Packing Christmas Ornaments To Last

Packing Christmas ornaments should never be done willy-nilly. Although, I do have a florist friend who believes Christmas ornaments are as disposable as fast-food sporks. She doesn’t intend to use the same ones the next year. She intends to buy new. And every year she decides what her color theme will be and uses her florist connections to buy unbreakable ornaments in bulk.I do have a florist friend who believes Christmas ornaments are as disposable as fast-food sporks. Click To Tweet

I’ll hand it to her, her tree is always gorgeously lavish. (The lime and copper theme a few years ago was stunning.) But her trees are also completely devoid of sentimentality. They could be the holiday centerpiece in the lobby of a bank, and that’s just the way she likes them.

However, most of us do not buy a completely new set of Christmas ornaments each year. Over the years we amass a nostalgic collection of varying quality baubles. There’s the green-painted-puzzle-pieces-glued-into-a-wreath-shape that your kid made in 2nd grade, and the plastic Hallmark Charlie Brown ornament that reminds you of your favorite annual holiday program. And let’s not forget the brass heart stamped with “Victoria’s Secret” we got for free because we spent $50 there one year.

But our collections include another sort: fragile heirloom ornaments passed down from grandparents or parents, delicate hand-painted treasures made by artistic friends, and glass souvenirs from far-away places. These are the ornaments we plan to decorate our trees with till we die.

Here are a few sentimental ornaments from my collection. Surfer Santa may look tacky, but he came from a long-dreamed-of trip to Hawaii.

Read about making other Christmas traditions here.

Packing Christmas Ornaments

Here are my three simple tips for packing Christmas ornaments – of every quality and sentimental value – to ensure the next generation can enjoy them.

  • Invest in plastic storage bins with cardboard partitions. Repurposing cardboard wine boxes – normally, I’m all for repurposing – is a mistake in this case. Since no one can resist stacking boxes, you run the risk of crushing the ornaments as the boxes degrade or, heaven forbid, mildew.
  • Blow them off with a hairdryer on a cool setting before packing. Ornaments collect dust hanging for weeks on a tree.
  • Pack strategically. Place delicate ornaments in the middle compartments and fill empty spaces with tissue paper saved from opened presents. Place unbreakable ornaments around the more vulnerable edges. (Regarding dough ornaments popular in the 1980s: They fall apart over time. There’s nothing to be done but bid the pieces adieu and move on with life.)