Heirloom ornaments are the ones that received special care needed to survive from one generation to the next. Here are some tips to help you protect your own ornaments, so they too may one day adorn your grandchild’s Christmas tree.
• Put more fragile ornaments higher up on the tree, above toddlers’ hands and dogs’ wagging tails. Use florists wire or other fine-grade wire to fasten breakable pieces to the tree.
• Dust ornaments after removing them from the tree. A makeup brush is a good ornament brushing tool.
• Always remove hooks during storage. They can scratch ornaments.
• Wrap the ornaments in tissue paper — not in newspaper. Newspaper inks can rub off.
• Use good, sturdy boxes or tubs for storage. If old boxes are starting to sag or tear, mend them with duct tape. Vintage ornaments still need their original cartons so take care. Some vintage ornaments are becoming quite valuable. And the original boxes are always the best size for the ornament.
• Sort ornaments by size, weight and fragility. Those packed safely away in sturdy boxes may go on the lowest level of the larger tub or box. Put lighter more fragile ornaments on top, or better still, in their own box marked “fragile.”
• Be wary of ornaments made of dough. Eventually they will deteriorate. Wrap them carefully in tissue paper and store them away from anything you would hate to get dried dough on.
• Never store candles in the attic — or any place the temperature may get high enough to melt them.
• If you store ornaments in the basement, keep them on a shelf. Boxes sitting directly on the floor cold suffer damage.
(I’ve been reading just recently about the market for vintage ornaments. I thought I would have a look through the old boxes that my mom has because I grew up with all these old ornaments that seem to be all the rage now. Vintage ornaments, though, should also have their original vintage boxes.)
Easy garland trick
The best material for stringing cranberry or popcorn garlands is inside your medicine cabinet.
Waxed floss is strong and slick, so cranberries and popcorn will slide easily. Knot one end of a piece of floss, and thread a needle onto the other; just pierce through items, and slip them on.
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.