Friday, November 25, 2011

How to Care for Your Christmas Ornaments

Those wonderful ornaments that you've accumulated over the years are rich in memories and reminders of your traditions, so take a moment or two to take the best possible care of them.  Here are some pointers:
  • When you unpack your treasures, keep the wrappings in the same box for easy repacking.  Check the bottom of the box for loose parts that may have detached from the ornament.
  • The small scratches and wear on ornaments give the character and vintage look we love so much, so don't worry about cleaning or 'touching up.'
  • Trying to clean or wipe off an ornament is tricky, as even water may change the finish or shimmer of glossy surfaces.  If necessary, just use a small feather duster and a light touch to clean your ornaments, or perhaps a baby toothbrush.  Don't use cleaners or stiff brushes, etc. 
  • Think of the safety of wee ones and pets.  Place breakable items out of reach of children and pets. Consider using florist wire (thin, flexible green wire, very easy to use) to wire the ornaments to the tree to prevent inquiring paws or little fingers from plucking off the tree.  Florist wire is more stable and secure than conventional ornament hooks.
  • Generally, place the larger ornaments at the bottom and smaller ornaments toward the top to keep a balanced look.
  • If an ornament keeps turning, twist the wire or hook around the branch to stabilize it.
  • To store, remove the hook or wire from the ornament and loosely wrap it in soft tissue paper or scraps of cloth (how about that year's outgrown children's flannel pajamas?).  You can reuse the wrapping from year to year, too.
  • That said, for fabric, yarn or soft ornaments, I sometimes leave the hook in place, wrap the ornament in tissue with the hook extending out of the top of the tissue paper.   Just be sure to not let the wire scratch the ornaments or get tangled.
  • To pack, I roll one ornament in tissue paper, place another one next to it and roll those two together and continue in this way, depending on the size of pieces. When I unwrap them the next year, the unwrapping step goes nice and quick!
  • I once made the mistake of wrapping some ornaments in bubble wrap; the plastic adhered to the vintage paint and came right off when I unwrapped it.  
  • Be sure to pad the bottom, sides and  top of your ornament boxes with bubble wrap or newspaper in case the boxes are moved, dropped, or stacked.
  • Store the boxes in a cool, dry place.  When we moved to Texas, I was used to storing them in our dry Colorado basement.  Without a basement in Texas, I stored them in the garage, not considering the differences in the heat and humidity.  Oops.  Storing them in the spare bedroom would've been a better choice.
  • Be sure to label each side of each box; that way, if the box is turned, you'll always know what's inside.  
  • Store your tree lights and tree topper on top of the ornaments (wrap separately, and don't let the cords scratch the ornaments, etc.).  That way, you'll unpack the lights first, ready to put on the tree before the ornaments.

Lastly, you can use a marker to write the year you received new ornaments, so you'll always know which darling son or daughter made which treasure!  You may also enjoy keeping an "ornament journal", similar to a travel journal, noting the story associated with your ornaments.

I'm sure you'll have some ideas to contribute -- so let us all know of helpful hints that have worked for you and yours.

For now, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend with all its blessings!



  1. You paint beautiful roses. They are my favorite flower. Your work is gorgeous. I became a follower so that I can pop in often.


  2. Hi! I am a new follower of your beautiful blog! Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips with us. You have an amazing talent! :) xx