{seasonal style} Tips for Keeping Christmas Decorations Safe for Young Kids, But Still Stylish for You!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Did you put your Christmas decorations up this weekend? If you have a baby or a young child in the house, you may be hesitant to put up too many decorations, as you figure out how to keep it safe for little hands and prevent sentimental items from getting broken. I was in that exact position two years ago as we prepared for our son's first Christmas.

I now have an almost 3 year old and an 18 month old, and I've learned a few tricks along the way, so I thought that today I'd share some tips for decorating for Christmas in a way that is young child-friendly, but still festive and stylish for you!

Baby-Proof Christmas Decorations

A Hands-On Christmas Tree

When we were preparing for our older son's first Christmas, lots of people gave us advice on decorating the tree that ranged from having a "no touch" policy to only hanging ornaments on the top half of tree out of our son's reach. But neither of these ideas seemed to make sense for our family.

I am a pretty vigilant mom, but I just knew that no matter how closely I watched him, there was no way I'd be able to prevent a one year old from touching the tree in the center of our main family space for over a month! And I also knew that the more I repeated, "No. Don't touch that!" the more he would want to do exactly that!

And as for hanging ornaments on the top half of the tree only, that still seemed dangerous to me. Even a baby that is just learning to roll or crawl could easily tug on a lower branch, wiggle the tree, and knock an ornament off of a high branch. And for our son that was a new walker at the time of his first Christmas, I knew that even if I stopped him from mischievously shaking the tree, he was still likely to reach out to grab a branch to steady himself or stop himself from falling while toddling by.

Instead, we decided we wanted our tree to have a hands-on policy, which meant keeping all of the ornaments baby and kid-friendly from top to bottom! But I still wanted the tree to be festive and stylish, so I began a search for beautiful, baby-friendly decorations.

Baby-Proof Christmas Tree

When it comes to decorating a child-friendly tree, the "don'ts" are pretty simple: nothing breakable, nothing heavy or sharp that could fall, nothing small enough for a young child to choke on - including items that shed, like tinsel. With babies and toddlers around, it can be a lot easier to figure out what not to put on the tree than it is to figure out what to put on the tree.

What I ended up with was a whole lot of felt, from garland to ornaments - but I was surprised to discover just how beautiful a tree covered in felt could be! You can read all the details about our tree here, including links to sources.

Baby-Proof Christmas tree

I thought that maybe I just got lucky two years ago because there seemed to be an abundance of felt ornaments everywhere I went that year, but the selection of beautiful, baby-friendly ornaments seems to have actually increased since that time. In fact, we just added a small, 3-foot tree in each of our boys' bedrooms and had no trouble at all finding cute ornaments that they can take off and play with all they like. Here are a few of my favorite, child-friendly ornaments that you'll find in stores this year:

You'll notice that all of these felt and fabric ornaments have string loops for hanging. Avoid any ornaments with hooks that could poke little fingers{or eyes}, and if necessary, remove hooks and replace them with ribbon or twine.

Of course, no matter what you choose to decorate your tree, dangers will still exist, so it's important to never leave a child unattended around the Christmas tree.

Let There be Light

If you kids are like mine, they are fascinated by plugs and outlets. Our son's first Christmas, he saw us plugging and unplugging the lights on the tree, and soon he was trying to crawl under the tree to plug it in by himself so that he could see the pretty lights. To avoid this problem, we now have the lights on our tree plugged in to an automatic time so that the lights come on and go off at set times.

By doing this, we are able to position the tree so that the plug in is hidden, and because our sons don't see us reaching behind the tree to plug it in, they are not so curious about it. We can even make it a special game for the kids by taking them to the tree to watch the lights magically turn on at the specified time!

You Don't Have to Keep Those
Special Breakable Ornaments Packed Away

Before we had kiddos, our tree was full or shiny and sparkly glass ornaments, but once we baby-proofed the Christmas tree with fabric and felt ornaments, the question that lingered in my mind was what to do with those delicate glass ornaments to keep them safely out of little hands without leaving them packed away for years and years. The answer was to hang them high in our windows where we can all enjoy seeing them sparkling and shining in  the light, but far out of the reach of our sons. You can read the details of our glass ornament window display here.

Keep breakable ornaments out of little hands

Stockings Hung By the Chimney with Care

Before we had kids, we didn't hang stockings by our fireplace, but after our boys came along, stockings were a must. I used to think those decorative, weighted stocking holders {popular at all the major retailers} were really pretty - but then I read some really scary statistics about how many children are injured ever year when they tug on stockings and those heavy holders fall down on them. Everything from bad bumps on the head to puncture wounds. We just couldn't take that chance, so instead we screwed some small hooks into the underside of our mantle to safely hang our stockings.

We picked small, dark hooks, and they are very inconspicuous agaist our dark wood mantle and dark tile fireplace surround. Since the hooks are screwed in, they are there year round, but they are virtually invisible when the stockings are not hanging from them. I am pretty picky about things like that, and thought it would bug me having them there year-round, but I honestly don't notice them at all. And I feel so much better knowing that falling stocking holders aren't going to cause injury and put a damper on our holiday cheer!

Those are my tips - and now I'd love to hear from you! How do you keep your holiday decorations child-friendly, or what problems have you encountered that others should avoid? Sharing is caring!

If you are looking for more stylish Christmas decor ideas, here are some of my favorites:

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