Christmas trees and young children


How did/do you keep your young children from pulling on, climbing on, tearing ornaments off, and just generally wreaking havoc with the Christmas tree? Hubby and I have been trying to decide what to do about the Christmas tree this year. Our family room and dd’s room are the two rooms in the house that are babyproofed to the extreme so that she can play and have fun without having to be redirected every 2 minutes. We’ve discussed putting it in the kitchen or even our bedroom. I just don’t know, but there must be a way. I mean, people with toddlers put up Christmas trees all the time and no one dies, right? :rolleyes: Tips, please! :slight_smile:

BTW, we don’t have a formal living room or dining room where we could put it. We only have 5 rooms, including dh’s office and the bedrooms.


well, I grew up in a family of eight, and we often had pets. I can tell you that we are still all alive and healthy none of us has a Christmas tree mark on our forhead (meaning no tree ever fell over on us) and mom and dad really didn’t do anything different to keep us away from it. of course, this was back in the 70’s and 80’s when people didn’t sit up all night and worry about safety. (no insult to the OP intended, just refering to our worry worry culture) I’d say that my folks were more laid back than most on these matters. I can also tell you that as a child, I dsitroyed a fiew ornaments. all nice and speical ornaments were high up on the tree to be out of reach of grubby, curious little hands. all I had to distroy were those foam balls that are wrapped in the silkey thread (man were they fun to uravel!)

I don’t have any children yet, but my best advice would be to treat it like you would a book case. anything you don’t want slobbered on or picked at, put up high and keep an eye on your tiny tot if he/she starts pulling on the lights.


Last year we just did a little 4 foot tree up on a table & it saved a lot of aggravation. That’s what I always remember my mom doing when there were crawlers or toddlers around for Christmastime.


That’s probably the approach we’re going to take, but I’m actually just as concerned about my sanity as her safety. There are only so many time you want to pull a toddler away from the branches, lights and ornaments, if you know what I mean. I can see the tree being up for about 5 days before I’ve had enough.


One year we put the christmas tree in the playpen. Kinda funny looking, but it worked.

I also bought a lot of non-breakable ornaments - I found some really cute crocheded angel ornaments that I put within kid reaching distance.

Don’t put lights on - no worries about a kid electrocuting themselves.

My husband once wired the tree to the wall so it wouldn’t fall over.

And most importantly, don’t put wrapped gifts under the tree until the little tykes are all in bed on Christmas Eve. When I was a new mommy (obvoiusly) I decided to put the wrapped gifts under the tree so we could all enjoy looking at the pretty presents. That was so stupid of me. I had to constantly rewrap gifts that my 1 year old daughter kept on unwrapping! I got smarter, and learned the hard way.

Hope this helps.


Our tree was in a room that very young children were not in alone. We had more problems keeping the pets away from it.

But we did try one thing. We put our tree in the corner of the living room and would put one of the those plastic baby fences around the exposed side of the tree. We wouldn’t actually attach the fence to anything. It would just be the first level of protection. It was light enough that it wouldn’t hurt a child if it fell on her and it was far enough from the tree not to bump the tree.

We didn’t put breakable ornaments on the lower branches either.

  1. Anything breakable should be high on the tree and wired on. (We used florist’s wire)
  2. Anything in reach should not be breakable or a choke hazard.
  3. The lights should also be wired on.
  4. If it would really kill you if something happened to it, leave that ornament in the closet until the kids are older.
  5. Don’t put anything edible on the tree until they are old enough to know edible from not edible.
  6. The plug should be in a safety box, so it can’t be pulled out and used to stuff needles into the socket.

Also, my brother says “Get a scotch pine. They’re sharper than all get out. The kids learn that pretty quickly.” As soon as the tree is decorated (which is done late at night, while the kids sleep), jam that sucker back into the corner…with any luck, you have a lamp switch on the wall that you can use.


For the first couple years we didn’t put the tree up until a few days before Christmas and took it down shortly afterward.


The first year we did this. I was able to borrow one of these fence things from my aunt - I wouldn’t have gone out and bought one. It worked well the first year - my son was 11 months old. By the next year it wouldn’t have worked with a 2 year old that loved to climb.

IIRC, we didn’t put up a tree when my kids were almost 2 and almost 1 b/c we went to visit with my inlaws for a week at Christmastime and my parents had a tree up the kids could see.


One excellent idea my husband had and it works great.:slight_smile:
To keep a tree from toppling (it does happen) get some fishing line and tie it around the pole part of the tree and attach it to the wall or tie to something strong.
we done this every year, when my husband was little his older brother and the dog was messing around and the tree toppled over onto my husband, (he was about 4 years old) My FIL (after paddling my BIL:) ) tied the tree to their staircase with fishing line and never had that problem again.


My parents had six kids, always an 8 ft blue spruce, which he wired to the wall in 4 places using fishing line and I hooks (which stayed in the molding all year). but that was because of the cats, not the kids.

I received a lot of felt ornaments as gifts the first year I was married, and made some more felt, paper, wood and other unbreakable ornaments which I used all the years our kids were growing up. I only used glass one year but duh because of the cats I never made that mistake again. I did put the tree in the playpen until the youngest was 3 or so, and we always wired our tree as well. mini-lights are a lot safer than the old style lights.

my ornament collection grew so when we retired I gave a big box to each of the kids, based on their interests–music related for oldest, teddie bears for youngest, sports for the boy, toys and games for the only daughter who had kids at the time.


When our son was just over a year old, we put the tree on a cardboard box (about 18" high) covered with pretty fabric in the corner of our living room. We then put up our barrier fences around the tree so everything was just out of our son’s reach. It worked beautifully.

Last year when he was two, we just didn’t put breakable ornaments on the tree at all, but we didn’t need the fence.

We did discover, however, that all presents need to be hidden until Christmas morning. Our son has no waiting power when it comes to birthdays or presents - none.

Best of luck.


Our son’s first Christmas we didn’t hang any ornaments on the lower branches of the tree. He wasn’t walking yet so that was about all that needed to be done. I think we also waited to put up the tree until closer to Christmas Eve and then took it down not too long after Christmas.

Last year he was about 20 months old and we did a Jesse Tree. Every night during Advent we made an ornament out of construction paper that represented a part of the lineage of Christ. Those and the lights were the only things we had on the tree until Christmas Eve. Then we hug our favorite ornaments along with them. After Christmas Day we took those ornaments down and just left the Jesse Tree ornaments on there. He did rip a few of those apart, but it was just construction paper and pipecleaners. No big deal there.

I am not sure what we are going to do this year. I missed having our normal ornaments on the tree last year. With a 2 year old and a baby who is about to walk it will have to be creative.


Tell them no. It worked for my mom and her mom. The kids were just told no, and if we didn’t obey we were sent to our room.



Well, my daughter will only just turn one on Christmas eve, and I think the temptation will be too great. This is the approach I might take with older children, though.


We put next to no ornaments on the bottom third of the tree (or however high up the toddlers can reach). The ones that are there are meant for them to play with-- wooden, musical, unbreakable, cheap. Like others said, nice ones go on top. Yeah, it looks kind of funny with the bottom of the tree naked, but-- whatever.

We also have tended to get blue spruces or scotch pines (I think that’s the kind) even though they’re not our favorite trees just because they’re extra prickly-- the kids learn quickly that it HURTS when they stick their fingers into the branches. Pain is a good deterrent. :smiley:


My parents used to put their tree up on Christmas Eve.

Correction: My dad used to insist the tree be put up Christmas Eve, so he brought the tree in*, put the lights up, fell asleep in a chair by the time half the ornaments were on, and slept through the laborious process of hanging that lead tinsel that everybody in that area used to use. :smiley:

(*Setting up the tree, though, used to include lightweight cables screwed into the tree and into a 3-foot diameter half-inch plywood base that the tree stand was bolted down to. The cables were tightened using turnbuckles. That tree was going nowhere.)


I guess I am just a glutton for punishment, because I pretty much just have always decorated our tree as usual, even with small children. Yes, they love to take the decorations off and move them all around, and I pretty much just let them do that. I even put wrapped presents under the tree, but just keep my eye on them and remind them frequently not to open them. Of course when they are really little, they do try, and sometimes succeed. They eventually learn the self control not to open them. I guess I just look at it as a learning experience.


I nanny for a girl who is almost exactly the same age as your daughter. She is pretty good at being a good listener regarding anything I’m consistent about (not throwing her cup, not touching the stereo system, etc.). Every time she does whatever I don’t want her to do, I either remove the object or remove her from the area and say, “We don’t do that.” The temptation is still too great if she thinks I’m not watching, but she rarely breaks the rules when I’m close by. Every child’s temperament is different, but if you are never going to leave her alone in the room with the tree and you are clear and absolutely consistent about the rules, she may be able to handle it even at her young age. :slight_smile:


Not only ornaments, but make sure the tree itself is firmly in the holder. My third sister managed to knock an 8ft tree over when she was about 10 months old because it apparently wasn’t either fully screwed into the holder or she had enough brute strength when trying to pull up, or reach for an ornament, that the whole thing fell over. Not fun.

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