Taking down the Christmas tree can be a real bummer. There’s that sudden void in the living room that wasn’t there before. Your hopes that you’ll find one more present will be unmercifully dashed. And of course, there’s the dilemma of packing that beast up for storage.
We may not be able to do much about the first two, but we can help you with that last one.
Back in the box?
Fancy tree cases are either expensive or hard to size up to your exact tree, so putting your tree back in its original box may seem the most logical way to go—until you try it. You could probably sing the entire Twelve Days of Christmas song before you even come close because the reality is that your tree only fit in that box in the first place because a machine specifically designed to pack it put it in there. Humans may be a lot of things, but we are no match for tree-boxing robots.
If you are determined to pack your tree in its original box, go for it. What we’re going to do is talk about how to pack up your artificial tree if you don’t have (or don’t want to fight with) your tree’s factory box.
Hold the tree super tight.
Once you’ve taken everything off the tree and taken it apart (some fake trees come in separate sections), give each extended piece a big gentle bear hug to get those branches compacted. Do take care to avoid putting undue pressure on the points where the branches connect to the tree stem. Otherwise, common sense will say how tight you can hug your tree.
This is all you need to get the branches to start pointing downward (sometimes upward, depending on your tree). Naturally, the branches will loosen up some when you let go, so consider tying them up tight again with some basic string. And since we’re tying up tree branches, not our shoes, it’s a good idea to make a slipknot, not a bow. (Here’s how to do that.) Or simply tie a loop in one end of the string, bring the other end through the loop (don’t forget to wrap the string around the tree) and pull it tight. Either method lends much more mechanical weight to your string than a shoelace bow.
Protip: You can try a rubber band if you’ve got some big enough, but don’t overdo it. They can deform the shape of your tree that way! Plus, they’re just hard to get off a year later.
Think outside the original box.
Now instead of wrestling our tree back into its original box, what can we use to pack it up?
One option is a mattress bag, durable and likely plenty big. Another is a wardrobe box, which is obviously sturdier than a mattress bag and may end up offering you plenty of extra space to pack away much, if not all of your Christmas decorations. Your tree and all the trimmings in one sturdy box—how cool and convenient is that?
If you don’t need a box quite that big (they usually run from 46 to 60 inches tall), see if your tree will fit into the kind of extra-large boxes movers use, which are around 18” x 24” x 24”. You can get them at Home Depot, Lowe’s, most self-storage facilities or from your local moving company (who will probably have those wardrobe cartons available as well). Home Depot also has a wardrobe box measuring 24” x 24” x 34”. What size you get depends on how big your tree is— and how good a slipknot you can tie!
More durable and flexible than cardboard, they can come with various features like interior tie-downs, wheels and bases to allow you to store your tree upright.
Keep it safe until next Christmas.
However you pack up your tree, you’ll want to keep it away from moisture, dust, heat and critters for the next eleven months. Seal it up good and put it in a cool dry place. (Especially those frosted trees.) Lay it down if at all possible.
Then when you’re all done, make sure you go fill up that void in the living room!