So. We still haven’t gotten a Christmas tree for the simple reason that we don’t know how to keep our fearless, calamity-prone toddler out of it. I’ve been Googling like crazy for a few weeks: “toddler friendly holiday decorations”, “how to baby proof Christmas tree”, “do we really need a tree this year”, etc. We need to pump up the holiday spirit around here before my preschooler blows a gasket, so I finally found some pretty good options for controlling the chaos and keeping our 1-year old out of the emergency room with holiday-related injuries…




Felt Christmas Tree: These felt trees are so great for the baby/toddler age when everything is still fair game as a snack. Your little elves can decorate and un-decorate their own tree over & over again with kid-safe ornaments, lights and candy canes. Love.


We have a basket of toys in the living room just for our toddler, how cool would it be to fill it with holiday-themed ‘toys’ to make her feel included in decorating and a great way to say “yes!” instead of “no fingers in the outlets!” and “we don’t chew wires!”


Basket: Love the bright colors on this cool geo felt basket, it would look great holding baby’s toys all year.


Giant Jingle Bell: When you’re 2 feet tall, loud things = life. They’re on sale for $1 each, and come in red, silver & gold. I’d get a handful of these large jingle bells and some earplugs and let them go to town.

Silver Knit Crown:  This soft crown is super sweet. Hats are always funny, and you’ll get some great photo ops when they’re not looking!


Ice Skating Rabbit Ornament: I’m so in love with this pretty little bunny ornament, from her stylish gray scarf to the leetle tiny baby bunny in her crossbody purse. Boy version, too! (The baby bunny might be too small for younger toddlers, I’d take it out until they’re older or reinforce the stitch to make sure it stays attached).


Fox Ornament & Polar Bear Ornament: Soft, virtually indestructible ornaments are so good for this age. They can practice hanging them on the real tree, their ears, the cat…


Mini Gift Boxes: For wee folk, the packaging is always more interesting than the present. Toss a few empty gift boxes or small gift bags into their bucket and they’ll be entertained for a while putting things in then giving out (i.e. taking back) the presents. Aww.


Wooden Tree Advent Calendar: I don’t know about you, but I highly do not enjoy chocolate advent calendar sugar highs in the morning that make getting dressed for school a full-contact, dramatic production. Here’s a better way – a wooden advent calendar they can do themselves!


Hanukkah and Gingerbread Holiday Wall Decals: Even the littlest can play with these reusable, repositionable holiday wall decals, just stick them at knee height.


Holiday Countdown Wood Blocks: Yay for blocks! Love this handmade, brightly painted set and you can use it every year. Also available for Hanukkah & Christmas countdowns.


Portable Playpen: aka your savior.  We have this playyard – it’s so lightweight and sturdy, but super easy to fold up into its travel bag. I think this is going to be our solution for the Christmas tree this year – except we’re going to take the baby out and put the tree in. The tall walls will keep little hands out, but it’s easy to lean over to water the tree. Hey presto!


Reader Anne had a great question about decorating when you’re traveling on the holidays (lucky duck, she’ll be skiing with the fam), and a lot of these ideas are great for hotel rooms or rental condos, especially the window clings and removable wall decals. Some other travel-friendly holiday decor that involves the kiddos:
  1. Bring the holiday cards you’ve received on the trip and let them cut shapes from the cards and glue into a collage, you’ll have faces you love along for the trip to make it seem more like home.
  2. Paper advent calendars so cool you don’t miss the chocolate (they might) that you can start at home and bring on the trip
  3. A perfectly sized small photo album of your family’s old holiday pictures – my daughter’s fascinated with ones from our childhoods
  4. Older kids can make paper snowflakes or construction paper chains in holiday colors that don’t have to be packed up for the trip home.
  5. Since Anne will be in the mountains skiing, I assume there are trees around? Gather a few small branches and pop them in cups around the condo, they smell great and can be a stand-in for a tree if you squint really hard.
More ideas below!

Baby Proof Holiday Decorations

Mamas & Papas – I’m dying to hear your holiday decor babyproofing tips. My older daughter wasn’t crawling on her first Christmas and was also a lot less of a daredevil juggernaut than baby sister, so I could use your wisdom to keep me sane.


  1. In addition to the unbreakable bottom-of-the-tree ornaments, our big trick was to get the pokiest tree we could find. In our area, that was a blue spruce. It was uncomfortable for little hands to grab at the tree, so they left it alone a little better.

  2. For Anne who was asking about decorations while traveling – battery operated fairy lights! Easy to pack, no worries for plugs and add a festive flow even over something silly or not christmas related.

  3. I went to Pier 1 a few days ago and picked up a bunch of those jingle bells. My 10 month old adores them!! We keep them in a little bucket on the tree and let her play with them supervised. She shakes them and chases them as they roll on the floor. Thanks for the idea!

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