Last year, we opted out of having a Christmas tree. Sylvie was crawling everywhere and able to pull herself to standing, we were in the middle of the remodel and living in the basement, and honestly, I just couldn’t deal with it. The day before Christmas we made our own from a tree branch and some wood. That “tree” made the Charlie Brown tree look like it belonged at the White House.
I knew this year I’d be up for the adventure.
Getting a Tree:
We went to the Christmas Tree farm for our tree. It was so exciting for Sylvie, and she wanted every tree, of course.
(I’m going to be honest with you right now and say that if it makes no difference to you, you might want to consider a fake tree when you have a toddler (gasp). It’s easier and you won’t have needles everywhere each time the tree gets roughed up by your little one. This wasn’t an option for our family since I have to convince my German husband not to put real candles on the tree each year.)
Decorating the tree:
Sylvie and I already helped decorate my mom’s tree in Kansas, so I had one tree under my belt. Here are my thoughts on decorating Christmas trees with a toddler:
1. Let go of the ideal. If you are a person who is really aesthetically minded about your tree and need it to look perfect, I am not going to be much help here. The idea that I can stop my curious girl from touching a giant tree WITH LIGHTS ON IT that we have sitting in our living room is beyond my comprehension. I mean it sparkles, people. It sparkles. I went with the minimize any damage approach. If you aren’t feeling that, maybe you could get a gate around your tree or maybe this. (Has anyone ever seen or had one of these trees hung from the ceiling?!)
2. Sort your ornaments. Take some time to place breakable ornaments on a table away from the toddler and find all the ornaments that are going to survive them. Let them hang “their” ornaments on the bottom of the tree. They are going to need one parent to help, and yes, they will likely hang them all in the same area….lol. You can either have one parent hanging the breakable ornaments, hang them later, or, as in our case, the older girls hung them. (I opted out of using hooks and just used twine or the string already attached).
4. Have fun. Play music. Eat treats.
5. Prepare yourself that your toddler is going to be fascinated with the tree. Encourage them to leave the ornaments on the tree. I use the words “admire with your eyes” often even before we got a tree, so I’ve been using that. We still have a lot of ornaments being removed and stuffed animals going into the tree. The good thing is that they are safe ornaments, and she’s not going to break an ornament in which one of us may be emotionally attached.