The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, but it can also be a stressful time for parents of toddlers. One of the biggest challenges during this time is keeping your Christmas tree safe from curious little hands. And if you have twins, the task becomes even more daunting. But fear not, with some creative planning and a few simple tricks, you will have a twin toddler proof Christmas tree (and some pretty funny pictures) in no time!
Pre-baby you probably had a gorgeous Christmas tree with glittering glass ornaments, unique pieces from around the world, and maybe some family heirlooms. Pre-baby you thought, “I want my tree to rival the tree at Rockefeller Center!” Pre-baby you didn’t think about post-baby you. And now… you’re like, “Oh ****! My precious, hand-blown, one-of-a-kind ornament I found in some remote town outside of Venice, Italy!” Haha! Don’t you wish you could smack your pre-baby self now and say, “WHY did you set me up for failure?” I certainly did. I looked at the three 110qt plastic storage bins filled to the top with ornaments and thought, OMG. How do I do this? Is toddler proofing a Christmas Tree possible?
I scoured the internet and asked all my friends and family who had babies before me the very same question you’re asking yourself: “How do you toddler proof a Christmas Tree?”
Securing the tree
Toddler strength is no joke. We have all seen herculean strength come out of their tiny bodies. So, the first line of defense is making the tree stronger than your tiny humans. This means you need to secure the tree to toddler proof it.
To the Wall
Securing your Christmas tree when you have toddlers in the house is an important task. To anchor your Christmas tree to the wall, use a sturdy wall anchor or anti-tip kit. Secure it to the wall at a midpoint height, then attach the other end to the tree trunk. This will prevent it from toppling over if your little ones decide to climb it. Securing the tree to the wall is one way to toddler proof your Christmas tree.
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Although this is a great option, it does limit where you can put your tree. If you must put your tree on full display in front of the largest window in your house, then a weighted tree stand might be the best option for you.
If you don’t have a way to anchor the tree, you can purchase a weighted tree stand. This will help keep the tree from tipping over if your tots get a bit too handsy with the tree. The Krinner Tree Genie stand is highly recommended, in fact, in a recent New York Times article it is stated that “The Krinner Tree Genie XXL is the most secure tree stand we’ve tested, and it’s the only stand we found that one person can set up.” A good tree stand serves as a base that not only secures the trunk of the tree upright but also stabilizes the tree.
If you’re really handy, you can always anchor it to or from the ceiling.
Sounds crazy and looks like it belongs in a Dr Suess book, but suspending your tree from the ceiling is actually a practical solution for toddler proofing a Christmas tree. It prevents the tree from tipping over and makes it pretty hard to reach those heirloom ornaments. This option is best suited for lightweight, artificial trees, and make sure you’ve secured the tree anchor in a ceiling joist or beam.
Okay, so now that your tree is in a safe spot, let’s talk decorations.
Decorating a toddler proof Christmas tree
When decorating the Christmas tree with twins, it is important to prioritize safety. While it may be tempting to create a magical and sparkly wonderland, it is best to wait until the kids are old enough to understand the potential danger of certain decorations. Here are some simple tips for toddler-proofing your Christmas tree decor.
Top half only
This may look hilarious, but it’s kind of a no-brainer. Toddlers are only so tall, so as long as you put those keepsake ornaments above their reach, you could have a very beautiful top of your tree. This is actually a tried-and-true plan for a toddler proof Christmas tree. In fact, the first time I saw this was at my cousin’s house. She had decorated the top half of the tree and left the bottom half completely bare.
This leads me to the next twin toddler proof Christmas tree how-to.
Top half only: Part 2
When you have young twins, it can be difficult to decorate your home for the holidays safely. So, if you are considering the top-half decorating approach, why not take it a step further and only put up the top half of the tree? This approach also keeps the ornaments and other decorations out of reach. Which helps reduce the risk of your children breaking them and hurting themselves (yes, this is also about the kids, not just your family heirloom ornaments). What a fun (undeniably silly), unique way to toddler proof your Christmas tree! Plus, these are the holiday memories you (and your twins) will talk about forever.
If a full-sized tree is proving too tempting for your twin toddlers, consider using a tabletop tree. It’s still a tree, and you can keep it somewhere high where your toddlers can’t reach it. Well… if you have climbers, then “may the odds be in your favor.”
Create a Christmas-themed barrier around your Christmas tree for toddler-proofing. Consider using an expandable, free-standing baby gate, kennel fencing, or even a charming white picket fence to create a protective barrier around your Christmas tree. While the latter adds a touch of festive decor, be mindful that it may not be the most visually seamless method of toddler-proofing. Alternatively, you can surround your tree with substantial decoy presents, utilizing old delivery boxes filled with books, but anticipate that your little one might excitedly tear them open!
The “Minimalist” Tree
Call it what it is. It’s an undressed, naked tree. LOL! But to our friends, we’ll call it the “minimalist” tree. That’s what another cousin of mine did as her toddler-proof strategy. They decided not to decorate the tree that year.
Plastic wrap your tree
If an actual tree (live or artificial) just isn’t going to happen with your twin tornados, consider making one that can be hung on the wall. This way, you can hang it high enough that little hands can’t get it to. If you use lights, be sure to use LED lights, and make sure to secure the cord so there are no temptations or accidents.
Put your tree somewhere that your twin toddlers can’t get to, like the patio, porch, or balcony.
Now that you’ve decided how to decorate your tree with twin toddlers nearby let’s discuss the actual decorations.
Toddler Friendly Ornaments
To keep your tree safe from toddlers, use shatterproof ornaments. If you have glass ornaments, put them high up where your toddler can’t reach them. Avoid using tinsel, as it can be a choking hazard. Instead of wire hooks, use ribbons to hang your ornaments. Check out these awesome anchor “hooks” that secure your ornaments to the tree branch, making it a bit more challenging to get the ornaments off the tree! One helpful suggestion is to install “toddler alarms.” Use large bells around the tree to alert you if your toddler is near. Silence can be dangerous with toddlers (double trouble with twin toddlers), so it’s important to be aware of their activities. If it’s too quiet, it’s likely they’re up to no good.
Choose LED lights for your Christmas tree. They are generally safer than traditional incandescent lights, they produce less heat, reduce the risk of fire, and they are more energy-efficient. LED lights are also less likely to break and are cool to the touch.
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If you are old-school and still want the look of the big C7 bulbs, these plastic Shatterproof lights are also a great option. Traditional look, but modern safety!
Do remember, even though your lights are cool to the touch and shatterproof, they are still a choking hazard and electric shock hazard. Protect your outlet with a toddler-proof outlet cover. Also, don’t forget about cord placement. If possible, place your cords behind the tree and not around the edges so there’s no chance of getting tangled up or playing with the cord.
Create a Kid-Friendly Zone
No matter what or how you decide to toddler proof your Christmas tree, it is a great idea to designate a specific area for toddler-friendly decorations. You can have a smaller tree or a section of the tree with soft, plush ornaments that are safe for little ones to touch and play with. This felt Christmas tree is a great option for allowing your toddlers to touch, feel, and play with the ornaments and tree decorations. Plus, it engages their gross motor skills! So, consider getting an additional Christmas tree that is toddler-approved.
Once my anxiety had settled, I realized there were so many new things we could add to our holiday traditions. Our tree would now represent all four of us, and if it means I have to store away my prized ornaments until they are older, so be it. These will be wonderful stories to tell later to the boys on how mom and dad found that particular piece or how to play the ‘find the pickle in the tree’ game.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Stephanie Miller is the proud mom of twin cyclones Zach and Carter (20-month-old). Every day in the Miller house, you’ll find rooms turned over, floors covered in bits of Lego and puzzle pieces (mind your step), and the sound of “Brown Bear Brown Bear” read over and over and over again. You’ll typically find her being used as the seat to reading time for the two bookworms, covered in bubble solution as they try to excel in their Bubble Wand skills, or being the voice to command Alexa for their favorite tunes. She and her husband are working on their traveling skills cause she can’t wait to show them the amazing world that is out there for them.