At Hallmark, we get a lot of questions regarding Keepsake Ornaments. But surprisingly, a lot of them are not about what we do. Instead, they’re about what you can do to keep your favorite Christmas ornaments on your trees looking great and operating as you remember for years to come.
Of course, it makes sense that you’d be looking for Christmas ornament storage ideas! Whether created from paper plates and crayons by the hands of a child or from blown glass and brush strokes by the hands of an artist, Christmas ornaments that capture and preserve our favorite memories number among our most valued holiday possessions.
So here are some of our best suggestions for keeping them safe and spectacular, including special tips and insights from Keepsake Ornaments Senior Engineer Kristina Ferguson.
Inspired? Create and share by tagging @HallmarkStores.
Ready to transform your ornament storage strategy from accidental to archival? You’ve got two paths available:
- There’s the option of tackling the situation head-on, taking ornaments out of storage during sometime other than the Christmas season and revamping your system immediately.
- Or you could prepare for your new way of protecting your ornaments and put your plans into action the next time you “take down Christmas” and put decorations away at the season’s end.
Whichever path you choose, you’ll want to be prepared with all the materials needed to make your new ornament storage system a success. And that mainly means two things: packing materials and storage containers.
Your best allies for protecting most ornaments from damage are tissue paper, foam or bubble wrap and other packing materials for fragile items like handblown glass or ceramics.
When it comes to Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, though, your safest bet in protecting the treasures of your tree is to keep and reuse all original packing materials. Many ornaments are packaged in specifically designed plastic trays that can cradle them safely within perfectly sized boxes.
When it comes to ornament storage containers, there are lots of choices out there. Whether you go with something as general as cardboard boxes or as specific as padded and compartmentalized storage bins, remember:
- The sturdier the better. Consider boxes that are crushproof and waterproof in case of unexpected shifting or moisture.
- Dividers can keep wrapped ornaments from jostling together. If you don’t have dividers, separate ornaments with bubble wrap or more tissue paper.
- Choose uniform sizes and containers with lids. These will allow easier stacking and fitting into your chosen space.
- Try to keep things dry. Toss a packet of silica gel desiccant in sealed plastic containers to protect ornaments from damage from trapped moisture.
- Prevent odors. Any box would benefit from a scented dryer sheet to keep things from getting musty.
Before busting out the boxes, be sure to consider just where your ornaments will reside when they are not being displayed. A little planning will help you avoid the frustration of carefully packing a box only to discover it’s too tall for the place you would like to keep it.
Some good options for ornament storage are under the bed, in a closet, an unused room or finished basement. If none of those are available to you, here are a few watchouts that might help you find the perfect place to store your ornaments:
- Ornaments should be kept in a climate-controlled area, preferably one without a lot of natural light. Sunlight can cause both ornaments and packaging to fade over time.
- Temperatures between 40°-90°F are best, as extremes of heat and cold can cause stress fractures in common ornament materials like glass or ceramic.
- High humidity and moisture can degrade the finishes on ornaments, so avoid areas like unfinished basements and detached garages. If these are your only option, either avoid placing your ornament storage container on the floor or make sure it’s waterproof.
- For boxes with especially fragile contents, avoid high shelves or stacking containers too high, in case they (or you!) fall during retrieval.
Creating your own ornament storage system allows you to choose just how you want to sort your decorations. And it can be really fun!
- You could make your more collectible ornaments quick and easy to find for showing off to friends.
- You could sort by color for coordinated trees, by theme for trees that showcase collections, by material (whether delicate or sturdy), by series, by size or by shape.
- If you’re feeling extra creative, you could even decorate lids and sides of storage containers to reflect their contents.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
Before storing your Christmas ornaments, take the time to do a few housekeeping chores that will make them ready for the tree the next time you put it up:
- Remove the batteries from any powered ornament.
- Unplug ornaments from any removable power cords, such as the Keepsake Ornament Magic Cord or Power Cord, and wrap those cords for storage along with the ornaments that need them.
- Remove metal tree hooks which can scratch painted and polished finishes while resting against them.
- Clean each ornament with a synthetic or feather duster, or a regular or microfiber cloth.
- Do not moisten or immerse an ornament with water to clean it.
- Handle ornaments with care at every opportunity.
Now comes the most important part of any Christmas ornament storage strategy: the packing. Without paying some careful attention to how ornaments rest together in storage, your best intentions can come undone.
This bears repeating, so here goes: For Keepsake Ornaments, the easiest way of ensuring the safest storage for any ornament is to keep and reuse its original packing materials. Some ornaments are packaged in specifically designed plastic trays that will cradle them safely within perfectly sized boxes.
For ornaments that are loose or don’t have particularly storage-friendly packaging, here are some helpful packing strategies. (Spoiler alert: Tissue paper is your best friend.)
- Glass and bisque porcelain ornaments should be wrapped individually in a generous amount of tissue paper as they can be scratched by other materials.
- Blown-glass ornaments should be turned upside down so that any condensation will escape rather than damage paint inside the ornament.
- Sterling silver, gold-plated and pewter ornaments should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper to prevent tarnishing, corrosion and pitting.
- Larger and unusually shaped ornaments or tree toppers will benefit from having lots of space in a container. Avoid crowding them with other ornaments.
In terms of ornament storage ideas, there’s one final point to consider: You might be able to tell the story behind each ornament on your tree—but can everyone in your family?
The best way to ensure that an ornament’s story and history stay as preserved as the ornament itself is to jot down your memories on a notecard and tuck that alongside any ornament carrying particular meaning. This is an especially helpful thing to do if you plan to pass down any ornaments to adult children.
When writing an ornament’s history, note details such as:
- Who gave the ornament to you (or your child/family) and why
- Whose tree an ornament hung on before coming to yours
- Who or what are you reminded of when seeing an ornament and why
- Who inspired your choice to add an ornament to your tree and why
We hope these tips and ideas help you keep your Christmas ornaments looking like the lifelong treasures they are. Be sure to save this article if you’re planning to revamp your ornament storage anytime soon. Have a particularly genius storage idea? Share a photo with us by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook with @Hallmark.
Want more Christmas inspo? Here you go!
- The ultimate Christmas to-do list to help you get a jump on holiday planning
- A sweet and easy way to wrap cookies for Christmas
- A Christmas tribute: Meaningful ways to weave memories of lost loved ones into new traditions
- How to decorate a Christmas tree: Professional styling tips on lights, ornaments and more
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