Having P.O.P.D (perfect ornament placement disorder) and a baby who is now on the move, means that your Christmas cheer may be turning into Christmas fear. Keeping your tree (and baby) safe, should be number 1 on your Christmas ‘to-do-list’, so here are some ways to babyproof your Christmas tree to ensure that your Christmas spirit stays intact - along with the tree.
Moving the living room furniture around is standard Christmas practice, I think. Most of us have ‘the’ spot where the tree goes, however, once you have kids, for the first couple of years anyhow, it becomes less about aesthetics and more about safety. Picking a place in the room that is harder for your child to reach the tree is key. Could it go behind the sofa? Is there a hard-to-reach corner of the room that you can use? For babies who are unable to climb, elevation is a winner - placing your tree on a cupboard or table, perhaps. This might mean downsizing your tree for a year or two, but it will save your sanity!
However, if you fancy something a bit quirkier – and this really is quirky, you could try hanging your tree upside down from the ceiling. A drastic way to babyproof, which might sound a bit ridiculous, but you can actually buy pre -lit trees that are specifically made for this. Great for keeping the cheeky elves away, a good space-saver and a great talking point too!
If you are not a fan of hanging your tree from the ceiling (understandable) and are struggling to find a hard-to-reach area, you can buy fencing that is specifically made to keep little hands away and looks much nicer than using a baby playpen or gates wrapped in paper - although great cost-saving ideas.
Another fun idea is to make a ‘present fence’ using large boxes wrapped in festive paper to create a barrier but, and possibly going too far in the babyproofing ideas, (yes, ok, it is going too far) there is also the option of ‘glad-wrapping’ your made-up tree in cling-film. Something that some do to save time taking it all down after Christmas, and then decorating the next, however, keeping the cling-film on until Christmas Eve, could also be the answer to keeping your tree looking dapper on Christmas Day. Or, simply leave the cling film on and unwrap when the kids are older!
Distraction is a great technique for a lot of parenting dilemmas and protecting your Christmas tree is no different. Particularly for toddlers, having their own tree to decorate (and un-decorate) to their hearts content, often solves the problem. It doesn’t need to be a huge, 7ft tree, just something small. Or why not buy (or make your own) felt tree and decorations, that you can hang on the wall. With Velcro attached to the back of the decorations, they can easily dress their tree, however they fancy, and they will be more likely to leave the actual tree alone.
Babies and toddlers are curious creatures, as we know, and Christmas decorations and lights are very inviting, so if you do decide to keep to tradition and have your tree in its rightful place, here are a few things that you should take into consideration:
Cover the tree with (alarm) bells. Having bells on the tree is a great way to alert you to any mini tree wreckers and stop them in their tracks.
If you have a little one who is not able to climb yet, why not go for a ‘half-and-half’ tree and leave the lower branches empty completely.
Hang ornaments that you are happy for them to play with on the bottom. Explain to toddlers that this is their part of the tree. Just knowing that the tree isn’t completely off limits can also be enough for them to lose interest. Similarly, getting them to help decorate the tree can have the same effect.
Make sure that you use shatter-proof ornaments, or any that won’t break in little hands, such as wooden ones. These are widely available now-a-days, but if you just can’t resist glass ones, hang them high up the tree where your little one can’t reach, along with any precious items from your own childhood.
Avoid using hooks to hang your decs – these can hurt small hands and mouths - use ribbon or string instead.
To avoid pulling the tree over, tie some string to the top and attach to the ceiling or something high. Or weigh it down with sandbags – you could fill bags with your child’s play sand.
Install the lights right into the tree, with the wire and plug at the back, so that it is harder for your child to pull on them or play with the switches.
Avoid using tinsel. While it is great for some added sparkle and colour, it is a choking hazard for babies and toddlers.
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