what I do

what I do

Monday, December 27, 2010

Packing away the Christmas decorations

I really liked that Christmas was on a Saturday this year. It felt like it lasted longer than just one day. We started our 'Christmas' by attending a beautiful church service on Friday evening and then went to my sister's house for a lovely dinner and family time. Attending church again on Sunday, the day after Christmas, felt nice. It was like Christmas day was sandwiched between what was really important. And I liked that.

Christmas breakfast table setting
Another reason I liked it is that I try to make Sundays a day of rest; a day to take time to be still and relax and reflect. It is not always like that but it is my ideal. It helps me get geared up for the coming week. And so this year after all the Christmas preparations, baking and wrapping ... and the wonderful but long and exhausting day, it was nice to have a day that is designated to be restful.

My "kids"
It made me think about how we have Thanksgiving always on a Thursday; why can't we have Christmas always on a Saturday? I mean, we all know that Jesus wasn't really born on December 25th, so I wish "they" had decided to have Christmas on the third Saturday of December or something like that. Anyway, it was just a thought.

Breakfast with the family
So today, Monday, is get-back-to-work-day and my get-organized-post-day. Typically, for me, the week after Christmas is the week that I get all my invoices in order to close out the end of the year, clean out my business files and close out my books. I like to start the new year fresh and clean. And of course, it is also the time that I start thinking about putting away the Christmas decorations.

A nativity set for the newlyweds!
Some years, I have actually taken down the tree the day after Christmas. Since I get a live tree it all depends on the state of the tree. If I get the tree early and it has been particularly warm, the tree can start losing needles early and by Christmas I am 'over it!' Most of the time I try to keep it up through New Year's Eve and take it down on New Year's Day.

Putting everything away can seem like a daunting task and I am always tempted to just stuff things away quickly and shove them back into the attic. But what I know, is that when the next year comes and it is time to unpack the decorations, the more efficiently I have packed them, the easier the unpacking will be.

Sweet Milo ... he loved his bone so much he buried it - wrapping paper and all!
So, here are a few tips for you when you are packing away your decorations:

1. Before you take your decorations down, take a photo of each area so you have a reference for the following year if you decide you want to repeat the same thing.

2. Put similar things together. Put everything you decorate your tree with together. Put outdoor decorations separate. Put various colored ornaments together (all red together, all gold together). Think about un-packing the following year and what will make sense then. Do you have specific decorations that just go on the tree? Put them together. Do you have specific mantle decorations? Put them together. If you change things up like I do each year, then put all your garland together, your silver ornaments together, your angels together, for example.

silver tree ornaments
3. Label everything clearly so you know what is in each box. Put your label on the outside of the box and label it with next year's date. For example, this year you would write, "Christmas 2011".  The contents of my boxes change each year depending on what I have added or given away, so I change my labels accordingly. I make a label from a sheet of card stock and tape it on the outside of the box. I also like to use plastic boxes so that I can see inside.

4. Number each box and include the total number of boxes you have. For example, '1 of 5', '2 of 5', '3 of 5', etc.

5. Put decorations that you did not use this year in a separate box and label it, "did not use in 2010" so that when decorate next year and you get to that box and don't use them again, you will know that it might be time to donate them. Make sure you include this box in your number of boxes. For example, "Christmas 2011, did not use in 2010, 5 of 5."

6. Wind your lights neatly around cardboard so that they are not tangled when you take them out next year ... there is nothing more frustrating then tangled lights!

7. Designate which box you want to open first. Each year before I put up the tree, I like to decorate my house by putting ornaments and decorations around the house. I put those decorations in a separate box that is labeled so I know that is that box that comes out first. It is also usually the box that is packed last as I may take down the tree but still leave some of the other decor around the house. This box could be labeled, "Entry and mantle decorations, Christmas 2011, 1 of 5."

Tip of the day:  Put it down in writing ... What did you like about the way your Christmas preparations, decorating, cooking, gift wrapping, etc. went? What would you change? What didn't you like? Write it all down. Put it in either a Christmas notebook or just place it in your Christmas decoration box so that you have a reference next year. It seems each year I remember less and less. It is not efficient to re-invent each year, so writing down what you want to repeat or change next year makes sense. A friend of mine says she even keeps her Christmas dinner grocery list so she does not have to figure it out the following year. I like that!


Robbie said...

What a great post for the organizational challenged person like me. My Christmas's just get better and better because of your input. Loved Milo's picture and thanks girls for showing up in your Christmas pj's for all of us to see, a treat indeed!

Loretta Fontaine (EcoHappy Blog) said...

Your Christmas morning breakfast table was so lovely! What a nice way to start a festive day!

(and I'm nowhere near organized as you in poutting my Christmas stuff away!)


Lynda said...

I loved your post Christmas post! I actually took my tree down and packed all away by noon on Christmas. We had it up since Thanksgiving, and had entertained for four nights and I was done.. it feels so good! Sherri you are so smart..wrap lights around cardboard...does that mean I won't have to sit on the floor and untangle for two hours...?? Happy New Year and talk to you soon! Lynda

Anonymous said...

Your Christmas breakfast table was so pretty, and everyone looks like they were having a wonderful time - exactly as it should be!

I haven't started putting anything away yet, but I'm thinking I will sometime this week. Luckily my tree is prelit so no lights to put away, but I like your idea. My hubby does the outdoor lights and, trust me, they're ORGANIZED! Not that I'm complaining. I appreciate that about him.

Luciane at HomeBunch.com said...

Wow! Yes... this is fun! I loved seeing your family. They seem so cozy! Love all the pjs, your table, the breakfast, everything!

I won't pack anything yet... I will let me little ones enjoy it for a little bit more. :-)

Have a wonderful week!

Luciane at HomeBunch.com