Everyone wants their family to enjoy the Christmas tree. The problem is, small children sometimes want to enjoy the tree a little too much. Just like the family cat, Christmas trees do not enjoy babies pulling their limbs. The cat might hiss, but the tree might fall. Christmas tree safety is something to consider when the wee ones are not quite old enough to fully understand “no.” Or in the case of my children, just pretend not to hear it.
Give Kids Their Own Tree
Each year, I give my kids their own tree(s) and they can decorate these smaller trees however their heart desires. I let them know that sky is the limit. The rule is: mommy can’t touch their tree and they can’t touch mine (without supervision). This works great in my house. My daughter has her own artificial tree forest in her room as we speak.
Use Shatterproof Ornaments
Wait until your children are a little bit older to hang the antique glass ornaments down low. Consider hanging them from a light fixture, perhaps. If small children are going to be involved, shatterproof ornaments are your best friend. In the child’s defense, ornaments do look just like toy balls. It does seem totally logical to want to grab and throw them.
Put that baby gate to good use and gate off your tree. Baby can still enjoy your tree, just not get up close and personal. You can gate off just the tree or an entire tree room.
Zip Tie to the Wall
Most of my trees end up in corners. Often times, I will use zip ties to anchor my tree to the wall. All you need are clear zip ties to attach around the tree, and then a nail or cup hook to attach to the wall.
I have a tree with vintage Fisher-Price ornaments inside. This not only acts as a double temptation to small children, it also acts as a bigger knock on the noggin threat. If you are going to be decorating your tree with heavy objects, consider using florist wire to attach the items to the tree. Check out my entire article about ornament weight here.
Treetopia trees come with a sturdy base that really distributes the weight of your tree evenly. Make sure you use the base that came with your tree. You might be tempted to do something cutesy, like stick your tree in a basket or urn. If small children are involved, make sure you have the original base on your tree as well, and your tree on a flat surface. On top of that, making a decorative barrier around your base is a great idea.
Out of reach trees, like those that go on a tabletop, are the perfect opportunity to showcase those delicate glass ornaments. The chances of little Sally destroying a tree on a table are much less likely.
Choose the Room Wisely
If you really have your heart set on a designer tree and say, the grandkids are coming for just a few days, maybe choosing an out of the way room for your Christmas tree is the best option. Kids are drawn to sparkly things on trees like a moth to a flame. If you have your tree in the family room where everyone will be, the parents will spend their entire visit avoiding that room with the children. If they do venture in, they will be playing defense in-between conversations with Aunt Gertie and Little Billy’s attempts at crushing your glass ornaments.
Always Turn off the Lights
I always unplug my Christmas tree at night before bed; I’m old school like that. I would even recommend unplugging them before you leave the house if you have added things like old fashioned bubble lights that get hot. Fire safety tends to be more of an issue with real trees, but it is something everyone should be aware of.
I love a giant tree topper as much as the next guy, but be cautious of making your tree too top-heavy. You can go big on top and still go lightweight.
So, parents and grandparents, relax and enjoy Christmas. Rest easy knowing that you have followed all of this advice and your tree is as sturdy as it is beautiful. Remember: kids are only young once. There will be plenty of time to bust out those glass ornaments and ditch the baby gate in years to come.