10 Ways to Toddler-Proof Your Christmas Tree

toddler with christmas lights
There are few things as magical as watching your toddlers' eyes light up during the holidays. Your Christmas tree is full of wonder -- dazzling lights calling their curious fingers, dangling Gingerbread Men ornaments that long to be pulled off and tasted, and shiny garland every fashionista-in-training wants to wear as a glam dress-up scarf. Considering calling off Christmas until your kids are at least 10? Don't -- there are lots of fun, effective ways to toddler-proof your Christmas tree so your child stays safe -- and your beautiful tree stays safe, too. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind this holiday season.

Toddler reaching for a Christmas tree

Images via iStock.com/AleksandarNakic and Vasilev Evgenii/shutterstock

  • Forget Metal Ornament Hooks

    1

    You know those metal and plastic "fish" hooks you use to hang up some of your ornaments -- the ones you usually find on the floor? It's time to put them away for at least a year or two because they are a major choking hazard. Replace your hooks with a simple string, ornate ribbon or skinny zip ties -- which you'll find for just a few dollars at the hardware store.

  • Keep Glass Ornaments At the Top Of Your Tree

    2

    Many of us have precious glass or breakable ornaments that we inherited or that remind us of special times in our lives. If you can't imagine decorating your tree without them, place yours at the very top -- totally out of your kids' reach. The adults who admire and appreciate them will get a better view of them up there, anyway.

  • Craft a Homemade Tree

    3

    Crafting a special tree with your toddler is a great option, whether you skip the real or artificial tree or just use it to distract them from the real one. There are so many ways to go! This one is made out of felt cutouts, dowels, and wood slices. Such a fun project to work on together and allows your little one the opportunity to safely decorate his tree with colorful felt decorations of his choosing -- which he can swap out every morning.

  • Play Pin the Ornament on the Wall Tree

    4

    If you're not crafty and the idea of making a felt tree sounds more like a punishment, here's a tree that anyone can create for their kids: a construction paper tree that you simply tape to a wall. Cut out a few ball-shaped paper "ornaments," a few star stickers and -- voila -- your toddler has his very own tree. Feeling a little more crafty? Make a felt Christmas tree with felt ornaments.

  • Find Creative Alternatives to Tinsel

    5

    Like metal hooks, tinsel is a dangerous choking hazard. Sure, it looks pretty, but there are lots of dazzling alternatives you can use. You can purchase brightly-colored ribbons, beautiful plastic and paper flowers or plastic icicles that will give your tree that same pizzazz.

  • Let Toddlers Help Decorate

    6

    No scientific study has been carried out to prove this, I'm afraid, but maybe -- just maybe -- your toddler will keep his hands off your tree if show him that it isn't a forbidden fruit. Give him a few soft ornaments and let him hang them up at the base of tree. Don't worry about achieving perfection or about him hanging them correctly -- you can always fix your tree after your tot goes to sleep.

  • Purchase a Fresh Tree Or Consider An Artificial One

    7

    If you've ever thought about investing in a fire-resistant artificial Christmas tree, there's no better time than when your children are small. You won't have to vacuum as much or worry about loose pine needles finding their way into your toddler's mouth. But if you're a stickler for real trees, make sure yours is fresh and healthy because a dry tree looses its needles more readily and poses a greater fire hazard.

  • Put Your Baby Gate To Good Use

    8

    Just when you thought you had seen the last of your baby security gate, here's a great reason to get yours out of the attic: it's the perfect barrier to keep your young child from going to town on your Christmas tree. Sure, it looks unsightly, but you can always remove it when guests come over. The important thing is that it keeps your child safe and gives you peace of mind.

  • Cover Your Tree With Alarms -- Er, Bells

    9

    Christmas bells look gorgeous on a tree, and they also serve as mini alarms that can alert you to the fact that your toddler is exploring your tree and is seconds away from pulling off every ornament.

     

  • Get Your Toddler A Mini Tree

    10

    Get your mini-me her very own mini tree and eliminate all -- okay, most -- fights involving her little hands all over your big tree. Be the coolest mom ever and find a pink or blue tree that your child can decorate and leave up well after you take yours down. You can even make a day of it and go out to a discount store to purchase a few safe, soft ornaments that she can claim as her own.

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