It’s the most magical time of the year: when all those green, red and gold decorations come out, the flickering lights on the tree light up the room and Christmas crafts are in full swing.
My boys remind me a couple of times throughout the year about Christmas and that we need to get the tree up and ready for Santa’s arrival. It never gets old.
While I’m not worried about them pulling off any of the decorations, and toppling the tree over anymore – when you have a toddler in your home, it’s a whole different story.
Just this week, Cay got hold of one of our Christmas decorations and I’m not sure if she thought she scored an early Christmas present, but she decided to take it apart a little bit. Then two days later, when no one was looking, she grabbed the same decorations and completely destroyed them. The only way to have cleaned everything up was by using the vacuum cleaner because it was ALL over the living room.
On the bright side, she leaves the tree alone. Over the years, I taught the boys to leave the tree alone, and not try to pull any of the decorations off, and I’ve successfully achieved the same result with Cay. However, when you have a baby who has started crawling, and figured out that they can now reach for anything they set their mind to because they can move around without your assistance, it becomes a challenge keeping the Christmas tree safe from their grasp.
You don’t want to constantly sit and supervise the tree, errh, I mean, the baby and make sure that they don’t get up to any mischief while you’re not around (because mamas need the loo and stuff too).
You can baby-proof your tree! Yep, there are ways to make sure your baby leaves the tree alone without you having to dread every moment or so about why you even bothered taking it out and decorating only to find half of the decorations lying all over the house anyway.
Here’s how I baby-proofed our Christmas tree during the years all our kids were little ones, crawling around. They were able to destroy other parts of the house but NOT the tree.
So if you’re at the end of your wits with the Christmas tree being the baby’s target of destruction, here’s what you can do.
Out of sight, out of mind
I’ve found that putting the tree in a place that’s not right up in your face helps with hiding it and not stirring so much attention. We’ve placed ours under the stairs, behind the couch, and now it’s standing just outside our living room where everyone walks by it, but no one is tempted to touch it.
Build a barricade
If you have a baby gate – great to use to seal off the path to your Christmas tree. If you don’t have one, you can use objects in your home, such as loose standing furniture or even laundry baskets. It all depends on how much clutter you want to pack around Christmas tree. It might not look pretty for a few days, but the tree will be safe and you can take everything away again just before your guests arrive for the celebrations.
String the lights inside the tree
Flashy and bright lights are attention magnets and your baby will try to get hold of them. No only are they a possible danger if your baby tries to chew on them (and electrocute themselves), by pulling far enough on them, they could accidentally get the string around their neck and suffocate. While those are the worst scenarios, a good pull on the lights could topple the tree as well. Make sure you string the lights towards the middle of the tree so that the lights are still visible but your baby can’t reach them.
Tinsel is another danger
While tinsel really puts an amazing touch on the tree, it’s a choking hazard, especially if you have a baby that puts EVERYTHING in their mouth. Try and avoid using tinsel, or at least string it on the upper half of your tree where it’s out of the way.
(Note: yes, there was tinsel used for the feature image. No, it’s not contradicting as it was staged for the post)
Get a bell
Bells or any ornaments that make a noise are great detectors to let you know that someone is busy touching the tree. That way, if your baby has outsmarted your obstacles and reached the tree, you’ll immediately know.
Hang your ornaments high up
“Ornaments are shiny and colourful, and immediately need to be touched.” I’m just assuming that’s how babies think here.
Try hanging all your ornaments high up in the tree (middle and upwards) where they are well out of reach of those little busy hands. Sure, your tree will look a little wonky for one Christmas, but it will save you a whole festive season of headaches.
Use shatterproof ornaments
If you have any SENTIMENTAL ornaments, especially those, hang them up WAY high or consider skipping hanging them up in case the tree does come down and they break. Stick to using shatterproof ornaments as they don’t easily break and there won’t be that much tears shed if anything happens to them.
Most ornaments come with wire hangers and that’s a safety concern; either purchase ornaments with ribbons or strings, or replace those you already have with a little DIY.
Wait until later with the presents
While it just completes the tree’s look with the presents underneath it, try and wait until the last day before putting them there. If you manage to barricade the tree and the surrounding area, then you can place the presents there. But unless you want to find wrapping paper and broken pieces of the presents everywhere, I would suggest waiting it out a little.
Repetion, repetion, repetion
As much as you try and keep the baby safe from the tree, and vice versa, it’s important to teach your child to leave the tree alone. Each time they reach for it, reinforce the idea that it’s not allowed. Yes, be the ‘no’ parent for a little bit. Tell them they can get hurt if they pull on it.
While these tips work great for babies, they can help with toddlers as well, because… uhmm, toddlers? You can apply these tree-proofing tips for toddlers as well, although you might need to alter some of the tips, depending on your toddlers creativity.
How did/do you baby-proof your Christmas tree?