It’s mid-November, The Santa Claus Parade is happening this weekend here in Toronto. For me that’s always meant it’s time to start decorating for the holidays!
Whether it’s an almost two year old child or one that is well into the second year, decorating for the Holidays with toddlers is almost impossible.
Glittery decorations and Holiday bling are like catnip for a child. Just like cats are attracted to shiny things hanging off of Christmas trees, kids gravitate toward decorations to touch them. Throw in a child’s desire to make everything theirs, and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.
Think about what happens when you’re wearing jewelry and holding a baby or toddler. They immediately want to check it out. It’s why I almost never wore earrings for the first few years of my son’s life. He pulled on them a few times so hard I feared having my ear torn.
For this reason alone, decorating for the Holidays is almost impossible. I say almost, because there are ways to enjoy celebrations and special Holidays with some out-of-the-box solutions.
That Stage When You Can’t Control the Curious Little One
Last Christmas, our son was two months shy of being two. It’s a stage where most kids are walking and exploring. All this adventure while not understanding instructions such as “Don’t touch!” With our son, we had to constantly keep an eye out for anything dangerous that was within his reach.
This year, he’ll be almost three and he’s fully in the “everything is mine” stage. I’m already envisioning the temper tantrums!
So how do you decorate your tree, bannisters, fireplace and other parts of the house without having a little hurricane run through it and rip them all off?
A little ingenuity!
Tips For Holiday Decorating With A Toddler
The good news is that you can still have a Christmas tree. How you decorate it is key.
First things first, before you put any decorations on your tree, secure it to something like a stair banister or column with some string. This might involve moving your tree to a different spot than usual. However, it keeps the tree from toppling over if your child decides to pull on branches or decorations.
Now that the tree is secured:
- Place any lights on the top of the tree.
- To avoid having a half-decorated tree, with decorations out of reach of little hands, opt for cloth decorations. Small bows and ribbons wrapped around branches and felt decorations are enough to give a tree some flashy colour.
- Make cut-out mini paper snowflakes and prop them up all over the bottom part of the tree. If your child destroys them, you can always make more.
- Make gingerbread men and hang them up. If your child decides to take a nibble (as they are prone to do at that age), no harm will come of it.
- Do some DIY crafting by using an old sweater. Cut it into shapes such as stars or mini trees. Sew the pieces together, leaving a small opening for cotton stuffing. Sew up completely. Attach fancy trimming to cover up the rough edges and a string for hanging. Voila! A kid-friendly, no-glass, ornament.
- Purchase a mini-tree with cloth decorations for your child. They will most likely remove and place the decorations on it several times throughout the season.
Other Ways To Decorate Your Home
Aside from decorating a tree, there are a few other ways to make the home look festive. Consider the ceilings, cabinet tops, ledges, fireplace mantles and even light fixtures as possible places for decorations.
- Hang homemade paper snowflakes from the ceiling using a thin piece of string and clear tape.
- Stick paper snowflakes behind glass cabinet windows.
- Decorate picture frames with decorations used for making wreaths. These types of decorations will often have a long, flexible stem that can be stuck between the picture and wall.
- Use adhesive hooks on either side of a large open doorway and hang a green garland or home-made construction paper chain.
- Take advantage of your fireplace mantle by decorating it with seasonal figurines, large glass vases stuffed with Christmas decorations and candles. I like to place a garland with LED lights and wreath decorations nestled throughout it.
- Use a large white poster board to make an outline of a Christmas tree. Have your child help you colour it in. Use Christmas-themed stickers to decorate it. Place the poster at your child’s eye-level on a wall.
- Use the top of a cabinet or bookcase to place garland and LED lights.
- Use your chandelier or dining room light fixture to hang decorations or paper snowflakes.
- Battery-operated tiny LED lights can be found in craft stores. Place them in vases with ornaments, in glass bottles or hang them from light fixtures for a magical, twinkly look.
Keep Poinsettias Out of Reach
While festive, seasonal plants make it easy to decorate the home, be aware of what’s toxic for little children. Poinsettias will cause abdominal discomfort and other ailments if ingested.
Last Christmas, I opted for Christmas Moss, which looks pretty with its white tipped mossy fronds. It isn’t toxic and is easy to maintain.
If you do happen to get a Poinsettia, place it higher up for you child can’t reach.
Enjoy The Joy Of the Season
Whether you decorate with your child, or surprise them when they wake up, there’s nothing better than to see their joy when the home is fully decorated.
Last Christmas, I decorated most of our home when our son slept. This kept my stress levels down and I actually enjoyed the process. By thinking like a parent who is baby-proofing their home, I made sure that my son could still enjoy the fun stuff, but without the danger of something breaking or him getting hurt.
Whatever you decide to do in your home, have a wonderful Holiday season, celebrating with your family!
How do you Toddler-proof your holiday decorating? Share any tips we missed in the comments!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.