Summer is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year, but not for Christmas decorations. High temperatures can take their toll on your holiday treasures, including your artificial tree. Here’s advice from Treetopia on Christmas decoration storage. We also asked crafter and tree decorating expert Jennifer Perkins to share her heat damage prevention tips.

“As someone with over 100 Christmas trees, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about storing Christmas decorations the right way. There are more than a few nemeses of holiday décor. And number one on the list of this holiday-obsessed Texan is heat.”

Jennifer Perkins

1. Use proper Christmas decoration storage containers.

There are many storage solutions available. Pick ones made from cardboard, plastic, or fabric, depending on which option protects your decorations best. 

Cardboard Christmas Decoration Storage

Artificial Christmas tree stored in a cardboard box

One way to store your artificial tree or greenery is in its original box. This may seem cost-effective, but it’s not ideal. Heat, moisture, and pests easily destroy cardboard. In the long run, you’ll end up needing to replace your decorations.

However, if you choose cardboard boxes, the best way to prevent heat damage is by storing them in a dry space with a stable room temperature.

Plastic Christmas Decoration Storage

A stack of clear ornament storage bins with a pre-lit Christmas tree in the background

File boxes and Christmas storage bins made from thick plastic are great alternatives. They’re also affordable, available in several sizes, and stackable.

If you go this route, know that plastic is vulnerable to humidity. Keep the contents dry by using silica gel packets or other drying agents.

Fabric Christmas Decoration Storage

We recommend choosing a container that’s made specifically for storing Christmas decorations. Dark-toned ones and those reinforced with polyester fabric effectively block sunlight. Plus, they don’t easily tear or melt, unlike cardboard. Some also come with wheels, which makes moving your greenery around easy.

Alternatively, you can repurpose other bags or bins. For instance, you can use a hanger to retain the form of your garland and cover it with a garment bag. A hat box can also serve as a wreath storage container.

2. Use dividers when storing decorations in one container.

Stowing your artificial tree and ornaments in an attic or garage? Here, they’ll get exposed to extreme temperatures, especially during the summer months. Heat melts glue and melds paint, damaging embellishments. That’s why dividers are essential, especially when it comes to vintage ornaments, which are more fragile than others.

See our section on how to store Christmas ornaments in various rooms below.

Pink wreath with glued on DIY accents
Photo by Jennifer Perkins

If you’re one to embellish your wreaths using hot glue like me, keep those babies out of the attic or garage. When the temperatures rise, the glue on your wreath will melt. You’ll end up losing ornaments and décor this way. Store your wreaths in a box inside your home instead of hanging them up, as this can lead to breakage of fragile bits and pieces.

Jennifer Perkins

If storing decorations individually isn’t an option, use containers with compartments. Otherwise, make dividers out of cardboard or wood to keep them separated.

Ornament organizer with various Christmas ornaments

It’s okay to store undecorated greenery of the same type and color in one bag or box to save space. However, storing them in different containers prevents tangles and stains. It also keeps foliage and light bulbs intact.

Red holiday candle wrapped in a plaid ribbon and surrounded by festive embellishments

Don’t add special holiday candles to a storage bin with other Christmas decorations. The candles can liquify and ruin other items.

Jennifer Perkins

3. Wrap ornaments and trim with a protective layer.

Take time to cushion your decorative pieces, especially those made of fragile materials like glass or ceramic. Acid-free paper, cardboard, and even plain white fabric or towels are options. Egg trays and plastic cups also work.

Wrap candles individually in bubble wrap, then put them in an air-tight metal container or tin can. This blocks light, keeps the temperature consistent, and even maintains scents. Store them in a cool and dark place.

Never use newspapers, magazines, and other colored paper to wrap Christmas decorations. Heat can cause ink or dye to transfer onto your ornaments. Use plain wrapping materials, especially for beribboned or light-colored ornaments and holiday linens.

Ornaments stored in freezer bags
Photo by Jennifer Perkins

Another option for non-breakable ornaments is to organize them into large freezer bags. Plush, plastic, and foam ornaments can all be grouped into bags that are put into large tubs and bins. It seems like a pain now, but come fall, you will thank yourself for taking the time.

Jennifer Perkins

4. Keep Christmas decoration storage boxes in a cool and dry area.

Now that you’ve wrapped your collection, store the containers in a spare room, closet, or walk-in pantry. However, if you don’t have extra space, here are helpful tips:

How to Store Christmas Decorations in an Attic

Storing Christmas decorations and trees in an attic

Attics typically have average or poor insulation, which means the room gets hot fast on warmer days. Also, moisture buildup can damage your decorations. As a workaround, use sturdy containers made from heat and water-resistant materials. Use stackable boxes to save on space. Containers with durable straps and wheels make transporting them easy. 

If your attic is your only option for storing Christmas decorations, there are preventive measures you can take. For instance, make sure your attic fan is up to snuff to keep it ventilated during summer.

Jennifer Perkins

How to Store Christmas Decorations in a Garage

It’s not the best place to store Christmas ornaments. Your seasonal decorations will have to share a space with your vehicles and tools. If the garage is your only spare room, consider installing wall- or ceiling-mounted racks.

Keep Christmas decoration storage as far away as possible from your vehicle. Starting up your engine will cause a quick rise in temperature, exposing your décor to heat. Also, never store an artificial Christmas tree, wreath, or garland uncovered in a garage. This exposes them directly to dust, dirt, moisture, and small animals.

How to Store Christmas Decorations in an Apartment

Frozen Fir white Christmas tree decorated by simplifiedbee.com
Photo and décor by simplifiedbee.com

A small home doesn’t mean you need to compromise on proper storage. Consider overhead racks to make the most of your space and avoid floor clutter. Another option is to keep storage boxes in upper cabinets. Use containers of the same color and label them appropriately. Darker colors are easier to spot.

How to Store Christmas Decorations in a Loft

Big open layout room with holiday ornaments and décor by Ingrid Brown
Photo and décor by Ingrid Brown

For wide and open storage areas, the challenge is keeping your collection organized. Piling your Christmas tree storage containers is an eyesore! Keep them in a storage cabinet or shelf. Also, position your containers away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.

Can You Store Christmas Decorations in a Shed? 

If possible, avoid outdoor storage areas unless they have a temperature controller. If you don’t have that option, at least keep fragile ornaments indoors. Invest in sturdy covered containers (preferably waterproof) if storing in the shed. If the outdoor storage space has windows, don’t keep your decorations near direct sunlight. The same goes for other storage rooms.

5. Avoid storing white and vintage pieces in the attic, garage, or shed.

That’s if you have spare storage space, of course. White décor is prone to yellowing when a room’s temperature changes. One sign of extreme heat damage is permanent discoloration. Prevent this with proper storage, as well as regular cleaning.

White Christmas trees and a hot room don’t mix. The same goes for white wreaths, garlands, and holiday linens. There aren’t many storage bags out there that can stop the heat from turning your Christmas whites yellow. If your attic is temperature-controlled, then hooray for you. Otherwise, store your whites somewhere inside your house like a closet.

Jennifer Perkins
White artificial Christmas tree with black and white decorations
Photo and décor by The Classy Mama Bear

6. Take extra care with fragile or vintage pieces.

Store your heirloom pieces away from heat. It damages glass ornaments and fine embellishments. Sometimes, even mild heat without direct sunlight can tarnish your precious collection.

Christmas ornament storage bag
Photo by Jennifer Perkins

Modern-day plastics take a licking from the heat a bit better. But if you’re like me and collect vintage ornaments, remember that intense attic or garage heat can wreak havoc.

There’s nothing worse than unwrapping ornaments in December to see chipped paint, warped shapes, or worse yet, cracks and breakage. Your best bet is a storage box made especially for ornaments.

Jennifer Perkins

7. Store pre-lit greenery and other lighted decorations in a cool and dry place.

Stable room temperature is essential when storing lighted décor. Never assume that your Christmas lights can withstand heat. If you bought your lights separately, wind them around sturdy pieces of cardboard and stow them in a cooler area of your house.

If your lighted decorations are battery-operated, make sure to take out the batteries. Keep them in a plastic box without coins or anything metallic. Contact with metals might cause a short-circuit.

Intense heat from an attic with little to no ventilation can melt the wiring on holiday lighting. That’s a fire hazard you definitely want to avoid. Every holiday season, you need to check your lights for damage. A durable storage bag is the way to go for a pre-lit tree.

Jennifer Perkins

Tip: Before any DIY repair on lights or pre-lit Christmas trees, consult the manufacturer to avoid warranty issues. Get in-depth advice in our step-by-step guide on how to fix Christmas tree lights.

8. If you’re keeping your decorations up all year, position them away from heat or direct light sources.

At Treetopia, we’re all for leaving your artificial Christmas tree and decorations up all year long. It’s a unique way to celebrate other holidays. All you need to do is update your decorating theme, according to the occasion. 

Gold Christmas tree in a colorful living room
Photo and décor by Candy Colored Home

Maintain the vibrance of your decorations by keeping them away from heat or light sources. That includes windows, fireplaces, radiators, and lamps. Handle your décor with care whenever you move them around. Don’t forget to clean them as needed, too.

Dog on a couch with a flocked Christmas tree in the background
Photo and décor by Mom 4 Real

Last but not least, protect your decorations from other elements. Heat isn’t the only enemy. Moisture leads to the growth of molds while dust and debris accumulate and harden. Pests and animals are also a consideration, especially if you used edible ornaments on your foliage.

If these Christmas decoration storage tips helped you care for yours, share this post with those who love decorating as much as you. Got any storage hacks of your own? Share away in the comments section below.

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