Time to De-holiday your Home
January, 2007 - Issue #27
The torn wrapping paper has been cleaned up and recycled. The dishes are washed and back in the cabinets and most importantly, the relatives have all returned home. Now the Christmas tree is starting to dry out, the electric bill has been maxed, and the holiday colors are clashing with your decor.

It took days to put up - untangling lights, wrapping garland over mantels and up staircases, and attaching icicles to the roof line. With a little planning, some extra room in the attic and careful handling, it just may be a lot easier to decorate your home for the holidays in 2007.

Pam Pierson, president of Deck the Halls, has been decorating and lighting the best of homes for over 10 years. Her signature "chandelier" design can be seen swinging from hometown oaks and birch trees all through the month of December. Her holiday designs were featured a few years ago in the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's Home Tour. From rooftops to rose bushes, there isn't a corner that Pierson leaves untouched with holiday magic.

"Packing the GARLAND with all the decorations attached makes it MUCH EASIER to hang the following year."
A complete holiday makeover of a 3,500 square foot home can be accomplished by Pierson and her crew in two days. After Christmas, the group comes back to take down all those decorations in a couple of hours. Packing the decorations from the previous holiday is key for a successful next time, she said.

"There is really a proper way to store lights and garland," Pierson said. "I don't have hours to spend untangling Christmas lights."

With the use of clear plastic 50-gallon storage containers, Pierson carefully folds and wraps each decoration into bins identified by parts of the home. Packing the garland with all the decorations attached makes it much easy to hang the following year. "It just takes some minor adjustments and maybe an addition or two," Pierson said.

Indoor and outdoor lights can be tricky. Do not just throw them in a bin or you will be spending hours untangling ropes of lights. Fold the light cords, bulb against bulb, and lay them flat in a container. Lights that have been wrapped around trees should be unwrapped into a ball when taking them down. If you don't want to be attacked by pine needles when your tree is dry, try laying Christmas lights on tree boughs instead of wrapping around branches. The affect is just as pretty and it can save your hands and arms from numerous pine needle scratches.

Christmas tree ornaments and ribbon take special care, especially if it is an heirloom decoration handed down from your mother. Specialty boxes, sectioned for individual ornaments, are the best way to store these decorations.

Is storage space tight at home? Many families are opting to pack up their artificial trees, lights and large decor pieces so that they can be dropped off at a storage facility. Companies like Affordable Quality Moving & Storage offer inexpensive, sanity-saving space that will keep your belongings safe, clean and out of the way until you need them again next year.

Professionals recommend the use of artificial Christmas trees instead of a fresh tree for two important reasons: fire safety and pre-attached lights. If you crave the smell of the holidays, choose real wreaths or scented sprays.

Of course, when using fresh greens of any kind, make sure those stay healthy. Laying greens on wax paper during the season and giving the branches an occasional spray of water should do the trick. Fresh greens can usually last up to three weeks if kept moist. Fresh wreaths, garlands and trees can all be recycled.

Recycling is good for the environment and recycled trees are used for soil amendment and compost. The City of Santa Clarita offers free curbside recycling every year.

Homeowners should place their trees at the curb on their regular collection day during the two weeks after Christmas. Those who live in a multi-family residence should place their trees adjacent to the refuse bins in their complex. Recycled trees and wreaths cannot be flocked, painted or fireproofed and all ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree stands need to be removed before placing them on the curb.

The city bags this recycled material and returns them to the community every March at the Arbor Day celebration.

So, take extra time this January when storing your holiday decorations. Invest in a couple of large, sturdy containers and make sure you mark where they are to go with a permanent marker. Come Thanksgiving weekend 2007, everyone in the family will be thanking you for planning ahead.
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