How to Safely Decorate a Christmas Tree with Toddlers
You would think by the time a mom has kid #4, she would have these sorts of things figured out. Well I’m that mom that still doesn’t know what she’s doing half the time. But I can honestly say I finally figured out how to safely decorate a Christmas tree after kid #3 was born. And I’m going to share what I did to baby proof our Christmas tree so you don’t have to worry!
In the past, we just blocked our kids from the tree. A baby gate kept Hunter out of the formal living room where our tree was located when she was little.
When Kaiden was a toddler, our tree was upstairs in the loft. An open floor plan complicates things. Hubby’s idea is always to put the tree in the basement, out of reach.
While his solution would work just fine, I don’t want my tree to be out of sight! I LOVE Christmas and I get so much joy from seeing the lights and decorations every day.
So I made a different plan.
I asked him to compromise, and let me put our tree in the dining room instead of the family room. This makes it out of our high traffic area, but not out of sight completely.
He was reluctant, but he agreed to give me a chance. Of course this meant I HAD to have a good plan so he couldn’t say “I told you so.” Yikes.
The “Rules” for Baby Proofing the Christmas Tree
I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep a toddler from touching the tree, so I had to make it safe. Some people put baby gates around their trees, but I don’t like the look of it (and we didn’t own a play yard when Aren was a baby). So here were my Christmas tree baby proofing ideas:
- No breakable ornaments
- No ribbons or garland that can be pulled, causing the tree to fall
- Absolutely no tinsel (choking hazard for pets as well)
- No small ornaments
- No ornament hooks
Most of our ornaments are shatter-proof, but they still have the metal top where the hook is placed. Even if I replaced all hooks with ribbon, the metal tops can easily be pulled off and swallowed. No go.
Safely Decorate the Christmas Tree
With the “no-no” rules in place, it was time to safely decorate our Christmas tree.
I checked my craft storage and found a couple of burlap bows. I started thinking that wooden ornaments would probably be our best bet, so I went to Target in search of a few new pieces.
Bigger is better in this situation, as bigger ornaments are not only safer in terms of choking hazards, but they also fill in more space on the tree.
A few festive words, some white trees and stars, and the kids’ initials were all chosen.
I found a couple of wooden tree ornaments in the dollar spot for $1 each, then picked up a few more items for $2-$3 each.
Target also had some red metal jingle bells that I knew Aren would love to play with. I mean, if you know your toddler will touch the tree anyway, why not provide one or two ornaments that will be ok to play with, right?
The gold poinsettias and red cardinals both came with alligator clips to help them be more secure on the tree. I placed the poinsettias in the middle spaces to fill in gaps, but I kept the birds up high. They aren’t breakable but I also wanted to reduce any toddler temptation to grab them.
Add in Baby Safe Ornaments for Play
Plush ornaments are another toddler safe Christmas ornament option. I found a few plush pinecones, a fabric “R” for Rowen, and a couple of stuffed Santas and a dog.
The dog and one Santa don’t even have thread for hanging (I think I ripped them off accidentally – oops!) so those just sit on a branch near the bottom for Rowen to play with.
Kaiden placed a couple of non-breakable but “nicer” ornaments near the top of the tree on the back side this year. They are out of sight and hopefully won’t fall off. Fingers crossed!
I also like to add pops of color with some picks of berries, but those have to stay out of reach! Rowen tried to munch a few while we were decorating. I don’t think he realizes they aren’t real berries!
Check out my gift guides for perfect gift inspo!
Treetopia Christmas Tree
This year, I wanted a new tree for our new house. We have a beautiful bay window in our dining room that begged to be filled with a gorgeous tree!
I prefer the less-fuss and less-mess of artificial trees, and I knew Treetopia had trees with amazing quality. They also have pre-lit trees with LED lights – with both white and color lights!
I almost couldn’t decide which Christmas tree to get. They are all amazing! As tempted as I was to try out one of their unique colorful trees, I kept it traditional with a gorgeous green tree – the Oh Christmas Tree to be exact.
The branches are super full with realistic needles and brown branches. It really looks like a real Christmas tree – just without the tree smell! I can’t even tell you how happy I was to not have to string it with lights. With two little ones underfoot, I’ll opt for less work thank-you-very-much.
I’m also pretty happy we got a storage bag for our new Christmas tree. After years of shoving our trees back into a box and trying to keep the box closed for 11 months, I can’t wait for the ease of a tree storage bag! It feels like I’m finally making adult decisions.
Our Farmhouse Christmas Tree is Complete!
In the end, our tree turned out perfect! The many branches really helped to make our tree look full, even without an abundance of decor. And they are sturdy enough to hold up even heavier wooden ornaments that sagged on our last tree.
Our baby proof Christmas tree has way less frills than I would normally like, but I think the simple and somewhat sparse decor works well with our rustic theme. It has just enough glitter and red color to look festive and Christmassy.
And I’m relaxed knowing that our tree is only decorated with items that are safe for Aren and Rowen to touch. Yay for one less stress during the holidays!!
Now if I could only figure out where I put our tree skirt and star…
Do you have any holiday parenting hacks or other tips to safely decorate a Christmas tree? I’d love for you to share in a comment!
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.
Your plan is perfect! I couldn’t handle a tree with the 1 year old so I skipped it this year and opted for garland and wreaths. Next year I’ve gotta try this!
Great post about the safely decorating Christmas tree, the baby proofing Christmas tree ideas helped me a lot, thank you so much for such a great job.