How to: Caring for Christmas ornaments
Vintage baubles are so precious. Keep them at their best with tips from our resourceful research editor, Mary Levitski.With the holiday season just around the corner, here are three easy ways to care for your precious ornaments, and make them last longer.
For vintage decorations, damage is more easily avoided than reversed, so proper storage is critical. Choose a dry, dark spot, as humidity can harm the materials and light will cause the colours to fade. A compartmentalized container (DIY or store-bought) will help prevent breakage. Wrap each individual piece in acid-free tissue paper before putting it away. Make sure it fits snugly in its place: not too tight, not too loose. To make future holiday seasons a breeze, label each box.
If possible, avoid cleaning ornaments. Spending only a few weeks a year out in the open means they can go many Christmases between cleanings. Due to their delicate – and often glittery – nature, a light touch is essential (never apply water or soap!). Remove dust with a soft cloth; use a small round-tipped brush to get dirt out of nooks and crannies.
Embrace imperfections. Don’t try to touch up any chips with paint. Matching the colour exactly is nearly impossible.
Acid-free cardboard blocks out damaging ultraviolet light.
Archival 28-piece ornament storage box, The Container Store, $32.
The zipper on this polka-dotted vinyl box ensures all manner of dust stays out. Real Simple Holiday 64-piece ornament storage box, Bed Bath & Beyond, $18.
Keep track of contents with a set of three clear bins that stack and lock together. Stack & Carry 36-piece ornament storage box, Walmart, $15.
Love the vintage appeal of passed-down decorations but not the maintenance they require? Opt for reproductions. Christopher Radko has a line inspired by popular Shiny-Brite pieces from the 1940s and ’50s, Hudson Bay, $30 per 9-piece set.