Once you get the holiday tree up, what’s not to love about your evergreen and its twinkly lights? Memories decorate the branches with handmade and gifted ornaments.
Putting the lights on the tree in the first place is like trying to trim a holly bush in summer clothing or wrestling with illuminated barbed wire. No wonder people prefer to leave them on the fake trees and shove it all into a box to be forgotten until next year. Still, a holiday tree adds a certain magic to the winter season and marks precious memories you build with your significant other.
You and your S.O. have had fights about the silliest and biggest of topics down to when it comes to how to decorate and remove your tree. Should you leave it up until the New Year or does that bring bad luck? Taking down the tree can be one of the biggest hassles of the holiday season and likely to cause a spat with your partner. Here’s how to complete the chore and still love your significant other in the end.
Timing’s a funny thing, and everyone has an idea of when it’s the right time to take down your holiday tree. You could go with the Twelfth Night on January 5th, which is the traditional end of Christmas and many earth-based faith celebrations.
Settle on December 30th with your significant other, if they don’t want to have the tree up when the New Year comes, but compromise on leaving a few of the garlands up for the winter season. Get it all taken down before New Year’s Eve so you can focus on your New Year plans.
It is sad to see the holiday tree taken down the day after a big celebration, so a few more days’ wait won’t hurt anyone.
When you brought the tree into the house, there were needles — needles everywhere! Three vacuum sweeps later, and the needles were finally gone only to reappear anytime you remembered to water the tree — don’t forget that regularly watering the tree prevents Needle Apocalypse during the takedown process. Check water levels twice a day.
Prepare for the Needle Apocalypse in advance by laying a drop cloth at the tree’s base. Use an old blanket, trash bags or whatever works. Softer cushioning underfoot will prevent fragile ornaments from breaking if they fall.
Think of the ornaments as adorable, sparkly glitter bombs that threaten to go off if you so much as breathe on them — because they will. Start with the base of the tree to remove ornaments and work your way to the top.
You may also want to secure the most fragile of ornaments first by making sure they stay together when packing. Isn’t it so exciting that you get to “gift wrap” more items? Give your holiday cheer the proper safe burial with bubble wrap, newspaper and boxes. While you may be tempted to pop the bubble wrap, don’t do it — this may trigger a release of glitter. Use archival tissue paper to safely wrap precious “heirloom” ornaments free of dyes and acids and place in smaller boxes.
Out of boxes? Stop by a local liquor store or grocery store and look for boxes with the dividers which are perfect to section off ornaments. Plastic craft boxes with dividers are also helpful.
To finish undressing your tree, carefully remove the skirt and shake out needles onto the drop cloth.
Use leftover cardboard to create reels to prevent tangled string lights, wrapping the lights around the cardboard, or upcycle old paper towel cardboard cylinders for the same purpose. Another alternative is to shop at a home improvement store for the reels used to wind up extension cords.
Thought your turkey baster had finished its job back in November? Nope.
Use your turkey baster to cipher remaining water from the holiday tree stand, rather than the tree taking a leak on the floor.
Double check the tree for items you may have missed. Once the tree is naked, spread out the drop cloth or bag as far as it will go.
If easier for you, remove the tree from the stand before laying it across the drop cloth. If it helps, you could also sing “London Bridge is Falling Down” while the tree plummets to its final resting place.
Wrap the tree up like a sling and take it to the curb.
It’s all in the preliminary planning. Here are pro tips to use next year for fewer headaches:
Compromise, a good sense of humor and these easy hacks will be your allies when faced with the wrath of a Needle Apocalypse and the revenge of the illuminated barbed wire. Be wary of glitter, friends, and take down your holiday tree with glee over insanity, while managing to keep your love intact.