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Answer Angel: Tree-free ideas for Christmas ornament

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Hey readers, my mailbox is overflowing with your suggestions for what to do with your cherished Christmas ornaments now that you're downsizing or just sick of the hassle of putting up (and taking down) that tree. Lots of readers lamented that their grown kids have no interest in using their parents' sentimental decorations in their own homes. My suggestion for reader Elizabeth A. was to loan or give them to a senior center, nursing home, hospice or other facility where they could be enjoyed. But you had loads of other ideas for space-saving display of your special ornaments. Here goes ...

"A way of enjoying ornaments in a limited space is to put them in a large, clear glass bowl. The resulting blend of color, texture, shapes and design make a great centerpiece."

- Karen L.

Similarly ...

"My answer to those nostalgic ornaments no one wants: Buy a large, I mean the largest, glass jar you can find and load your favorites into it. Voila, all your favorites in one place! Doesn't take much space and looks creative and fun. No dust either!"

- Kathleen K.


"Gift them to friends and acquaintances with sentiments attached such as 'I got this on a trip to Vermont and I know you love Vermont too,' or 'This was my mother's and I know how much she enjoyed visiting with you during the years,' etc. Also, separate out some of the less fragile ornaments and use them as decorations on Christmas gifts. If Elizabeth only gives checks to those grandchildren she could still attach an ornament to the envelope and explain why she chose it for that person. I know it's hard when others don't share the feelings that you do around various things, so just remember that once you have 'gifted' the ornaments you've done the most and best you can do and the rest is up to the recipients. Happy downsizing and merry Christmas."

- Kathleen B.

"Another suggestion for 'overflow' Christmas ornaments ... I decorated a wreath with all of the ornaments for which there was no room on our smaller tabletop Christmas trees. I decorated an artificial wreath with some of my favorites. After the holidays it is stored in a round plastic wreath box until the next year, when I just take it out and hang it on the wall in our dining room in place of a mirror that usually hangs in that spot. A friend made a similar wreath of antique ornaments that had belonged to her grandparents - for her parents who have moved into assisted living and no longer had room for a Christmas tree."

- Jill A.


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