6 Steps to a Baby-Friendly Christmas Tree

I always have high hopes for my Christmas tree. We love fresh-cut real trees, with delicate bulbs, and perfectly color-coordinated decor.  But I have kids -- lots of them, and it seems like, every other year, there is a baby walking and climbing and ready to take down my beautiful tree!

While some of my friends with new toddlers have decided to skip the tree altogether, I really can't have Christmas without a tree! Here is how we compromised the tree of our dreams with the tree that works for a curious and mischievous toddler in the house!

1. Get a fake. I love the smell of fresh-cut pines. But not enough to deal with the possibility of splashing hands in watering trays and pulled-apart pine branches. We bought a small and simple pre-lit tree from our local Walmart for under $40. It was perfect for putting up and taking down without fuss.  It also stays green without the water mess. (If you love the smell of a real tree, I suggest the icicles that give the scent of a tree to your fake one.)

2. Put it up. When we say "put up the tree", we really mean it! I have a Lane cedar chest that has been passed down to me that is the perfect height to get the tree out of little one's reach. It has a nice wide surface for the tree and presents! We do everything the same as we would on the ground, but just a bit more elevated.

3. Hide the cords. Lights can be a safe thing to have around baby, provided they can't yank or bite on the cords. I put a power strip behind the chest that I plug the tree into. It's out of sight (which means out of mind.)

4. Use safer lights.  I love the vintage appearance of ceramic lights. Unfortunately, these are just asking for baby breakage. Walmart has a nice selection of ceramic-look lights in the same size and shape of my vintage ones. They are LED, too, which means a little extra energy savings!

5. Go with unbreakable.  There really is no reason to use glass bulbs anymore (unless they are of sentimental value.)  The shatterproof bulbs look beautiful, and you can also go with glitter icicles or hand-sewn "stuffies." We have some treasured family favorites that we've had for years; the safe ones go on the tree, while the others stay put away for later years. Candy canes still make good "safe" decorations, just leave them for the upper branches! You might also want to create some safer adornments using Perler Beads like my daughter did!

6. Skip tinsel. There really is no safe way to have tinsel on your tree with baby around. Even if you can keep the baby away, they tend to fall off as the season goes on, presenting a choking hazard for your little one.

You can also set the example that baby is to never touch the tree, but I try to be realistic. By making the tree pretty safe from the beginning, you can rest a little easier knowing that even the most strong-willed of children can enjoy the tree without a disaster this holiday season!

Do you have a baby or active toddler in the house? Will you put up a tree this season?


  1. For about a week after putting up our tree my husband and I sounded like broken records, telling the toddler and the cat not to bother the tree! Now, they have both gotten used to it being there and mostly leave it alone (mostly.) Unbreakable ornaments are a must! We also set up a toddler-safe train to help distract her because when she is busy playing with the Christmas train she forgets about the Christmas tree!

  2. That's such a great idea, Renee! We did put a few toys on the ground in front of the tree, along with a few really big, safe ornaments (you can see him holding them in the photo.) Distraction is key at this age, isn't it?


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