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A Genealogist In The Archives: December 2023

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Preserving Christmas Ornaments

Christmas 2023 is over! Many of us are going to start taking down our Christmas trees like we do every year. Are you paying attention to how you are storing your Christmas ornaments, especially the ones that are very old, family heirlooms or just special to you? It's easy to pack up your ornaments and store them in such a way they are preserved and archivally safe.

Unwrapping Christmas ornaments and placing them strategically on the tree so that we don't leave any holes. Many of these ornaments bring back so many memories. Handmade ornaments made by my daughter when she was growing up. Christmas ornaments that I inherited from my Grandmother after her passing, they remind me that she always had one of those silver metal trees. And ornaments that my husband and I purchased at monumental times in our married life like the one that says "Our First Christmas".

As a county archivist, I work every day to archive and preserve my county's historical records. Using the right archival materials like file folders, boxes, tissue paper, etc. to make sure these records, ephemera and artifacts are preserved for future researchers.

Preserving our families precious and one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments is something that I find most genealogists don't think about, not like they do their genealogical documents. The fact is, these handmade ornaments have meaning and tell a story just like our family documents do. Preserving these ornaments properly is something that any genealogist can do quite easily.

Archival Items You Will Need:

Archival Tissue Paper, to wrap handmade and unique ornaments with for protection
You can purchase archival tissue paper at Gaylord Archival at this link

Archival Divided Compartment Box, to store the wrapped ornaments
You can purchase an archival ornament storage box at Gaylord Archival at this link

Wrap up each ornament very carefully in the tissue paper and then lay them in the compartments in the archival box. If needed, crumple up additional tissue paper and put around the wrapped ornament so that it won't move around in the box.

Store these ornaments in a cool, dry and dark place. Do not store in an an attic, basement or in direct sunlight. It might be a good idea to put these family ornaments where genealogical records are stored since they are considered family artifacts.

So, as you are taking your Christmas down this year and you are seeing the handmade and unique family ornaments, think about preserving them like I have discussed instead of putting them back in the garage or attic where they could be deteriorating.



Scrapbooks! Want to know how to find them in archives? Or learn how to preserve the ones you own?

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