There seems to be nothing as exciting as when we haul out the Christmas decorations and start to make the house look festive in December. We have a unique storage system for our decorations. We’ve taken ordinary sturdy cardboard boxes with lids and have covered them in bright fabrics. Each box has its own ribbon that fits around the box both ways, with enough length to tie a bow.
It’s taken a bit of time to collect and cover the storage boxes over the years, but we’ve had fun finding remnants of fabric and other things to use either as the wrap or as the bow. For instance, one of our ribbons is made from the red netting that onions come in. It was my oldest daughter’s idea as she thought it would look great. She was right! We just cut it in strips and joined the strips together to make a long ribbon that we can tie around the present.
We’ve collected and covered smaller boxes that will fit inside the larger boxes that hold all of our tree ornaments, and different size storage boxes that house our wreathes, garland, etc. We have a few extra boxes that we’ve made just because they came along and were the right kind. (They have to have a detachable lid that just slips over the box.) We keep all of the ribbons neatly folded in a separate box when the boxes are being used as storage so they don’t get damaged.
We’ve used a glue gun to make sure that the fabric is firmly attached at the seams and to the box itself. Most fabrics need a small folded hem to keep the edges from fraying, so when you are cutting the fabric to fit, allow an extra 1/2 inch on each edge or corner. For instance, the most economical use of material is to start with a piece of material that is 1/2“ larger all around the bottom of your box and then glue the 1/2” edges up the sides.
Next, measure how much material it will take for the two longest opposite sides of the box and cut two pieces adding another 1/2 inch to each side of the material. Neatly iron a 1/2 inch hem all along the bottom of each piece. Glue the hemmed edge of the fabric to the side of the box with the hem alined with the bottom of your box. Then glue the side edges over the corners and finally, fold the fabric over the top edge of the box and glue on the inside. Repeat for the opposite side.
For your two remaining short sides, again cut two pieces of fabric with an extra 1/2” on each side. Iron the hem on the bottom and sides. Then glue this piece over the short sides, folding unhemmed edge over the top of the box and glue on the inside.
To do the lid, measure your fabric large enough to go up the sides of the lid and over the edges. Glue the two long opposite sides in place first, then tuck in the edges and fold over the shorter sides and glue. You can completely finish the box inside and out if you have enough fabric.
During the year, these boxes safely hold all of our decorations, but then they also become part of our decorations at Christmas. We simply add the ribbon to each box and tie a nice bow, and the boxes go under the christmas tree. Family members are allowed to use the boxes to house a gift for someone else just by attaching a name tag to the ribbon of whichever box they are using. It makes wrapping a gift pretty easy for whoever gets to those pre-wrapped boxes first! It also eliminates that much wrapping paper from the process. It’s understood that after the present is opened, the empty box is returned to under the tree until the decorations come down for the year. The great thing about it is that the tree always looks like it has lots of presents under the tree even after Christmas is over!