus.

Yup, they're still hanging around.

Winter is a long, cold season in my neck of the woods and I need a little bit of Christmas, a little bit longer.

So I leave it up for a another week or two.

However, taking down the all decor is a huge job and not one I'm willing to devote an entire day to accomplish.

It's also not something I want to spend a lot of money on.

So over the years, I've devised a plan to make it easier and one that gives me an opportunity to say goodbye to all that festive decor slowly.

Small Christmas Tree In A Ceramic Pot

But systematically.

That way, the joy of the season, doesn't degrade into a burden and there's no hard feelings around Christmas.

Here's how I pack it all up.

Once the sun sets on December 25th, I'm honestly done with most of the decor.

After six weeks of Christmas, I've had enough. 

The dust and the clutter have to go.

Since the trees are artificial, they don't have an expiration date. Theoretically, I never have to pack them up. That buys them a little time.

Plus, with all their sparkling lights, they're simply too pretty to take down right away.

I also keep the pillows out, since most of them are red, winter patterns. 

So what goes?

Christmas Santa Collection

Well, literally, everything else...but not all at once.

I start with one room and remove all the accessories and take them downstairs. The basement den becomes the holding pen for a day or two.

Then I move onto the other rooms, one at a time, gathering those Santas, reindeer, churches and wreaths.

Next up, on day two or three, I grab a bin and start packing everything inside. 

Now, I know that zippered tree and storage bags are very popular right now, but I don't find them useful for my space. Or my weather.

Blue Plastic Bin For Christmas Storage with Santa sitting on top

The bins I have are large and stackable, which is fabulous for small spaces, like mine. They also seal up tight.

They're meant to resist water and in our sometimes damp, sometimes humid climate, that's a important feature. 

I've had many of my sentimental favorites for decades and nothing smells musty or get dusty. I'm able to unpack things, despite my allergies, without a sneeze.

I don't have to wrestle with stuck zippers or ripped bags either.

I've had these same bins for about 20 years. They're sturdy, so they were a one and done purchase.

The only thing I do highly recommend is a really good packing paper to protect your breakable Christmas decor. It's so worth it for me to purchase a new pack every few years.

The Best Packing Paper

When I was first married, I worked at Pottery Barn during my summers off from teaching. It was the 90's and, at that time, they sold mostly breakable items, dishes, glasses, vases. 

You get the idea.

Anyway, we wrapped everything up in very heavy paper and nothing ever broke.

Today, I buy the same paper and wrap my Christmas treasures up in it to protect them from season to season.

It's not exactly cheap, but I do reuse it and since newspaper has become a relic of the past, for the most part, this is the next best thing.

Once all the Santas, bottle brush trees, candle rings, wreaths and Christmas houses are tucked in for their long winter's {spring, summer and fall} nap, I get to relax for a bit.

Christmas Bottle Brush Trees next to Advent calendar Tree

Enjoy my uncluttered home. 

And the simplicity of candleglow and evergreens.

For a few more weeks anyway.

Then the trees come down.

I start with the ornaments.

Believe it or not, I put most of them in a few large plastic ziplock bags. Again, I don't need to buy anything new to house them.

Glass Ornaments on a tree

They're not breakable and they lay nicely next to one another.

I put glass bulbs back in the box they came in and I wrap up any other breakable ornaments in that paper and nestle them into a couple of nice boxes I've saved over the years.

Then they all get placed in another tightly sealed bin.

The lights come off next.

The smaller trees are prelit, but I don't love that. When the bulbs die, I have to cut the cocoon of wire away from the branches to add new lights.

I prefer to add mine separately. Once they've been removed, I roll them around my arm and mark them with masking tape, if they are my twinkle lights.

Otherwise I just pop them onto a cloth bag from the grocery store and place them in the ornament bin, since I like to keep all the fragile items together.

The last bins are filled with the tree branches, poles and stand.

Storing A Fake Tree text next to tree in pieces

Two of them are large and have to be taken apart. 

The others are small, no disassembly required.

And even though we can clean our faux trees, I feel better knowing they are literally in an {almost} air tight container.

That's it, that's all it takes to pack it up and put it all away safely.


Easily. And, most importantly, inexpensively.

Because after all, at the beginning of the year, I'd rather spend my money on something fun to decorate for the new season, rather than supplies to pack up decor for the old.

Wouldn't you?

Fair Isle Tree Skirt

So funny story...after I finished drafting this tale, I hustled off to the craft store to buy supplies for my next project when I stumbled into the sale section.

For the exact same price as some of the storage bags, I was able to score this gorgeous tree skirt for 70% off.

I just love it when things work out that way...don't you?


Where is your Christmas decor?

Still displayed or packed away? I'd love to know.

Also, if you have any good packing tips for us, share away!

Happy New Year!
Kim Signature

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  1. Thank you for the tips. :-) I use paper wrap for packing ornaments and some tissue paper. I also use old towels for some larger items.
    We have a real Christmas Tree, it becomes a tree for the birds until spring, then my husband will burn it while cooking down Maple Syrup.

    1. When I was teaching we used to read a book every January called The After Christmas Tree. It was a sweet tale about a tree that would be put outside for the animals and decorated with bird seed ornaments to help them through the coldest months. Then of course we’d make the ornaments and decorate the trees in our courtyard so we could watch the birds feast while we worked. I really should do that in my own yard now!! And maple syrup? Yum!! Happy New Year!!

    2. Okay, we are freakishly alike. LOL!

  2. I like all of your tips for packing away the Christmas decorations and trees Kim. I am slowly packing everything away this week Kim. All that left is my Christmas tree to be taken apart on Saturday. I love decorating for Christmas but I felt a little sad while putting everything away. I hope you had a nice holiday and wishing you and your family a happy new year.

    1. I feel the same way, Julie, a little sad to see all that sparkle go. Our trees will probably come down this weekend. Good thing I still have all my electric candles. They soften the blow a bit! Enjoy the week and Happy New Year!

    2. This was the first year I could really decorate for Christmas in our new house, and I loved how it turned out. I did take it all down last week; it took me 3 days. And yes, I was quite sad when it was all in the bins and put away. What helped was having a pretty good idea of how I was going to decorate for Winter. No jumping into Spring here; Winter gets its OWN time for accessories and adornment! I love winter; we are having snow flurries as I write this! Best wishes for all good things for you and your family in the new year!

  3. I leave my decorations up at least 1 week into the new year. I want to enjoy them longer. I am not on a time schedule so when I feel like it is time, I pack everything away. It feels good this way.

  4. Well, since I had put the tree up so early and had everything else out and DONE by the Sunday after turkey day, I was ready to put it all up! I just this last Sunday hauled the tree, still strung with lights, out into the garage, where I will cover it with giant trash bags or a big sheet. The rest of the decor that is out is strictly winter-y, and some of it was up around Christmas. So, in a way, I'm still enjoying it and thinking fondly of Christmas! And yes, I use those storage bins, too, and I limit myself to 4 of them. Lots of purging was done!

  5. Hope you all had a great Christmas! I am super impressed that you wrap all your fragile things in paper! Over here I just put the glass bulbs in a bulb container and everything else fragile gets packed between pillow covers and Christmas tea towels. I've been pretty lucky so far!

  6. I've never seen packing paper, but what a good idea! I also use bins like that. They hold a lot, stack and keep things safe and dry. I separate things into bags, often using lunch bags to kind of wrap them and cushion them.
    My stuff is all down and put away, except one skinny tree in the dining room with just lights on it. It looks cheerful in winter. :)
    I love that skirt - it screams "Kim"!

  7. Hi Kim. I just took down all my Christmas and everything looked so bare. I got a new full length mirror and that started a whole thing in the living room with switch a rooms lol. I know you know how that goes! I did leave some twinkle light and greens in the fireplace opening just for a little sparkle. Have a Good Friday and wonderful weekend. xoxo Kris

  8. Dana from the DesertJanuary 5, 2023 at 11:49 PM

    Hi Kim, I’m a long time reader, but have never commented, love your cottage style! I put my Christmas stuff out the second week of November, so it was down the morning after Christmas. I pack it all up in one day, and also put out my regular decor that day. It is absolutely exhausting, and a huge mess! Makes me want to purge a bunch just to decrease the work load. I love your way of slow and steady!

  9. I have 8 totes that I purchased years ago and they house all of my Christmas. This year I took the time to list everything in each tote so that I know exactly what is in each one. I put my ornaments into their original boxes or plastic food containers and wrap them in tissue paper inside the food container. I have never lost any due to breakage, and some are getting to be quite old!!! I put my Christmas tree in the basement with a king size sheet over it. That wraps it up 'til next year!!!

  10. I love your no nonsence money saving approach to packing it all up! Happy New Year Kim!

  11. Christmas is all put way neatly in bins. It always looks bare afterwards. Time to enjoy winter and think about the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Happy New Year!

  12. I still have Christmas up for the most part, and I am not minding at all. I will get to it when I get to it. I keep reusing the same newspaper that I have used for so many years to wrap my family tree ornaments up and doubt I will ever change that. I am with you, we use totes around here too. Our items stay nice, clean, dust free, and unbroken all the same. Hope you enjoyed your holidays Kim!

  13. You have some great tips in this post! I put all my Christmas up yesterday except for a few red things I like to keep up through Valentine's Day. It didn't take us long because we didn't put up a tree because we had a naughty grand dog as a guest during Christmas.

  14. Oh, and I love your tree skirt. It is perfect for your cottage home!

  15. This is timely as I just sat down after packing away all my decorations. Matt is going back to school today and Pete has a broke. Wrist so it was today with help or trouble! Now to get the vacuum out.

  16. Your tree skirt is pretty, and looks so YOU! Last year I found a handmade afghan-type tree skirt at a yard sale for $5 and enjoyed that this year. We waited about a week & took everything down. I didn't put much out this year, so it was quick & easy. I saved only 1 bin from last year's move, and haven't regretted the purge.

  17. Sorry, but I am of no help on this topic! I took my menorah out, and I put it away, lol! When my son was young, I did decorate a bit, but it pales in comparison to Christmas decorating!

  18. It is hard to deal with all the Christmas decor at once - love your idea of slowly putting it away. I don't have a lot of storage either, and because we live in such a tiny house, I have 2 plastic totes to put my total Christmas decor in. Definitely helps to keep things simple here. I got it all done last Saturday and it felt so good. Will be looking forward to seeing what new projects you have in store for the new year! Blessings to you, and Happy New Year wishes!

  19. I haven’t had a basement since I moved to Texas…😢 Oh, how I miss a basement! I have to store everything in bins on shelves in my garage. I do have an attic that’s accessible by pulling down a ladder in my garage, but I’m too afraid to go up there. The heat is so bad in the summer that I had to replace some of my bins this year as the lids crumbled and cracked. You have a good system, Kim. I still have my mini tree up in my bedroom, but everything else is put away. Happy 2023!

  20. Kim,
    You know that I change over a lot of my Christmas decor to Winter/Valentine's...It makes it so much easier for me doing it this way as I put out an incredible amount of Christmas decorations. Truth be told, the upstairs is still decorated for Christmas and I am in no hurry to pack it away...I will do so after I change everything over to Easter...I actually enjoy leaving the upstairs decorated for Christmas this long, especially my sitting room, because i get to enjoy it longer....