Artificial Christmas trees have become more popular in recent times because they've become a lot more realistic, and now have features such as built-in lights. And, because they don't need to be watered and you don't need to sweep up pine needles, they're an excellent low maintenance option. But a good quality faux Christmas tree can be an expensive investment — some cost upwards of $1,000 — so you’ll want to make sure it lasts for several years to come.
The downside of an artificial tree is that you have to have an appropriate place to store it for the majority of the year, which can be inconvenient if you’re not lucky enough to have a home with extra storage space. This can lead to trees being stored in places where they’re at risk of damage or decay.
One way of ensuring you get many years of use from your Christmas tree is by storing it well to preserve the shape of the tree, and make sure it doesn’t deteriorate throughout the year. So if you want to ensure your tree comes out of storage next Christmas looking lovely and ready to decorate, read on to find out where you should avoid storing it when you pack it away this year.
If you're wondering when you should remove it, here's our recommendation for when to take down your Christmas decorations.
1. Near a heat source
Let’s not forget, artificial Christmas trees are made mostly of plastic. So if you store it too close to a heat source, then it’s at risk of melting, discoloring, or even becoming a fire hazard.
Try to store your Christmas tree somewhere that’ll stay relatively cool year-round. Avoid storing it next to a radiator, furnace, fireplace, hot pipes, or anything else that gives off heat.
Don’t forget to think about the temperature of your storage area in the summer too. If it’s likely to become unbearably hot during the warmer months of the year, then it’s probably not the best place to store your tree.
An indoor closet is the ideal environment to store your tree because your home is usually temperature controlled and the temperatures indoors don’t fluctuate wildly like they might in other storage spaces.
2. In the damp
While a basement, shed, or barn might offer up plenty of space, if you want to store your Christmas tree in one of these spots, it’ll need to be free of damp. In fact, no matter where you’re thinking about storing your Christmas tree, it’s super important that the space is dry with good airflow.
Damp storage areas can lead to black mold or musty smells. Any accumulation of mold, damp or musty smells is likely to ruin an artificial Christmas tree, so look for somewhere that’s nice and cool and dry. It might also be worth investing in one of the best dehumidifiers, too.
If for some reason, you can’t be certain your storage spot will be completely dry year-round, then there is another option. You could invest in a waterproof Christmas tree storage bag, like this PliMook Christmas Tree Storage Bag ($36, Amazon). It’ll give you added peace of mind that your tree is protected from any unexpected damp or condensation.
3. Where it smells
As we mentioned above, damp areas can leave your tree smelling musty, which you’ll want to avoid. But in addition to damp, there are plenty of other smells that could cling to your tree and ruin the festive cheer, if brought into your home.
For example, don't store it in a car garage or workshop if there’s a chance it’ll be contaminated by aromas from motor oil, gas, or spray paints. Likewise, if you keep animals, don’t store it somewhere that your cat or dog might decide is their new toilet spot. Nobody wants a cat pee tree for the holidays.
The artificial Christmas tree manufacturer Balsam Hill recommends storing your tree with a container of baking soda or unused coffee grounds. The baking soda or coffee grounds will absorb odors so that your tree doesn’t, but use this as a precautionary measure only.
4. Where you can't get to it next year
It’s all well and good finding the perfect storage spot that’s tucked out of the way. But if it’s behind a truckload of boxes or heavy furniture and you need a four man team to get to it, then you’ll kick yourself next year.
Your Christmas tree might only come out once a year, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense to put it somewhere really inaccessible. The start of the holiday season can be busy and stressful and the last thing you need is an obstacle course to get to your tree.
Worse still, is putting it somewhere so obscure that you forget where it is. So keep your tree somewhere easily accessible, and in a spot where you’ll be able to find it next year. This will save you a headache when you need to get your hands on it at the start of the next holiday season.
5. Where it can get in the way
The opposite to hiding it in an inaccessible spot is leaving your Christmas tree where it’ll get in your way all year. Because although you do want to keep it easily accessible, there’s no point putting it somewhere that means you’ll be tripping over it or constantly moving it out of the way until next Christmas.
So in essence, don’t leave it where you know it’ll be in yours or somebody else's way. Try to find space in a closet or somewhere appropriate to tuck it out of the way, so you can leave it undisturbed and so that it doesn’t drive you crazy all year.
6. Where there’s a chance of rodents
If storing your Christmas tree in a barn or shed is something you’re considering, then you’ll need to make sure there aren’t any little critters around. If you’ve noticed any evidence that rodents such as mice or rats have made their home in your barn or shed, then this isn’t going to be a suitable storage spot for your Christmas tree.
Rodents could decide that there’s a nice cozy nest to be made in the fluffy branches of your artificial Christmas tree. Or they could cause irreparable damage by chewing it. Either way, you’ll want to avoid storing your tree anywhere that it could come into contact with rodents.
For more help, read our guide on the top things that attract rats and mice to your home, so you can avoid enticing them in. And if they've already made their presence known, here's how to get rid of mice.
7. In a space that’s too small
When space is tight and you have to make the most of every square inch of storage in your home, it’s tempting to squish your Christmas into the smallest possible box so that it doesn’t take up much space.
But if you pack it away into too small of a box or bag, it could make it really hard to reshape or fluff up your tree next year. And while a good quality tree should be designed to recover well each season from having its branches compressed. If you compress it too tightly, or you’re careless with the shape you compress it into, it may never recover to its former glory.
If your Christmas tree came with a storage bag provided, this will usually be appropriately sized for storing your particular tree. However, if it didn’t come with a storage bag, it’s often hard to squish it back into the box it came in, so look into buying a good quality Christmas tree bag like this Joiedomi 2 Pack 48" Christmas Tree Storage Bag Set ($21, Amazon). Alternatively, if you plan to leave it one piece, buy a bag like this Upright Christmas Tree Storage Bag ($29, Amazon), to keep it dust free.
More from Tom's Guide
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Helen started reviewing home and kitchen appliances in 2007 at the Good Housekeeping Institute and has never looked back. She’s now freelance and reviews all sorts of appliances from her home in a pretty village in the UK. Despite having reviewed hundreds of coffee machines in her time, she’s only recently developed a love for coffee and a daily coffee habit, which makes tasting all those coffees much more enjoyable!