A Step-by-Step Guide to Undeck the Halls Safely

Each year, households channel a version of their inner Clark Griswold and partake in the popular American tradition of decorating for the holidays—sometimes investing hundreds of dollars on décor. What’s less fun is when it comes time to undo Christmas. For some reason, unraveling the season does not quite deliver the same holiday cheer as seeing the culmination of creativity come to life. In order to preserve those precious, costly family heirlooms for future events, while avoiding being that house, it is a necessary part of adulthood to take down those decorations in an organized, timely manner.


Before we get to the main attraction, all items should first be removed from the Christmas tree—including garland, ornaments, tinsel, and lights. And there are few things worse than tangled lights.

Check thoroughly for any broken light bulbs and exposed or pinched wires. Nobody wants to waste storage space on something that will just have to be replaced next year. One easy method for putting away lights is to coil them in something like a coffee can or to wrap them on a hanger.

Ornaments and keepsakes

Avoid the temptation just to shove your breakables in a temporary spot until later. Most likely, later will not come in the wake of life happening, thus exposing ornaments and any mementos to potential damage. Instead, invest in plastic bins or large cardboard ornament boxes that keep items from rubbing together. Always store boxes out of reach of children and with airtight lids to keep dust and pests out.

Oh, Christmas tree

The National Fire Protection Associations says 37% of holiday-related fires happen in January, in part because homeowners wait too long to dispose of dried out trees. Check your town’s disposal procedures for pickup or locations for drop-off, and do not keep that dried out tree on your property well into January, which is an extreme hazard.

Tablecloths and linens

Nothing will ruin next year’s Christmas like having mold invade your stowaway containers. Wash all holiday linens, such as table runners, blankets, and kitchen/ bathroom towels and rugs, before putting them away. Laundering will help you avoid the passage of any leftover food items into storage for the next 365 days and prevent the attraction of insects or rodents.

One central location

Once you have everything wrapped, packaged, and organized, choose to store it all in a space in your home that is accessible, but not prone to issues like water leakage. Common areas to store decorations and inflatables are basements, attics, or closets that are reachable when you need it but not too accessible to small children.

Cleaning up after the holidays is as much a part of Christmas planning as crafting Santa’s list, sending out Christmas cards, and illuminating your home with the sights and sounds of the holiday. The extra steps you take in doing the post-holiday cleanup the right way the first time will not only ensure the longevity of costly family heirlooms, but will also keep your home safe from potential fire hazards. This step-by-step routine can ensure success for next year’s decorating process and can protect your budget from needing to repurchase items.