Storing An Artificial Christmas Tree
People choose artificial Christmas trees for many reasons. They last for years, are environmentally friendly, hypo-allergenic, and often less expensive in the long run than real pine trees. One of the biggest problems with artificial Christmas trees, however, is year-long storage. However, with careful planning and organization, storing an artificial tree between holiday seasons is easy and convenient.
The best storage container for an artificial Christmas tree is its original box. These boxes are heavy-gauge durable cardboard and often come with a handle for convenience. They are long enough to accommodate all the tree's pieces without overcrowding, and if treated properly, can last as long as the tree. When first opening the box, slit the sealing tape carefully to avoid damaging the cardboard.
Do not remove any staples or collapse the box, which would weaken its stability. When replacing the artificial Christmas tree after the holiday season, simply reseal the box with packing tape. Duct tape will not adhere well to cardboard and will loosen throughout the year. Use at least six different lengths of tape placed at equal intervals along the box's longest seam for a tight seal.
If the original box is not available, the best substitution is a large box or plastic crate that can hold all the artificial Christmas tree's pieces, including the trunk, base, and all the branches. Using separate containers increases the possibility of losing one container and therefore being unable to use the tree again.
If multiple containers must be used, be sure to label each one with the words "artificial Christmas tree" and the total number of boxes. This will insure that when you begin assembling the tree the next year, you have gathered all the materials together before beginning.
A prominent complaint that many people have about artificial Christmas trees is how difficult they can be to assemble when all the parts have become intermixed over several holiday seasons. Storing the tree properly avoids this dilemma. When disassembling the tree, work through one layer at a time and keep all same-size branches together.
Placing the ends of the branches into a single bag or wrapping them together with a wide ribbon or strip of cloth will keep them organized and will allow you to easily sort them the following year for quick assembly. The largest branches, trunk, stand, and top of the tree may be stored loosely in the box, since there is little chance of confusion among these parts.
Artificial Christmas trees often lose tips or parts of their branches through rough storage and handling. The branches are made of flexible wire, and must be flattened to fit easily into the box. When collapsing the branches, push the tines down flat without twisting or bending them. Excessive movement can cause metal fatigue that will weaken the branches and cause them to snap off.
If branches do become sparse because of missing tines, you can easily wrap broken tines around the main stem of the branch to fill in the gaps. The replacement tines may not be as long or flexible as the original ones, but once decorated the difference will not be noticeable.
With careful storage, artificial Christmas trees are a safe and economical substitute for real holiday trees. By using the original box or a comparable substitute, organizing each layer of branches, and carefully handling the wire tines, an artificial Christmas tree can easily become a lasting holiday tradition.
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