Forego or Forget Christmas Tree w/ a Toddler on the Loose - Mothering Forums
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Life with a Toddler > Forego or Forget Christmas Tree w/ a Toddler on the Loose
Curly Locks's Avatar Curly Locks 10:02 PM 12-08-2002
Help! Has anyone decided not to put up a Christmas tree b/c of safety reasons due to a curious/adventurous toddler being on the prowl? Ds is just turning one and we have a huge artificial tree that we are debating about putting up. We're worried it may fall on him and/or that he may try to bite the light cords and/or take off the decorations and bite them. He is teething BIG TIME (1st molars) and is walking and trying to climb now as well.

Has anyone out there put up their tree and then decided it was a bad idea due to similar reasons I may have mentioned above?

Thanks for your advice on this. MDC moms are so AWESOME!

Gracie's Avatar Gracie 10:23 PM 12-08-2002
We aren't putting up our big tree this year. Instead we bought a small tree and put it up on our bar. My in-laws always put theirs up on a table.
Nik's Mommy's Avatar Nik's Mommy 10:33 PM 12-08-2002
We have still put up our tree with our 16 month old. We have decided that we will teach him not to "play" with the tree. We have not had any problems with him, yet. In fact we have had it up for several days, and he has completely ignored it. We have a playpen we didn't use much, so the gifts are in the playpen beside the tree.
We decided that we need to teach him not to play with the tree, because if we go out to other people's houses during the season, he needs to know not to play with their tree, as well.

leafylady's Avatar leafylady 10:58 PM 12-08-2002
We have a 3-4 ft artificial tree that we put up on a side table. 3 yr old adventurous ds knocked it down yesterday, shattering about 10 ornaments. He was moving the chair next to it and somehow knocked it over. Luckily, dh was home to deal with it, instead of me. The tree is back up and surviving. Thank goodness it wasn't a real one!

Last year, when he was 2, ds did not knock down the tree. We put only paper ornaments, stuffed animals, and ornament like baby toys on it. Then he could take off ornaments and put them back on as much as he wanted to. Usually I had to collect ornaments at the end of the day and put them back on.

When he was one, we tried putting a round plastic child fence around a real tree, but he would just push the gate right up to the tree. That was a ridiculous scene. We were constantly trying to keep him away from the tree and ornaments. We're smarter now, except for the tree falling over thing.
dentente's Avatar dentente 12:24 AM 12-09-2002
We put up a large natural tree, tied it to the ceiling with fishing wire and an eyehook to prevent total collapse. We tucked the lights far into the tree towards the bottom, used a childproof outlet protector and then went to Target and purchased plastic christmas balls that are unbreakable. All the nice glass ornaments will stay in storage until she is older. The baby is 19 months old and after an initial flirtation with removing the lower ornaments and touching what lights she could reach, she has made peace with the tree. We still keep and eye on it when she's around and reinforce the "please don't touch" message. She really enjoyed helping to decorate the tree and everyday she says "Good morning tree" and "Night-night tree." It can be done. You can also purchase felt and elmers glue and make your own, unbreakable ornaments. Use yarn to hang them.

Good luck
snugglemama's Avatar snugglemama 02:34 AM 12-09-2002
We did something similar to the last post. Instead of ornaments we decorated our tree with red and white bows. I didn't want to be saying "no" and "don't touch" all day. I think it was a good compromise, even though dh says our tree looks like a WalMart display tree : (it does look sort of generic). But it is still pretty, and not dangerous!

Woohoo! This is my 100th post! Took me over a year!
Quirky's Avatar Quirky 02:52 AM 12-09-2002
I don't have a toddler yet but when *I* was a toddler my parents put the xmas tree itself in the playpen. We've also done the eyehook/wire to the ceiling thing to protect the tree from being knocked over by the cats. Works pretty well, if somewhat less than decorative.
EmeraldStar8's Avatar EmeraldStar8 04:20 AM 12-09-2002
We'll be going to NZ on the 12th December for christmas, and i was talking to mum about how we're going to distract Tali from the tree. The biggest fascination he'll have is with the tv as i don't own a tv.

We'll be either putting it on the 8 people table or putting it into a play pen or barricading it behind chairs. The presents we won't put out until christmas Eve.

Ornaments that he can have will go on the bottom of the tree incase he gets climbs onto a chair.

He'll be 16mths.
greenluv's Avatar greenluv 07:50 AM 12-09-2002
We had this problem we used baby mittens (as ornaments) and made ornaments from a receipe using apple sauce, cinnamon and nutmeg. It was a dough receipe and we used cookie cutters to make various shapes and it made the house smell absolutely delicious. I tied mine to the tree with raffia ribbons, it actually turned out to be a cute tree.
DiaperDiva's Avatar DiaperDiva 10:16 AM 12-09-2002
Last year was soooo much easier than this year. Kailey was 10 months old and not really interested.

This year she is fascniated by the ornaments, and many have been broken.

Next year I plan on doing dough ornaments and stringing popcorn(something she can help with). I kind of wish we hadn't put up a trree, but it's a good learning experience for us.
Trishy's Avatar Trishy 12:12 PM 12-09-2002
I'm not doing a tree this year. Billy is such a monkey. I can just see myself going to use the restroom and coming back to find him halfway up the tree. I did bring him to Granny's with me when we put up her tree and was a little interested but was more interested in making sure it didn't touch him. I am hoping next year I am confident enough to put up a tree.

TexasSuz's Avatar TexasSuz 03:04 PM 12-09-2002
Have not put up a tree yet for the same reason. Just don't feel like dealing with all of the trouble of keeping ds - 15 months out of it. He won't remember this Christmas anyway. I also hate to invade his small play area with a tree - he has so little space to play as it is.

Next year, when we move to our new (much Bigger) house I will go all out with decorations and teach him to not touch. Just not in the mood for Christmas this year.
BlueRoseMama's Avatar BlueRoseMama 03:34 PM 12-09-2002
I put up a tree... but the ornaments are all pine cones, white lights tucked as far into the tree as possible, cranberries, popcorn, and cinnamon onraments... that is it. I am going to tie the tree to the cealing too... I am not sure if she will get into it yet or not, but Alex (my oldest) was totally upset at the idea of not having one because we were in "baby land"... he kept saying, "this room is not "baby land" mama!" So I made him a deal... if he could live without the ornaments, I would put up the tree. That is what we did. It has worked out good for the last 24 hours... You all know what I mean I am sure!

Love Valerie
ebethmom's Avatar ebethmom 03:41 PM 12-09-2002
We might do a small artificial tree on a table, but our son is PERSISTANT! I just don't have the energy for anything else "forbidden" in our house. The humidifier, the lampshades in the living room, and the fragile curved glass china cabinet are headache enough for me.

DH said "No" to ds grabbing the lampshade last night, and ds said "yes". He's only 16 months old. I wasn't ready for outright defiance at 16 months (or 11 months!).
leafylady's Avatar leafylady 03:55 PM 12-09-2002
Curly Locks's Avatar Curly Locks 09:22 PM 12-09-2002
Thanks so much for all the great tips and information! That will help us tremendously to decide what we will do.

Leaflady~Thanks for the links. I read the 1st pages on both of those threads. I'm not sure if they ended up discussing the tree and toddler situation though. :

Have a wonderful Christmas!
momtoo's Avatar momtoo 12:41 PM 12-10-2002
I'd skip it if it weren't for her big sister, almost 3. Big sis can't wait to hang candy canes, but little monkey has me worried. Last night my dh cleared a large round table, but it's nice & old and how can I be sure to protect against water damage (without leaving grabbable edges?)
Last year, monkey wasn't mobile and big sis just played with the unbreakables on the lower branches. Monkey's curious and resourceful... yikes.
stayinghome's Avatar stayinghome 01:47 PM 12-10-2002
We have two older kids, so we just had to put a tree up! However, we didn't put up anything breakable. Our 15 month old still went bonkers playing with it though, so it looks so funny now! All the ornaments are on the top half of the tree. It looks reaally silly but oh well thats life with a toddler. I can't wait to see her on xmas morn! Warmly, HeatherE
acystay's Avatar acystay 03:34 PM 12-10-2002
Haven't yet read all the responses but thought I'd chime in. Our dd, 10mos, really got into getting all the Christmas stuff out. I knew the tree would probably be a bad idea, but I wanted one anyway.

So I got a cheap 4.5ft tree from Michaels (only 19$!!!) and put it on our kitchenette. We have a condo so it worked out really nice. I put a Christams table cloth on then the tree. I also put the tree skirt (I have an antique lace one) undertneath the tree. I hopeing to get the presents udner sometime this week!

Stacymom's Avatar Stacymom 04:44 PM 12-10-2002
Our Christmas last year was such a bust- I was determined that we were going to have a Christmas tree and everything this year. We bought a tree, and then spent the rest of the evening going all over town looking for a gate to go around the tree. We found one at Baby Depot for around $60 or so. It's about 2 1/2 feet tall, and it expands into a million different positions. We put the tree up so it was almost up against the wall and the gate goes up in front of it and then around on the sides and touches the wall. It was kind of pricey, but being as I'm expecting another baby in June, I know this won't be the only Christmas where the tree and the ornaments will need some protection. Abby loves to go up to the gate and stare at the tree and the ornaments trhough the gate- in fact, just this week she started saying "tree." We think it's a good compromise.
nuggetsmom's Avatar nuggetsmom 05:31 PM 12-10-2002
I was going to put the tree inside the supergate which is currently around our barbeque. So we won't be using that over the holidays. I like the idea of tying ti to the ceiling though.

BTW I use that gate to protect DD from various hazards and for a while I used it to contain the toys. It was open and she could go in and out, but she would play in it with her toys. For months after I moved it the toys remained inthat area...
Gracefulmom's Avatar Gracefulmom 02:47 AM 12-11-2002
We decided to decorate our door frames with garlands this year. Dd would DEFINITELY climb the tree if we tried!

I decorated the garlands with our ornaments, and had enough to choose a theme for each garland. One is handmade felt and cross-stitched ornaments, one is angels and stars, one is ornaments from travels, and one is all nativity ornaments. I normally LOVE our tree, but this was fun!! (And out of reach!)
momto l&a's Avatar momto l&a 03:30 AM 12-11-2002
We get a Blue spruce very year for our tree. Those things are soooo prickly that you have to wear gloves to decorate it! We have 3 cats so we really need a unfriendly tree to keep them from climbing it and such. Our almost 3 year stays away from it as she learned with first touch its very sharp.
USAmma's Avatar USAmma 04:21 AM 12-11-2002
I heard that when I was a toddler my parents hung a small tree from the ceiling by a hook!!

Ilaria's Avatar Ilaria 04:49 AM 12-11-2002
We put it up anyway...he doesn't bother the presents, but is in love with the ornaments, I find them all over the house...And i just keep putting them back!
sleepies's Avatar sleepies 01:42 PM 12-11-2002
we used plastic, and wooden ornaments.
the baby has taken most of them off.
it is a 4 foot tree (fake).
it does NOT even get close to falling over.

you can put the bigger lights on it, they get kind of hot, and the baby will not like to touch them. (we have small lights, and our baby leaves them alone, but i have used bigger ones in the past to keep my older son from bothering them.)

i doubt a fake tree on a stand would fall...

don't use glass ornaments though.
Curly Locks's Avatar Curly Locks 01:49 PM 12-11-2002
Hi, Jacqueline! I love MDC!

We're going to put our tree up this weekend and use some of the wonderful ideas from all these cool mamas! Hopefully we don't need to buy a super gate. But if we do it will come in handy!

Thanks everyone for sharing your tips! I'll let you know next week how it goes with ds and the tree!
Kirsten's Avatar Kirsten 08:35 AM 12-12-2002
Our kids are 6 and 2 this year. We have had a huge, live tree each year since the first one was born. They have both been very good about it at all ages. No climbing, pulling, or light playing. They do like to hang and rehang any ornaments within reach but that is OK with me as we only have a few breakable ones and I put those on high branches. Other than one time, they don't open the wrapped presents either.
Must be odd though because more people who come over are like "She leaves the tree alone? She leaves the presents alone???" Maybe girls are less "Xmas tree climbers"?? than boys?
But we do have the mother of all tree stands and that helps me feel confident that it will not tip. I don't think dh could pull it over if he tried. Got it at a fancy nursery. It is a huge metal bucket (18" high") with four legs that fold down (and screw into place). The legs go out two or three feet in each direction. It is all welded, very heavy, and has huge screws and I cannot imagine how it could fall. Another plus is it holds a lot of water....
momtoo's Avatar momtoo 02:29 PM 12-16-2002
I had to come back and share how terrific it's been to bother with the tree. Our big tree's up on a round dining table in the living room, out of our 14 mo's reach. Big sis, almost 3, and I walked countless laps around it last night. I was holding her, and she would reach out and carefully touch each ornament and talk about it. The best part was parking the rocker so we could stare at the lights til she fell asleep. Awwww. sugarplums indeed.
Curly Locks's Avatar Curly Locks 02:32 AM 12-17-2002
Thanks, again for giving us the courage to get our tree up. It's a 7' 1/2 foot artificial tree and at least 5' in diameter. We put lights about half way down and close to the trunk and only unbreakable ornaments were hung. Twelve month old ds doesn't pay much attention to the tree. The first night he was interested but not crazy about it. So I'm thankful for your tips! We're waiting until Christmas Eve to put a few things under the tree. It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

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