There it is, your decorated Christmas tree (or Chrismukkah tree, as the case may be), all shiny and decorated with things your toddler can't wait to put in her mouth. It's tall and beautiful and just waiting for your toddler to pull it down on top of himself. Merry Chr -- NO, SCHYLER, NO!
Sigh. My toddler almost ruined Christmas for me. He saw that tree, with all its bling, and couldn't wait to play with it all. And since he could walk, there was nothing stopping him from running over to it all day long. I seem to recall at some point more ornaments on my living room floor than on the tree. And we were constantly trying to keep him from climbing it like a prickly piece of playground equipment. What's a holiday decoration-loving parent to do? Depending on your level of control-freakishness, you have a few options.
The totally toddler-friendly tree: Start with a tree that's too short and squatty to knock over, something around 3 feet tall. Don't string with lights or anything else that you plug in. Find ornaments with no sharp corners or edges. What the hell, use your kid's bath toys. Loop string around everything (instead of using those deathy wire hangers) and let your child hang the ornaments for the 2-3 seconds that their attention span allows. Then hang the rest yourself. Shrug and have some eggnog when the bath toys/ornaments end up all over your living room.
The tree fortress: Decorate the tree exactly the way YOU want with the same lethal, heirloom, eye-poking-out, and electrocuting ornaments you always use. Now install a safety gate around the tree. Make sure the tree is in a corner so you can bolt the gate to the wall on either side. Hire some neighborhood teenagers to guard the tree in shifts because some toddlers are smarter than the average gate.
The compromise tree: Okay, so maybe some of your decorations aren't that dangerous. Perhaps you can use those knit stars from Aunt Ada or those mini-stockings. Let you toddler hang some of them (loops, not hooks!). And then have a conversation with your young destroyer about how mad Santa will be if he knocks the tree over. Not for climbing! Santa's watching! Good luck to you, elves.
What are you doing to toddler-proof your tree?
Image via Adriana Velez
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside