Reader suggestion: Weeding out unused holiday decorations

Reader John sent us the following tip:

Every year, when we get out all of our Christmas decor, there are always some items that don’t get put out, and just stay in the boxes. Last year, we realized that if it’s not worth setting out, it’s not worth storing either, so it got pitched or donated. This year, we did the same as we decorated.

A terrific idea, John! Thank you for sharing it with us.

18 Comments for “Reader suggestion: Weeding out unused holiday decorations”

  1. posted by baribefe on

    i want to knowmhow to decorate

  2. posted by purlyshell on

    That’s what I did this year, too. I donated some of my decorations. Great idea!

  3. posted by Jacquelyn on

    I also started doing this a few years back and have found it has made decorating for christmas and storage much easier.

  4. posted by brooke on

    where can i donate unused decorations? not going to lie, i pulled out two christmas candles(new and unwraped and still in perf cond) and put them into my gift pile. they will be perfect little add on filler gifts for…you know…my husbands aunts..ha.

  5. posted by Kris on

    I regift ornaments that are in good shape and I know we won’t use. I use them as little additions to the tags or bag several of them for a gift for a teacher or babysitter. This year, thanks to this post, I’m going to go through and give all the extra ‘stuff’ to a young friend who’s doing Christmas by herself for the first time this year and has her first tree .. and nothing to put on it. Thanks!

  6. posted by Andamom on

    Personally — I view most of these decorations as junk. It is fun to create some decor as a family each year to decorate though — We created a turkey for our window for Thanksgiving, flowers to celebrate the Spring, etc. If you create projects, you can photograph them to ensure you have captured the moment and discard them after the season is over.

  7. posted by Gail Luther on

    I got rid of an old artificial tree and a bunch of ornaments/stuff that I now longer used thru freecycle. The lady said her kids were estatic to get the new stuff.

  8. posted by STL Mom on

    A thrift store near my house has an entire window display of Christmas decorations. My favorite is an entire set of dishes – plates, bowls, tea cups, saucers, etc. – that can only be used at Christmas. Bravo to the person who uncluttered that!
    Now I need to hurry up and decorate before it is too late to donate my extras.

  9. posted by Monica Ricci on

    Last Christmas, we had a decor swap with a bunch of our friends. It’s a great way to cull out what you’re tired of in your own decor, and freshen your collection. What doesn’t get a new home gets donated. It’s a win-win-win!
    ~Monica

  10. posted by Jude on

    There’s no such thing as “dishes that can only be used at Christmas.” If I buy a dish, I use it year-round. Instead of “throwing away” old ornaments, one year we bought artificial wreaths and my sons and I created ornament-decorated wreaths which we gave to their day care ladies. The wreaths are interesting, beautiful, and used every year.

  11. posted by Jennifer on

    WE have lots of extra wrapping paper, bows, ribbons of all shapes and sizes, gift bags, etc. I am donating them to a school for the kids to do craft projects for Christmas. We give almost no gifts anymore as everyone has all they need in our family and it is far more important to just get together for a meal than exchange “stuff”.

  12. posted by Gayle M on

    I decided a couple of years ago to keep some of my more collectible decorations up year round. I have a set of the International Santas that sell at Dillard’s each year, and the boxes started getting ratty. I put the Santas (each about 3.5 Inches tall) in my glass front china hutch in and among my Christmas dishes, which also stay out all year, since I don’t have a set of everyday China. It’s definitely a conversation piece, and I get to enjoy them all the time.

  13. posted by Johanna on

    As I mentioned in another post, I have finally reduced our Christmas inventory to 11 file boxes… down from 50!

    We already gave our children all the excess stuff…

    One daughter’s family got only 1 box because my son-in-law’s style is high end.

    Another son got 3 boxes because their style is average.

    Another daughter is getting all the Department 54 collection because she and her husband are really ‘into’ Christmas.

    Our other son’s family got 7 boxes… they are into all the quirk and kitch surrounding the holiday.

    It feels SO LIBERATING!

    Still, since our out-of-town children want to be with us and give the grandchildren the experience of going to Grandma’s for Christmas, we will decorate, but really easy and simple:

    -paper lanterns
    -streamers and flags
    -artificial tree (borrowed)
    -some lights
    -a lot of colorful piñatas

    We will get together on Christmas Day. I’ve reserved a ‘jumping castle’… the grandchildren can jump to their hearts content and not get bored :)

    I hope to pare down the Christmas clutter even more this year.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  14. posted by Sky on

    I sold my Dept. 54 Snowbabies and excess ornaments on ebay and threw out my droopy Christmas candles. Chrismas is so much easier uncluttered. I like to use fresh flowers and greenery….nothing to store all year! I have a small artificial tree that I leave decorated and put in a closet. It is so much better to have more time to enjoy the season with my friends and family. Less is more!

  15. posted by Cathy on

    John’s right, if its not worth showing it’s not worth storing. I review my decor yearly and donate a bunch of stuff. A few years back I decided to store all my cherished holiday trimming in a special box. Labeled it cherished holiday stuff. I store it in front of all the decor. Just in case I ever had to grab and go. Fortunately I have never had to evacuate for any reason, but when I read the stories of people who have lost so much, they always mention photos and special holiday heirlooms.

  16. posted by Marcia on

    After reading this post I thought about all the ornaments I put back in our attic this year.

    I posted a free ad for free ornaments on our local community website.

    I family just had a fire and lost most of their holiday stuff in the fire. I was able to clean out my house and help a family in need.

    Thanks for the advice…it feels great to share.

  17. posted by kancy on

    where can you donate decorations to???

  18. posted by Johanna on

    Two years ago we got down to 11 boxes, down from 50.

    My husband died suddenly 3 months ago, and I really wanted to eliminate Christmas altogether. But he really loved the whole season, so I kind of set up the livingroom.

    I look at his picture, taken our first Christmas together, smiling next to the tree, and I know what he’s telling me: “Honey, unclutter the ‘stuff’ but not the Love.”

    So, I’m down to 6 boxes of things that will stay:

    -Front door bow; pillow covers.
    -Year-round holiday tablecloths and napkins.
    -Ornaments and figures, collectibles.
    -Nativity, collectibles.
    -Pinecone wreaths and stockings.
    -Lights and extension cords.

    I also have some piñatas that we’d saved from last year. The grandchildren can take a whack at them this year, and they’ll be gone.

    So, here I am, sitting in my gently decorated, warm and cozy home. A few holiday fabrics, cold weather colors and textures; a tabletop ceramic tree; candles, angels, stockings; a few strings of lights, carols… and a hot cup of tea.

    Yes honey… I will unclutter the stuff, and share the Love.

    Happy Holidays to all…

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