Are you one of those people who loves the holidays? I do, and I start planning out my holiday decorations as early as September. Every year, I choose a theme, such as Victoriana or black-and-white, and base my entire decorating scheme around that central idea. For my black-and-white themed Christmas, for example, I used a silver aluminum tree and decorated it with trumpeting angels cut in black silhouette.
This means, of course, that I have numerous boxes of Christmas decorations that I need to keep safe and secure for the remainder of the year. Although I change my decorating theme every year, I try to reuse elements as often as possible; the silver aluminum tree for my black-and-white Christmas, for example, was originally purchased after I heard a NPR story about the history of the aluminum tree and decided I wanted to create a 1950s-themed Christmas. That year, we ate Christmas dinner on vintage TV trays, and I found a gorgeous 1950s crinoline dress to wear on Christmas Eve.
I live in Chicago, which means I’m in an apartment that doesn’t allow for a lot of extra closet space. It also means I need an inexpensive, easy solution to my storage problem — I’m already investing so much in my holiday decorations that I don’t have a lot of extra room in my budget. Luckily, there are many cheap storage Chicago solutions. Storage units are great, because they offer you inexpensive ways to store your personal things, and there’s a unit right now that’s stuffed with my aluminum Christmas tree, my vintage TV trays, my Victorian porcelain angel, and my enormous collection of novelty Nutcrackers.
You don’t have to live in a small apartment to take advantage of storage units for your holiday treasures. My mother, for example, lives in one of those old Midwestern farmhouses in rural Illinois, but she also stores her Christmas decorations and holiday mementoes in my Chicago storage unit. Why? For starters, because she has over 60 years of Christmas memories to keep safe. In addition, old farmhouses are not known for their weatherproofing; her rural area regularly experiences flooding in addition to thunderstorms and tornados, and she does not want any of her life’s memories to get destroyed. We have a lot of old family history in that storage unit, from the Baby’s First Christmas ornament given to my mother when I was first born, to the years of clothespin reindeer and pinecone Christmas trees my sister and I made as gifts. The red-trimmed lace dress I wore to my first Midnight Mass is in that storage unit, as is the last light-up novelty Christmas tie my father wore before he died.
Every year, before Thanksgiving, I talk to my mom about what she wants me to bring down from the storage unit. Then, when I travel down for Thanksgiving dinner, I bring the boxes of Christmas ornaments, the hand-knit Christmas stockings, and anything else she’s requested. Even the family cat has a few special treats that only come out at Christmas, including a remote-controlled catnip mouse wearing a Santa hat. After the holidays, my mom and I take everything back up to the storage unit again, and spend some time going through our years of holiday memories.
If you love the holidays and holiday decorating, I encourage you to find a storage unit for your holiday treasures when you’re not using them. I found out the hard way that keeping special heirlooms and treasures in your own apartment is not always the best choice; about five years ago, my apartment was broken into and I lost not only my laptop and television, but also a box full of snowman figurines that I started collecting when I was twelve years old. Storage units, on the other hand, are climate-controlled and secure. They’re also useful for non-Christmas items, such as the swimsuits and sundresses that I only get to wear for a few months every year, Chicago not being known for its naturally warm climate!
This year, I’m planning on a Scandinavian Christmas. I’m already searching for crowns and trays to use for a Santa Lucia celebration on December 14, and researching the history of Christmas traditions in Scandinavian countries. It’s unlikely that my aluminum Christmas tree will come out this year, so it’ll stay in the storage unit.
How about you? How do you plan to decorate for the holidays this year? Where do you store your holiday decorations when they’re not in use, and have you ever used a storage unit to solve your holiday decoration storage problems?