02 Dec Ho Ho Hold the Holly: Baby Proof Christmas Decorating
Ho Ho Hold the Holly: Baby Proof Christmas Decorating
A few years ago on Christmas Day my husband and I rescued two kittens. Or rather, my sister and aunt, who were visiting at the time, joined me in cajoling my husband in rescuing two kittens we found in a tool shed on a friend’s farm.
I worried only slightly that they might try to climb the tree. They didn’t. That was the one and only time I ever gave my Christmas decorating more than a passive thought.
This year we have an extremely active 6 month old. He’s on the move, crawling and pulling himself up into a stand. Everything goes in the mouth. EVERYTHING. So, I’ve spent some time planning out a few baby-safe holiday decorating strategies.
Hold the Holly?
First of all, I don’t know anyone who uses real holly. But if you do (you fancy-pants, you), maybe forgo it this year. The berries are poisonous when ingested. The same goes for mistletoe (again, where do you even get it?!). The more common poinsettia plant should also not be ingested, though the symptoms, if any, are typically mild and include skin irritation from the sap and irritation of the stomach lining. Either way, you won’t find one in my house this year. Why risk it?
O` Christmas Tree
I adore a good, fat “Northern” Christmas tree. As a Canadian expat in The Bahamas, these trees make me feel closer to home. My in-laws prefer to decorate a local tree, beautiful in its own way, with long twisted branches and large puff-balls of needles the width of an outstretched palm. If you choose to put up a tree, you’re going to want to do some baby-proofing!
You could always throw a baby gate around the tree, but it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing option. One of the best ideas I’ve come across is to hang little bells around the bottom of the tree. If anyone (baby, pet, or over-eager gift shaker) get too close, the bells will sound their arrival!
Pack away the wire hooks. Instead, buy ribbon or cord and tie your ornaments to the tree.
Speaking of ornaments…
You’re probably already planning on keeping the elegant glass baubles wrapped up in favour of shatterproof balls. But, if you’re like me, you probably have a few favourite ornaments that you hate the thought of hiding away for years. Here are a couple of ideas:
Hang a length of ribbon across the top of a bookshelf and dangle a few favourite ornaments. Just be careful not to hang the really heavy ones or it might come crashing down.
Invest in an ornament display tree. These pretty stands display your ornaments and can be put on a shelf or table out of baby’s reach, and they are sturdy enough for the heaviest ornaments.
What goes up, must come down.
If your baby is anything like mine, he’ll grab, pull and try to eat anything he can get his hands on. A festive holiday table setting could come crashing down if he got his hands on it. To preserve your tablescape, secure table runners with duct tape or 3M strips for easy removal later.
Lights. Candles. Action!
It probably goes without saying that candles are not really baby friendly. Switch to the battery operated type for now.
The sparkle of the twinkly Christmas lights may be very enticing for your little one. I love this idea for some sensory play from Lemon Lime Adventures: put some battery operated twinkle lights in a plastic container for your little one to explore.
A Tree of One’s Own
One of the greatest things I’ve seen recently is a felt tree for babies. My little man is probably a bit too young for one this year, but here is one a friend had made for just $25. This lovely little tree will provide hours of play. The felt ornaments stick to the felt tree and can be rearranged endlessly, hopefully distracting little fingers from the bigger tree for a while!
When all else fails…
Pour yourself a glass of wine, dim the lights, and call it good.
PS. Here are 25 things to do before Christmas