I love the holidays, but there’s a lot of things connected with them that could potentially be dangerous with a toddler in the house. Last year, I erected a giant barricade around our Christmas tree using boxes filled with cinder blocks and covered in wrapping paper to keep it festive. This prevented L, who was pulling herself up to stand using anything she could get her hands on, from pulling a large Christmas tree over on herself. This year, I wanted to allow L to participate in some of our Christmas traditions while still keeping it safe for her. We usually get a very large tree and hang it with our collection of ornaments — many of them glass. I had seen L’s enthusiasm and awe when she noticed decorated trees at stores, so I knew touching the ornaments would be a huge temptation for her.
A week before we got our regular Christmas tree, I went to Michael’s and bought a small (4 foot) pre-lit tree that would be just for L — an even smaller tree would have been better, but this was the smallest I could find. I bought some cheap shatter-proof ornaments and some plastic-coated ornament hooks. I wrapped the wire of the hooks around each ornament so they wouldn’t separate and put all of the ornaments in a basket next to L’s tree. L was so excited to decorate her tree all by herself! Because she’s a true Montessori child, when L had finished putting all the ornaments up, she promptly took each one down and put it back in the basket. I swear that was completely her idea — I would have been fine with leaving them up. L loves hanging up her ornaments each day and then putting them back in the basket. It’s a great gross and fine motor activity, and it allows for some artistic expression in L’s placement of the ornaments.
Now that we have our big tree up with glass ornaments, any time L looks like she’s going to touch our tree, we point her over to her tree. My big tree is still up and intact, so I’m calling it a success!