Did you guys get you Christmas tree yet? Have you put up all of your holiday decorations? It can be so hard to do with a toddler or baby around. Getting the decorations up can be stressful enough but then you also have to think about safety which just adds to the load of stress! I have some things to share with you and while I will fully admit I didn't necessarily follow all of these things, I learned them and kind of wish I would have along the way!
First, the TREE! This year we decided to get our tree from Home Depot. While it doesn't sound all that glamorous like going to a tree farm and cutting your own does, it's actually quite fun! It's been our tradition for the past few years and believe it or not Home Depot has some really great trees out! Home Depot is actually much cheaper than a tree farm (if you're on a budget like me). Speaking to the sales person at Home Depot, the tree cost about half the price than the local tree farm did. Also, it's already cut down and the sales person trims it for you! What could be easier than that when you tree shopping with a toddler?! I involved Johanna in the tree shopping process as much as possible (mostly by snapping every picture I could) but also by showing her the trees, picking them up , exaggerating
my emotions about each one with the "wows", "omgs" and "isn't that beautiful statements!"
Some advice about your tree:
- Use shatterproof ornaments (including plastic or wooden) that are in arms reach of your toddler! You can put your delicate ornaments at the top of the tree.
- Use bells on your tree and play with them while decorating! Kid's love bells and noises and while you'll be wanting to teach them not to play with the tree, you'll also be introducing the fun part of the Christmas tree not just the "yeah here is this beautifully lit Christmas tree but you can't touch it."
- Make sure you keep your tree watered (if you get a real one). You don't want you tree drying out and dropping needles everywhere. This could cause a hazard around the tree. Check it everyday for water!
- Use ribbon hangers for the ornaments that are in arms reach (I did not do this one, oops!). Ribbon hangers are obviously much safer than hooks. You'll be able to prevent them from poking themselves with sharp metal!
- Do not use any tinsel! If you have pets, you probably skip this step anyway but tinsel is a HUGE danger to children and pets! It's also messy and annoying so there's that...
- Put a safety gate around the tree when it is appropriate. I don't want to say leave it up because we still need to teach our babies about boundaries and "rules." If you completely block everything off, you'll likely struggle in the future when taking them to places that aren't overly baby safe. When you have the time, take the gates down and sit on the floor with your baby/toddler near the tree. Teach them the boundaries and expectations you have with them and the Christmas tree.
- Lastly, let them help you decorate. This is supposed to be fun and it isn't fun for them if they are watching you decorate and not allowed to touch! Show them what to do. I posted a video here on how Johanna did with decorating. It wasn't the best but it sure is cute to see her catching on!
Next, other decorations! I bought Johanna Christmas window decals from the dollar store as a way of distraction. While I got out all of the goodies, she played with the decals. It was a temporary but legitimate distraction. She wasn't shut off from decorating but she wasn't at risk of breaking something or hurting herself with delicate Christmas decorations. I expected that the window decals wouldn't last long but they did the trick! Hence the reason I bought them from the dollar store!
Some advice about your decorations:
- Fragile decorations should be placed outside of baby/toddlers reach! This include glass items, breakable items, sharp objects, etc. If you think it's unsafe, it probably is!
- You can always buy kid friendly decorations! There are plenty of felt items, plastic items, soft items that still look great and will put you in the holiday spirit!
- Get them their own decorations to play with them. You'll have to be patient and explain what is theirs and what it not. I can't tell you how many times Johanna has already pulled all the stockings down. While it is annoying, I don't want to limit everything. Stockings are not dangerous and it won't ruin anything if she pulls them down! I feel like a broken record but I just tell her over and over to leave them hanging so Santa can fill them!
- Show them your decorations (the ones you put out of their reach). This is a learning experience for them! If you put that ceramic manger scene up high, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to look at it. Pick them up, explain what it is, tell them it's for Christmas, etc. Even if you know they don't have a clue what you're talking about, keep doing it!
Overall, have fun Mama's. My anxiety was through the roof decorating the house last night but in general it was a lot of fun! Johanna got to decorate the Christmas tree and get her first experience of helping put up decorations. Listening to Christmas music, checking out all the ornaments that were just for her was so fun! Also, a new/old tradition was put into place. As a child, I always put the star on the tree. This year, Johanna got to put the star on the tree (well sort of). All in all, it was a fun experience. I really am looking forward to Christmas this year! Remember to just be patient with these little babies! Things are new to them and they are learning!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Please remember you're beautiful and you're doing an amazing job!