When you have a little one in the house, you can’t bring out your favorite pieces to decorate for Christmas as they might get played with, broken, chewed on, or lost. Read on to discover some useful decorating tips to keep in mind this Christmas.
1. Look for an “alternative” tree
Toddlers and babies who are mobile are naturally curious, and a Christmas tree will inevitably attract their attention. As a result, it can be difficult to keep them from grabbing or trying to chew at the parts of the tree that they can reach. One solution to this problem is to choose a smaller tree that you can place up and out of their reach on a high table to keep it safe. It may not be as magnificent, but it could help keep things safe.
Another solution is to get a fake tree. While a real tree is fun to decorate, they tend to shed quite a bit, and your little one can easily pick up and swallow the shed needles. While you can encourage needles to stay on the branches by slicing off the bottom of the tree and keeping the rest of the tree well-watered, there’s also the risk of your little one playing with the water where the tree is sitting. Furthermore, real fir trees are prone to catching fire.
If you choose to go for a fake tree, pay attention to what your tree is made of. Some artificial trees have lead and other chemicals in them, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing to ensure that you buy a non-toxic tree.
2. Invest in shatterproof ornaments
Beautifully coordinated Christmas trees with dainty glass baubles placed at symmetrical distances across the tree look breathtaking, right? Unfortunately, you can’t have those with a baby or toddler in your midst - no matter how high you hang them, your little one will find a way to pull them off and smash them. For their safety, consider hanging shatterproof ornaments that won’t break even if thrown to the ground.
3. Put your Christmas tree somewhere else
Most people display their Christmas tree in their living room. However, if the living room is accessible to your little one, you might want to re-think the tree’s placement. Consider putting your tree in a less obvious room like the kitchen or the dining room, where your toddler has less opportunity to grab at it. That way, you won’t have to worry about spending most of your day removing your little one from the tree.
4. Use a barrier to prevent your little one from getting at the tree
Many parents opt to use a playpen, baby gates, or other safety barriers to prevent toddlers from getting at the Christmas tree. With less mobile babies, a playpen equipped with a play mat and a couple of their favorite toys can be an effective way to keep their curiosity at bay. With fast-moving toddlers, baby stairs and safety gates are your best options.
5. Review your lights
It’s no coincidence that the incidents of house fires tend to increase over the festive period due to things like candles and faulty lights. Make a point of turning your Christmas tree lights off when you go to sleep. It’s also crucial to check that all the fire alarms in your home are in good working order going into the festive season. If you have old Christmas lights, consider buying new ones which will meet the current required safety standards.
6. Ensure your tree is sturdy and secure
Whether you go for an artificial or real tree, eliminate the risk of it being accidentally knocked over by ensuring that it has a sturdy and wide base. You can even go a step further by anchoring the tree to your ceiling or wall to secure it. To do this, loop a string or fishing line around your Christmas tree and then use a hook to secure it.
9. Consider setting up a toddler tree
Toddlers enjoy unpacking things and moving them around, so decorating a Christmas tree and discovering little trinkets is something that they will enjoy. One option is to make your little one a felt tree with felt ornaments that they can decorate over and over again. Another option is to let them have a mini version of your Christmas tree that they can decorate with ornaments they make or things that they like.
10. Choose your tree trimmings wisely
With a baby or toddler in the house, you’ll want to steer clear of toxic trimmings such as beaded garlands, tinsel garlands, and artificial wreaths. These sparkly decorations appeal to a curious child - before you know it, they’ll have it in their mouths and inadvertently ingest toxic chemicals. Tinsel is also a choking hazard, so you’ll want to avoid using it on your Christmas tree if you have little ones.
11. Use ribbons to hang your ornaments
Many ornaments come with metal hooks to make attaching them easier. These metal hooks are far from child-friendly, and they can lead to injuries when grabbed by little hands. To prevent this, use ribbon to hang your ornaments. That way, your little ones can get the ornaments and toss them around without you having to worry that they are going to cut themselves on a hook or swallow something sharp.
12. Consider decorating with soft items
A fun way to decorate for Christmas without making your little one feel left out is by decorating the house with stuffed animals and plastic toys. That way, they can grab these decorations if they feel like it and even play with them.
13. String Christmas lights strategically
One way to prevent your toddler from trying to tug the Christmas lights off your tree is to string the lights on the inside of the tree, as opposed to having them sit on the outside. It will make your tree have an ethereal glow when plugged in, and the lights won’t get pulled off.
14. Relocate stockings
Stockings are a staple in most houses during Christmas, but you may be wary about hanging them at their usual spot in case they get pulled down by your curious child. Get creative by using 3M hooks to hang each family member’s stocking on their bedroom door!
Follow the tips above for a baby- and toddler-friendly Christmas, and your decorations might actually last until (or even after) Christmas. Furthermore, your little one will enjoy themselves, and you’ll also have much less to stress over.