Guilt-Free Guide for Where to Donate Christmas Decorations
Free up valuable storage space and simplify your holiday decorating by downsizing your Christmas decor, especially those items that you never put up. Here are some creative ways to spread holiday cheer by sharing your less-loved ornaments and decorations with others who would cherish them.
Most of us continue to accumulate holiday decorations over the years without taking the time to declutter what we’ve collected. As a result, the less favored decorating items end up at the bottom of the holiday tote year after year.
When you take a peek inside your holiday storage you might just discover:
Decorations received as gifts that are way off the mark from your style
Antique trinkets from the family vault that don't exactly match your vibe
Decorations that have been stuck at the bottom year after year waiting for DIY repair
A mountain of handmade ornaments from little ones, but only a dozen or so make the cut each year
If you want to skip straight to where to donate then jump to this section for a list of, if your items are still in good condition, donation ideas.
Need some help working through the guilt of letting go? We've got you!
How to let go of unused Christmas decorations
Decorations given as gifts
We've all been there: you throw a holiday bash and end up with a heap of decorative stuff. Or maybe you're the lucky recipient of the annual ugly sweater gift. Don't get us wrong, it's the thought that counts, but sometimes the joy of gift-giving doesn't exactly translate to the receiving end.
Don't worry, you can still appreciate the giver and their kind gesture without having to keep the item. When I state this to my clients, the most common response I hear is, "They will notice I don't have it displayed."
My response to you, friend, is:
a) a natural at giving gifts that hands out so many that they can't recall who they gave what to.
b) most people are too preoccupied with their own life to keep track of what they gave you last year.
c) you already have so many ornaments that they wouldn't be able to find theirs even if you did keep it.
Maybe it was an item given to you by your grandmother before she passed. Maybe it was all of your mother-in-law's Christmas decorations. All. Of. Them.
Sometimes, we receive items that held sentimental value to the giver, not the receiver. Just because someone gave it to us doesn't mean we're obligated to keep it forever. Whether it's a family heirloom or your mother-in-law's Christmas decorations, it's important to remember that you are not the keeper of Christmases past. Wanting to sell some items? If you have a consignment shop in your area they would love these classics!
Reminder: Parting with possessions left behind by someone we loved does not diminish the significance they had in our lives. On the contrary, it may help us release any resentment we may unknowingly harbor by having to hold onto them.
We all have that one item that lost an arm or an ear or just flat out looks like it's seen better days. Now it's either gathering dust at the bottom of our totes or hidden amongst other “to be repaired” items.
Let's face it, it's been years, and it's time to take action.
So, let's get to it and give that poor thing a much-needed makeover or send it off with fond memories.
Handmade ornaments and decor
As a mom of older three boys, I've been there, done that with the avalanche of precious, handmade keepsakes from their early years. It's not always easy to toss them in the trash without feeling like a "bad mom."
But let me tell you a secret: Being a good mom isn't about hoarding every single crafty creation your kids bring home. Let's face it, some of those 1-year-old scribbles might resemble Santa after a wild night out and it's totally fine to say goodbye to them!
However, if you're still struggling to let go, here's a little tip I share with my clients who are in the same boat.
Create a mini-album!
Snap a pic of them holding each masterpiece and jotting down what they say about it. Store these treasures in a special album on your phone, then use a cool online service like Snapfish to turn them into a book. If your kiddos have already flown the coop, no worries! Snap a quick pic of each piece of art and upload it, adding in any sweet stories or memories you have. But, let's be real, you might not even remember who made what or what it even is. If that's the case, give it a Marie Kondo-style farewell and chuck it!
I get it, this one's a doozy for most parents. But, hey, I'm here to cheer you on! Remember, these are only recommendations if you're open to letting go.
Quick heads up: It's totally okay to offer your adult kids their old childhood creations, but brace yourself for a "no". Most times, they do not want the reindeer they made using their footprint from age 4.
Where to donate Christmas decorations
Let's make things simple and sweet! Here is a list of the easiest ways to spread some serious holiday magic by giving things away for free. All you need is a photo and the word "free" to get the ball rolling.
List it online
“Buy Nothing” Groups on Facebook: There are Facebook groups you can join, just do a Facebook search in your local area, where you can post free items.
Next Door App: Post a picture of FREE decorations and become the most beloved neighbor on the block.
Facebook Marketplace “Free Curbside Alert”: This is probably the quickest way to have it leave your house.
Senior activity centers
After school programs
School art clubs
Consider places that have little to no budget for the items you are donating. If you are downsizing the amount of trees you decorate this would be a great place to call to see if they need a tree and include some ornaments.
Habitat for Humanity
Easy Donation Pickup A nonprofit that provides programs for military veterans and their families. Click HERE to view their service areas and schedule a pick up. This is a super easy and meaningful way to donate in the Orange County and Los Angeles areas.
If you are looking to donate Christmas decorations the best time of the year to do this is mid November through the first of December.
DO NOT donate damaged items. Please recycle, if possible for that item, otherwise these need to go into the trash.
Our team is dedicated to finding the best possible home for your donated items. We do this with patience, grace, and empathy, ensuring that every item is delivered to the right place. This is just one of the many ways our team goes above and beyond to help you. You can find our FREE PDFs that list more resources like this HERE.