Holiday decor that doesn’t take up too much space

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IRIS 3-Piece Holiday Ribbon and Bow Storage Set
Even the SMALL 3-Piece Holiday Storage Set is too much.
The holidays are fast approaching. Both my husband and I come from families who love the holidays, so we both are super excited to have our own place to holiday-ify and celebrate together.

However, the problem is we have NO room to store any decorations post-holidays. My main concern is Christmas, but really any holiday is important for us.

How do the Homies who live in small spaces decorate their homes without generating the tubs of decor to store away later? -Kelsey

That photo up there, that’s the SMALL storage boxes for holiday decor. That would take up a great deal of space in my residence. So here are a few of my favorite holiday storage tips…

under the bed storage

Invest in some low-profile, under-the-bed storage containers. These are great for wreaths, ornaments, and twinkly lights. You could even slide these under your couch, or stand them on their sides and store them in the back of your closet.

hanging wrap organizer

Get one of these soft storage bags for wrapping paper, and tuck it away in one of the corners of my closet. If I had a coat closet though, I’d TOTALLY purchase that hanging wrapping station — that thing’s rad.

By now you’re noticing that under large furniture and in the dark unused spaces of my closet are my secrets to having holiday decor in a small space.

What say YOU, small space-having, holiday-decorating Homies? What are your secrets to having holiday decor without taking up too much space?

Comments on Holiday decor that doesn’t take up too much space

  1. For me a lot of the joy of having decorations is the process of decorating, and you can do fair amount that is disposable, e.g.
    – paper snowflakes to put on windows
    – cook and hang Christmas cookies (although I guess they won’t keep fresh long!)
    – shops sometimes sell chocolate Christmas tree decorations
    – popcorn strands instead of tinsel (I’ve never actually done this, but it seems to happen a lot in books).

    Then there’s the stuff that just stores well because it becomes flat, e.g. this kind of thing

    My parents have a set of ceiling streamers and hanging decorations in that fill pretty much the whole of their living room ceiling but fold down so they could be stored in a plastic wallet (like this

    Storing plastic trees takes a lot of space, but you could decorate an existing plant, get a real tree and recycle it later or I’ve seen flat wooden Christmas trees that are quite small but you can at least prop up in a corner and hang decorations on.

    Charity shops often have cheap Christmas decorations, so you could consider buying decorations at the start of the holiday period and donating them back at the end of it.

    Candles make a place feel very holiday-like for me, and once they are burnt there is no need to store them (although sadly we’re renting at the moment and can’t have candles).

    That’s all I can think of for now…

    • I like your idea of buying deco at the beginning of the season and donating at the end! I may do that for my office, as there is no room and at home the deco is mainly family heirlooms.

  2. Stick with fresh!
    Centerpieces of pomegranates,oranges and nuts…things that can be consumed instead of stored. Use vases and glassware you already have and fill with candies in the colours you chose(red and green jelly beans,silver wrapped kisses,candy canes).

    Buy poinsettias in your colours of choice(white,red,pink) and a fresh wreath…both can be composted or donated to a hospital or nursing home closer to Christmas.

    Tree(if you have room for one) buy fresh so it’s compostable and then buy ONE box of colour coordinating ornaments. Your topper can be anything you have around the house(my mil uses white doves from her wedding cake. My kids pick something new every year)

    Wrapping…no way I would store Christmas wrapping paper and I have more than enough room to do so. Buy plain brown package paper and some really nice ribbon. Wrap up and use the front of Christmas cards you got sent for tags(then recycle the inside) or print some funky ones online then you can print off how many you need instead of having to buy a pack of 1000. You can stick one of your decor candy canes into the ribbon or some fresh sprigs of greens from your wreath/cut from your tree.

    My last idea is candles!!! Everything looks festive with candles. Stick with white and you’ll be able to use them for any occasion year around

    And whatever you don’t have room to store DONATE…send it to a second hand store so they can resell it next Christmas.

    • I wouldn’t call my space small, but I love getting a new cinnamon broom every fall and a fresh cut door wreath in December. It makes my space smell fantastic.

      • Oh, I LOVE these! A mini-one was enough to scent our tiny house for several months.

        I also have one of those wax-melters on permanent display. It doubles as a small lamp, and you can switch out the scents to something that makes you think of the holidays.

        And don’t forget to decorate with sound, too- music and bells on the door (or you pets. or your significant other.)

      • There are also like, nine hundred other ways to decorate brown craft paper without extra supplies taking up space!

        When making salad one night, save the end of your head of romaine, dip in some paint, and “stamp” your paper. You can also do that with celery, etc and it looks like stylized flowers. Maybe not Christmas-y, but works for the spring-y holidays!

        You can also just straight up doodle, or even use the comic strips from your Sunday paper if plain brown paper is too boring for your tastes.

        … and also this galaxy print paper, because it is dope as hell and I NEED the Homies to see this:

  3. I think the options for small space decorating are really cool these days. You can get half Christmas trees that sit flush against a wall, or corner christmas trees you can stick flush in a corner. They look full, but when you take them apart they are only half or 25% of a normal tree. I think a fun table top tree can be just as festive as a large one, too. My mom has a retro aluminum tree from her childhood that is only about 3 feet tall. She puts it up on a coffee table and it’s way festive. Best of all, it stores away in a box about the size of two shoe boxes. I have seen cool ideas for DIY flat tree made of fabric or something like that you can just hang on the wall on Pinterest. Of course, you could also go for Christmas decor you don’t have to store, and buy real trees, garland, wreaths, and the like. According to Ask Umbra over at, that’s actually the more environmentally friendly choice, since artificial trees are often made out of nasty chemicals and most people replace them every few years (I can’t even imagine that, we kept the same one growing up for 22 years, and only eventually got rid of it because we no longer had room for it! And my mom is now using a Christmas tree she’s literally used for 50 years!), and the Christmas tree industry actually plants tons of trees, which helps to fight global warming!

    • We’re getting rid of our old artificial tree this year, so I understand why people do it. Not all artificial trees are created equal: we’re getting rid of ours because it’s falling apart. Two branches no longer stick cleanly into the base, we have to kind of hold them up with lights! It’s shed so many fake needles that it looks a bit threadbare and sad.

      So, new fake tree for us (we’d get a real tree, but you can’t in the country where we live: Taiwan. Not only do they not celebrate Christmas, it’s subtropical!)

    • I love the idea of your mum’s three foot tall tree! I used to have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that I would do something similar with, but it folded up so small I literally lost it in one of my moves…

  4. When I first moved into my apartment, my aunt’s present to me was a three-foot artificial tree, a small box of ornaments and a wreath for the front door. A table-top tree doesn’t need much space, and you don’t need many ornaments to cover it. I have one very high cupboard that’s really inconvenient to get into, so I keep it all there.

    Otherwise, I use consumable stuff, like candles and fruit. My apartment isn’t huge, so a small tree and a few candles gives us plenty of Christmas cheer!

  5. My theme for holiday decorating that doesn’t take up too much space is for everything to be FLAT- it’s easier to store and easier to display.

    Garland- String flat ornaments with ribbon
    Window decorations- PEACE, JOY, LOVE, etc. wooden cutouts that are only an inch of so thick fit on narrow windowsills
    Tree- got a miniature live one that we then planted in the back yard. Because it’s small it doesn’t require numerous ornaments.
    Random decor- must be things my cat won’t eat- pinecones in vases, flat wooden cutouts of reindeer, santa, snowmen, etc.

    • I love the idea of using wooden cutouts! Craft stores have so many of them and they’re usually not too expensive.

      At our house we pick up a pack of multi-color scrapbooking paper and cut out different size snowflakes to hang from strings around the house and in the windows. They seem confusing to make at first, but after a while they’re nearly effortless to make (just don’t cut too much off of the folded edges or they fall apart!) The ones we hang in the window get a little sad looking towards the end of the season. However, we do typically end up saving the rest from year to year. We don’t store them in anything fancy – they’re just corralled in a grocery bag and laying on a shelf.

      We also hang garland and drape/wrap it around just about everything – bookcases, doors, curtain rods, etc. I like using plain old silver because it reflects the light given off by our candles and tree lights. When we store it we ball it up, smoosh it into a ziploc bag and then squeeze as much air out of said bag until it’s nearly flat. When you open it the next year, it looks just as good.

      Also, we hang these flat plastic snowflakes we bought at either Target or Walmart from our curtain rods and hanging lamp fixtures. They come in multipacks for either $1 or $2 and take up very little space.

    • Ooh, if you had the letters individually, you could have some fun with anagrams and just move them around to read different things at different times of the year!

      (we have a cut out at work that’s meant to read “Cook”, but due to the design looks rather like it’s got an extra C instead of the second O….)

  6. I decorate our Christmas tree with origami that stores flat (cranes are great. We also made several koalas that hug the stem) these and a couple strings of lights fit in a shoebox, and that is all the space we have for them. We do need a small Christmas tree stand, as we’ve moved a couple times since we really did Christmas. Not sure where I’ll store that – maybe under the house. I live in 140 square feet with one other person.

  7. Decorate with books! We have some beautiful Christmas books that we use as holiday decor. They remain with our regular collection until December, and then I put them out on our mantlepiece and windowsills.

    A small tabletop tree is also great: ours is three feet tall and sits on the buffet. It doesn’t take up much space to store, and doesn’t take up much space when it’s out.

    Window or wall decals can also have a big impact without taking up a lot of space.

    Final tip: don’t feel you have to decorate every surface. I have donated gifts of Christmas plates and napkins or additional bulky knick-knacks. We have a tree, Advent calendar, nativity scene, and a door wreath, in addition to our books. It’s simple, clean, and we can reduce extra clutter and storage problems that way.

  8. Change the colour of the light bulbs in any accent lighting you have. If you do seasonal decor, have one box to store the out of season items and rotate through them, so if Christmas stuff is on display, summer stuff is packed away

  9. Flat and squishy! I used to drape an entire two-bedroom apartment in garland and ornaments, and be able to squish all the ornaments into a box that had originally held six bottles of wine. Garland compresses well, and flat, non-breakable ornaments stack and can be jammed in wherever you’ve got space. I avoided breakable glass balls wherever possible, and stuck with flat plastic, or fabric, or paper. Then you can squish the maximum number of ornaments into the smallest storage space.

    Plus, I only buy Christmas decorations at dollar stores, and if I have to donate or throw out a $1 garland in January, I won`t be traumatized 🙂

  10. Don’t forget that some colors work for multiple holidays–red works for Christmas, Valentine’s day, even Fourth of July if you do it right. And you can do holiday trees so you only have to switch out the ornaments.

  11. Everything I decorate with collapses or stacks inside itself like a festive matryoshka. What doesn’t collapse is usually multipurpose; I have plain pumpkins that stay up from late September through the end of November, a plain wreath I decorate with seasonal items, colorful vintage books, baskets and scarves that do most of the decorating duty in my office.

    For me, having seasonal decor is a priority. I accept that though I may occasionally stub my toe on the tote in my closet, it’s worth shimmying around because I love decorating for the holidays so much. I’ve actually gotten rid of some of my stuff to make room for decorations, and I don’t regret it at all. If you do a little inventory, you may find that you’re hanging onto some stuff that’s a lower priority to you than holiday festiveness.
    And don’t be afraid to store stuff in really weird, obscure places. My mom used to keep a plastic bag of Easter decorations hanging in her closet (from one of these, weirdly enough), a bunch of Christmas decorations in a cabinet in the kitchen and a few seasonal things in a drawer in her dresser. I keep my Christmas tree, lights, decorations and wreath packed away in my office.

  12. If they make them anymore – I cannot recommend a fiber optic tree enough! My fiance inherited a 3-foot tall one from a friend, and it takes care of both tree and decorations/lights for us. I’ve supplemented this with a paper chain garland for two walls (fits in a shoe box) and a picnic basket holds bows, tags, a tiny Christmas palm tree with lights, and a light string for a window. I buy and use up any holiday candles by Christmas, and I buy one roll of paper at a time so I don’t have a half dozen rolls of paper hanging about like my mom does.

    What’s hilarious? I own ten times more Halloween decorations. LOL

  13. We have a lot of space, but this week we had to remove all of the contents of our basement for a remodel after a flood. We currently live in a condo just shy of 1500 sq ft. While we have plenty of room, we are anticipating a move and downsizing this spring. Instead of paying for a storage unit, or finding different nooks and crannies to store things in, we are purging and trying to prepare for a more minimal lifestyle. I work as a pastry chef and do dessert buffets and catering from time to time, so I have accumulated a massive amount of holiday decorations, festive platters, and center pieces for all sorts of occasions on top of our own personal holiday decor. We love to entertain, and I have habit of going over-the-top-Martha-Stewart on parties, but I’m saying good bye to most of my occasion specific decorations. I’m ditching the Frankenstein platters and fake tombstones. I’m nixing the collection of holiday mugs, decorative Easter eggs, dinner plates adorned with holly, piles of christmas lights, and heaps of special occasion linens. What I’m keeping : all white platters, dishes, and vases, my tree stand, heirloom ornaments, and two neutral table cloths. I can use them for any holiday, fill the vases and platters with seasonal fruits, vegetables, or dried and fresh flowers. Candles can be festive, romantic, or even spooky, so no need for strands of tangled lights. Whatever platters or vases I have will either be in use or on display year round so I don’t have to worry about storing them. After the flood some of my christmas ornaments were ruined, instead of replacing them, I’m making do with what I have. I have some small flat Rubbermaid containers to store heirloom ornaments and a few less sentimental ones. If I decide to purchase more ornaments in another color scheme, then I’m not allowing myself to use more storage than I have already allotted and will pass on the old ones to someone else. Next year, I hope we can decorate with a fresh potted tree so I can pass on my tree stand, downsize the amount of ornaments I need, and make a tradition of planting a new tree after the holidays with my family. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it means living without clutter and a basement or storage unit full of items I use only once a year!

  14. A couple of years ago, Mr. Sullie and I made a Christmas tree by cutting a triangle out of cardboard and wrapping it in festive paper. We spent an evening making “ornaments” out of sheets of foam stickers. Then we wrapped a single string of multi colored lights around the whole thing and stuck it to the wall with duct tape. We’re hoping to bring it out this year, now that we’re in even smaller accommodations.

  15. We usually get a small live tree and the tree seller will give away trimmed fronds for making wreaths and garlands. I also have a 4′ tropical tree. Some years I just decorate it. I like to use my collection of cookie cutters on the tree after the cookies have been made. You could use nearly any kind of collection you have though, tied on with yarn, ribbon, or florist wire. I also like to hang candy canes on the tree. Fresh centerpieces are great but can be expensive. I like to get bunches of red and white carnations at the grocery and use with red and white candles. I also use the cards we receive propped on the mantel or book shelves. My favorite things though are gifts from my sister-in-law who is a quilter. She made a table runner, place mats and a wall hanging that are reversible. They have wintry scenes one one side and summery scenes on the other. I use them year round, no need for storage.

  16. I don’t have space for a tree so I use green ribbon and tack up a 2-D silhouette of a tree. It’s fun, creative, and since it’s on the window, in theory people walking past can see it and feel happy too! … And that’s it for decorations for this small space inhabitant!!!

  17. My tip would be to add festive cheer to your regular decor. Put a bit of ribbon on a house plant, wrap lights around a bookcase or TV stand. When I lived in the dorms during college, one of my favorite things was to put tiny garland and some baubles on my 18″ Treebeard action figure.

  18. Don’t underestimate the power of a festive table cloth. They don’t take up much space when stored, but they do occupy a large space when used. Seasonal throw pillow covers would probably also not take too much space to store. Garland squishes down super small for storage, but is a big impact decorative item. You could string it up across a ceiling if your ceilings are high enough, and use paper clips to attach any Christmas cards you get to it. I’ve also seen people take green colored garland to make a tree shape on a wall, and then clip the Christmas cards to it as “ornaments.” As for wrapping, this may sound silly, but I love to wrap Christmas presents in aluminum foil. It’s shiny, doesn’t rip as easily, molds to fit odd shapes, and you can easily jazz it up with some sharpies.

  19. Go minimalist!
    Something like this:

    or this:

    or these:

    I find those super charming, for some reason (though of course they’ll look best if your place is kind of sparse- they’d get lost in our clutternest.) Also look for stuff that can do double duty and be used/left out the rest of the year. A red blanket can be a treeskirt. Twinkle lights can hang in your bedroom. Silver/gold/neutral-y giftwrap can be used up during the year instead of having to be stored until next Christmas. Etc. Bulbs and bulky ornaments are the toughest thing to store, so if you find alternatives for hanging on the tree- paper stuff, ribbon, candy canes, whatever- it’ll save you that space.

  20. Just a thought on storing cloth things: if you choose to decorate via table cloth and throw pillow, what about storing the neatly folded table cloth and slip covers inside existing throw pillows? That is to say, if you already have throw pillows that are zippered, slip the festive covers inside to store them. Theoretically, they should fit perfectly. Or, heck, many couch cushions have zippers so that the covers can be removed for washing. Store neatly folded holiday cloth goods in the underside. Granted this will not work if you have a ton of stuff to stash away, but a tablecloth, some cloth napkins or seasonal hand towels, and a couple of small slip covers should be reasonably easy to disappear.

  21. I used a garland to hang ornaments on instead of a tree. For me it was more about cat-proofing, but it has the bonus of taking up less space, both when in use and when in storage. There’s an article about it somewhere in the OBH archives.

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