This holiday season, save the hamster ball for your hamster. You can decorate for the Christmas and allow your little one to range freely around the tree. Here are some of my own tips, and some that mama friends have shared. Pick-and-choose a few, and have a great time celebrating with your little ones!
- Hang your tree, upside-down, from the ceiling. I’ve seen others do it, and it was actually quite beautiful. If you have high ceilings and someone with knowledge of support and anchoring, this may be something to consider. Nobody can knock over your tree, and your more delicate ornaments will be out-of-reach. Problem solved!
- Use an artificial tree. I have a favorite artificial that I’ve been using for over a decade. It’s a great investment, and lasts forever with care. No need to worry about little ones hurting themselves on pine needles, getting into the water basin, or the threat of fire in a dried-out tree.
- Decorate only the top half of the tree with delicates, and the bottom portion with kid-safe stuff. This works especially well if your kids help you find or make some ornaments that can be placed at the bottom. They may respect these a little more, and it doesn’t matter if they’re damaged. (One mom suggests drawing hands on cardboard, cutting them out, and stringing with ribbon. Another suggested finger puppets on lower branches). We all suggest “no hooks!” I’ve always stuck to this rule with pets, so it won’t be difficult to continue with a toddler.
- Anchor or tie the tree. Before I had a kid, I had cats. Those of you who know what I’m talking about are probably laughing right now. Yes, I have actually had to screw the base of my artificial tree to the floor, and tie the top to a curtain rod. We may have to do this again, as my toddler often resembles a tornado just before bedtime.
- Teach gentle, one-finger touch. Some of my very brave mama friends go about decorating as usual, and very consistently monitor their wee ones while teaching one-finger touch. This teaches kids to be respectful of community property. I would reiterate that these mamas closely monitor their children, for safety and for reinforcement of the one-finger rule.
- Use anti-shatter tree bulbs to avoid broken glass injuries (or worse: ingestion)!
- Give the kids their own tree. We’re doing this at our house this year. We bought my little one her own miniature tree, and we will help her decorate it with items she makes or chooses from around the house. When she takes an interest in our tree, we will reinforce one-finger touching, and redirect her to her own tree.
- Gifts? Forget it! Don’t put them under the tree until it’s time to open them. Unless, of course, you enjoy doing extra surveillance, or re-wrapping the mailman’s half-eaten cookies over and over.
Do you have any tips for us newbie mamas this holiday season? Please share your tricks with us in the comments below.