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How to safely pack Christmas decorations

author avatar Written by Aaron Steed

We’re sure that most of you can agree on this, but it seems as though each passing year has been going by faster and faster at an exponential rate.

Especially in the case of Christmas, where it just felt like last year’s holiday season felt like only a few months ago. The holidays and Christmas of this year is here, and it has our heads spinning trying to prepare for it and the new year ahead.

In the midst of preparing for Christmas, let alone during the holiday chaos and also afterward, there are things during this time of year that we can look forward to being a part of.

Decorating for the holidays

One of those activities is decorating. Whether it be decorating your home, your apartment, your room, or wherever you should live, taking part in this activity during this time of year brings forward feelings of positivity and holiday cheer.

It’s true that decorating for some people might be less than fun than it is for others, but looking at all of the bright lights and beautiful decorations at the end of a long weekend, week, or several week processes of decorating (depending on how much you have to get up) is always worth it.

However, there is something that many of us have dealt with in the various stages of the decorating process, and will, unfortunately, have to continue to deal with.

What is it exactly?

It’s making sure that your decorations aren’t broken or damaged from last year’s packing job, and you’re able to find what you need when you need it.

If this is indeed the case where you go to find your glass snowman passed down from previous generations in your family, and it’s broken into dozens of pieces, alongside other fragile decorations who have met their demise, it’s time for a new holiday decoration packing strategy.

The dangers of improper & disorganized decoration packing

When it comes to packing Christmas decorations, or anything for that matter, packing without a purpose or a plan, in most cases, will end up with something in the trash can due to it breaking or getting damaged.

Christmas ornaments can easily break or get chipped because of their delicate nature. Christmas lights, although it seems that even if you’re the most careful with packing these, they always seem to get tangled and stuck within one another. Nativity sets, glassware, anything that has the potential to become damaged, can get damaged.

If you are looking for your favorite plate to put out milk and cookies for Santa and can’t find it because of improper labeling, that can lead to additional frustrations.

It’s understood that this time of year is a busy one, and the last thing that many people want to put a lot of mental effort into is how to organize their decorations.

However, a determinant for success is how one prepares. You’re going to thank yourself the next time you use the decorations because preparing is going to save you a lot of time, money, and energy in the long run. Not having to stress about anything being broken or getting lost will free you up for more important matters.

So what’s the best way to go about this? The best plan stems from higher-level thinking. If you store all of your belongings in the garage, but the garage is messy and unorganized, this may be a great opportunity to start there and get the rest of your items figured out.

If you store all of your decorations in a storage unit outside of your home, this also may be a great time to revisit your old belongings and get rid of what you don’t need, or just spend a day or two organizing everything.

If you live in San Luis Obispo or Ventura County and are in need of a storage unit, check out our mini self storage service and see if our selection and locations can meet your needs.

Ultimately, having a plan of action is crucial in making sure your Christmas decorations don’t become broken pieces of what they once were, or risking misplacing anything.

Included in this article are some valuable insights that will help you in your quest for planning like a pro.

Let’s dive in.

The Meathed Movers logo with a Santa Claus hat and beard.


How to properly pack holiday decorations

While everyone has their own ways in which they like to store and pack their decorations, there are various considerations to keep in mind when doing so.

One way might not be better or worse than the other, but having the options at the top of your mind may help with being able to pack more efficiently and minimize the risk of breakage or something getting lost.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to gather your supplies. Here is what you will need:


When you are taking down your decorations make sure you don’t mix them all together. Keep them in different areas so it will be much easier for you to pack.

Boxes: Try getting different size boxes because most decorations are not the same size. Use the original box if you saved it.

Moving blankets: Use this to place fragile items like ornaments on while removing decorations.

Box divider inserts or cell kits: For packing ornaments and keeping things organized

Packing paper or bubble wrap: For added support and protection

Box Cutter: In case you need to open boxes or cut the tape

Cardboard: For additional support, and for placing on top of your ornaments to add an additional layer of durability

Markers: For labeling the boxes and keeping things properly organized

Meathead Movers sells high quality moving supplies and boxes at the ready for whatever job you need to tackle.

You might not need to use everything all at once, but having everything available right when you need it will save you time and energy by not having to look for it when you do need it. Make sure to have extra markers handy, because misplacing them is a common occurrence.

Ever been in the situation where you just had something, but then completely forgot where you put it? It happens to the best of us.

Speaking of packing, whether it be around Christmas time or not and you are in need of a professional packing service for your next move, we have you covered.

Christmas tree

Usually, the biggest and bulkiest item that you’ll be packing, the tree needs careful packing in order to keep its integrity and have it be used for years to come.

If it’s an artificial tree, it probably came in a box. Trying to get the tree back into its individual box may be a pain, that is if the box is still in decent shape. Investing in a high-quality tree box may be your best bet because the material is usually more durable than cardboard or hard plastic, which can help maximize the protection.

If the tree is real, well, storing it for next year’s holiday season unfortunately isn’t an option. According to

“A freshly cut Christmas tree lasts up to four weeks on average if you treat it right.”

You can certainly keep the tree in your house for as long as you can, but don’t expect to have the tree make it to February.

Storing your artificial Christmas tree in the garage is usually the safest bet because it’s out of the way of most things, but be sure not to stack boxes on top of the tree. You can store the box on its side or even upright, depending on your packing situation.

If you have a tree with fake snow, know that the tree is undoubtedly going to shed when it’s moved so have that vacuum handy when it’s all packed up.


Ornaments are some of the most fragile holiday decorations, and they need to be treated with care and respect. We’re sure that some of you have ornaments that are several decades old and will continue to be passed down. Even if that’s not the case, It’s imperative that these items make it out in one piece each and every year.

Fun Fact: According to

“the first decorated trees were adorned with apples, candy canes, and pastries in the shapes of stars, hearts, and flowers.”

Ornaments can come in various shapes, sizes, weights, and are of a delicate nature. It’s recommended to use the box that the ornaments came in the first place to store them. If the box is no longer an option, investing in a durable holiday box, either made of styrofoam or hard plastic will help protect them. Some ornament boxes need dividers, so depending on which storage method you are using, prepare for it.

Using tissue paper or bubble wrap to wrap each ornament in provides an extra layer of protection just in case the box falls over or something falls onto the box.

Another way is to:

Insert a box divider or cell kit into the box. Put an ornament in each cell. You can use an extra piece of cardboard to layer the cell kits to pack more ornaments in one box. Though it can be time-consuming, you can also make your own cell dividers using thick construction paper. This method may be less durable.

Ornaments should be some of the last things that are packed in the garage, or wherever they are stored because of how fragile they are and how light the box usually weighs.

Indoor and outdoor lights

As you are taking down your lights try to keep them as organized as possible. If you don’t have the original box it came in, you can create your own Christmas lightbox by simply cutting out a piece of cardboard.

How you pack your lights for the next time you use them will save you a headache in trying to untangle them. Lights seem to love getting intertwined with one another.

Instead of just throwing the holiday lights into a box, wind up one spool of lights at a time, and then rubber band them together or use some kind of clasp that will keep them together. For even better measure, put them in their own storage bag so they are really separated.


FYI: Did you know that tinsel was invented as early as 1610? Who knew!

If tinsel is used in your household, it’s important to keep it all in one place when packing it up because it can get everywhere. A simple clear storage bag can keep your tinsel organized and help prevent making a mess.

Even when it comes to other small items that can make a mess if not stored properly, including anything with glitter or anything embellished with adornments, clear storage bags are the way to go.


Wreaths are a holiday staple, and many of them are not cheap to buy. In order to safely pack them, invest in a plastic wreath container. Some wreaths are larger than others, so make sure you buy one of the correct size. Also, many of them are adorned with various items including pinecones, berries, small chotchkies, and anything of the like, so consider these too when packing and finding a container.

Lawn decorations

These can be packed in the original box. If you don’t want to use a box you can also use extra large trash bags to cover them. This will prevent your decorations from collecting dust.

Gift wrap & ribbons

Instead of throwing away your unused gift wrap and ribbons save them in a plastic storage container to prevent them from getting wrinkled or torn.

You can easily purchase vertical standing gift wrap boxes online or in stores that can safely and securely store all of your rolls of wrapping paper. Investing in one will save you the hassle of having to buy more all over again the following year.

Better yet, having this at the ready for when birthdays or other special occasions come around that require gift wrap will save you time and money.

Storing garland

Artificial garland can vary in size, but in most cases is usually easier to pack because it can adapt to any shape box. For garland that is bulkier and larger in size, make sure that it is folded properly and rests on the very top of the box so it’s not squashed by anything else.

Additional fragile decorations

Use bubble wrap or packing paper to wrap the decorations safely. Use a small to medium box for these decorations. Do not layer decorations on top of each other unless they weigh less. You can also use the christmas stockings to pack glassware like frames or snowglobes.

Storing boxes

When you have everything stored away in their appropriate boxes, the next challenge is to make sure that the boxes are properly stacked and/or placed next to each other. The best way to go about this is to have an area already cleared to put them.

Start with the heaviest and bulkiest boxes first, and place those at the bottom of the pile. As you start to create a foundation, you can start stacking boxes on top of each other, if it’s safe to do so of course. Make sure to focus on what boxes have what inside, so you’re not accidentally stacking boxes on top of your ornament boxes.

Depending on your holiday traditions and how many decorations you have, there may be more or less items that you need to worry about when planning your strategy on packing christmas decorations.

Using common sense will be your best bet. If something seems like it might get broken when there’s too much weight placed upon it, it’s probably going to break.

It’s not about taking chances here. It’s about strategically making sure your items are in a secure box or container, and are placed somewhere where they won’t get damaged, in the garage, storage unit, or wherever that may be.

When it comes to properly organizing everything, one of the most important things to keep in mind is labeling your boxes.

Having a properly labeled box will tell you everything you need to know about the contents inside. Instead of having to look through tens or dozens of boxes to find the one thing you are looking for, you will save a ton of time and stress when labeling is used correctly.

Don’t just label one side of the holiday decoration box, either. If a box is stored somewhere that you need to know what’s inside because the labeled side is covered, your labeling efforts have become pointless.

The best way to prepare for this is to label all sides of the box, or truly make sure that the side that the box is being shown, is the side with the text.

When should I take down my Christmas decorations?

Some people want to keep the holiday spirit going for weeks after Christmas, while others may want it packed up and out of the way the next day, there is no wrong answer. It all comes down to personal preference.

However, on average the time that people decide when to take down their decorations is right after New Years. By this time, the decorations will have been up for a month or so if you began at the start of December.

Bonus information

Here are some additional tips and tricks that should help make your packing and preparation easy on you.

Disposing of your Christmas tree

While placing your tree outside of your house for the trashman to pick up is the easiest method, some trash companies may not honor this task. Make sure to check in online with your local trash pickup company and see their regulations.

Waste Management, according to their website, says:

“Please Contact Us by live chat, email, or telephone to find out if Christmas trees are picked up in your area and what the local guidelines are, such as maximum tree length and if a special pickup needs to be scheduled.”

They also go on to state that:

“Depending on the service agreement, some customers will incur a one-time charge for Christmas tree pickup. If trees are not picked up locally, there may be a drop off location where you can dispose of the tree responsibly.”

There may be other non-profit organizations or companies outside of waste pickup that offer this service, so check in online.

Preparing for a move

If you know that this Christmas will be your last in your current residence and are moving somewhere else, take this opportunity to really make sure your organization skills are on point. Already having your boxes properly secured and labeled will allow you to easily pack up the moving van, or having a professional on-site service like ours, to be able to help load everything in your vehicle for easy transport.

If you’re still in the process of researching reputable and professional moving companies that can help get all of your belongings, including your holiday decorations, to your new location, enlist in the help of Meathead Movers.

Whether it be local moving, long distance, or you’re a senior citizen looking for a safe and reliable senior moving company, we can do it all!

Using clear storage containers instead of solid colors

If the opportunity arises where you get to choose between a clear container vs a solid container, you may want to consider the clear storage option. This is because it makes knowing what’s inside the container much easier than a solid colored one.

Properly labeling boxes is a sure bet for knowing what’s inside a box. However, one benefit is that if the box was really deep within a section of the garage where you can’t read the text but can look inside and see the contents from afar.

Pack Christmas candles with care

Since candles are made from wax, they are not very strong. A slight bump of the candle from some other heavier object can make the candle break into a couple of pieces. It’s important to pack candles with a more delicate nature than most other holiday decorations. Also, packing candles in the paper is not recommended, because over time they can stick to the sides.

The proper way to pack candles is to place them in something like an old rag or towel, and then put them at the very top of the box so they don’t get squished.

Since wax can easily melt, if they are in contact with any form of heat, they may end up bending, warping, or melting if the conditions are hot enough.

Putting small nuts, bolts, or screws into bags

Some Christmas decorations need to be hammered into the wall, while others need to be built using hardware. The best way to keep the smaller parts organized is to label each bag for where the contents go to.

Place the contents into the bag, and either tape the bag to the decoration if it won’t damage it, or have a designated section for those small parts.

For an even better piece of mind, take a picture of all of the parts both in the decoration and fully deconstructed. This is so if you forget where a certain screw or nut should go, the picture will help you.

Avoiding the elements

Depending on where you live in the world, whether you live in a rainy, snowy, or hot environment, make sure to keep your boxes and holiday decorations away from water and extreme temperatures.

Many decorations are sensitive to moisture as well as the heat and the cold. Putting your boxes higher up on a rack can help prevent water damage, keeping the boxes out of direct sunlight can help with staying cool, and keeping blankets or coverings over boxes can keep them warm and dry.

Final takeaways

Safely packing holiday decorations, although may be time-consuming, is always worth it in the long run. If you think that saving time now by shoving everything together without proper labeling and security is a good thing, you’ll only be experiencing stress and wasting of time the next time you need what you’re looking for.

Also remember to use this time of the year to look upon possessions that you might not need anymore that are collecting space in your garage or storage unit, and see about donating them.

Looking for a professional moving company during the holidays? Meathead Movers is an athlete moving company with several locations across California. With award-winning services including local moving, long-distance moving, commercial moving, and senior moving, our team of dedicated professionals can handle anything you need. Contact us over the phone or online for a free quote and see how we can help.


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