It’s always fun to put up the holiday tree, but taking it down? Not so much.
Make this yearly task less of a chore with our timely tips for taking down the Christmas tree:
1. Get out storage boxes.
Start the process of taking down the Christmas tree by laying an old sheet and getting your storage boxes out and ready. If possible separate your ornaments in one box and your lights in another.
2. Detach ornaments.
Remove the ornaments at the bottom of the tree first. That way, you limit the likelihood that you’ll unintentionally knock any down with your body. Leave the hooks on (if they won’t damage the ornaments) so they’re ready to go next year. Wrap them individually in tissue paper and return them to their boxes, or place them in sturdy plastic containers with cardboard dividers. Group the ornaments and label the boxes so next year you can find what you need easily.
3. Take down lights.
Start where you finished when you put the lights up, and work backward. Wind each strand into a neat bundle, and place strands in separate plastic bags so they won’t get tangled. Or wrap them on a spool (the way garden hoses are stored).
4. Bundle the ‘baum.
Place a large bedsheet or drop cloth on the floor. Remove the skirt (if it’s still there) or the towels you placed at the base; shake the mess onto the sheet. Grab a turkey baster and siphon out the water remaining in the stand. Enlist an assistant, and set the tree down on its side, stand and all. Then remove the stand. Hold the sheet like a giant sling and, with your buddy’s help, carry (or drag) the tree to the curb. Roll it out from the sheet. Walk away. Don’t look back.
5. Nab needles.
For bare floors, sweep and dump debris into the sheet and dispose of it outside. Otherwise, break out the vacuum. Do a fast scan for ornament hooks so they don’t clog the machine. Turn on the rotating brush and position the nozzle on its lowest setting. For the most stubborn stuff — needles on the carpet — sprinkle the area with a little baking soda to coat needles, and suck them up. Relax, you won’t have to do this again for another year.
6. Disposing of the tree.
Use a turkey baster to draw out any water that remains in the Christmas tree stand. Remove the tree skirt; if it’s covered with needles, shake them onto the sheet you’ve laid down. Spread the sheet to its full dimensions, laying the tree down horizontally over it. Take off the stand. Gather the sheet around the tree like a sling, then use it to carry the tree outside. In addition to leaving your tree curbside, most communities around the country have a Christmas tree recycling program in place where discarded Christmas trees are chipped into mulch for gardens (including yours) or shredded for use on paths and hiking trails. In areas where soil erosion is an issue, discarded Christmas trees can be effective sand and soil barriers and help aid sedimentation management.