3 tips for protecting your kids and your Holiday decorations from each other

Decorating for Christmas and Hanukkah is one of my favourite things to do out of the whole year. I love stringing up garland, tying bows on just about every candle I own, and blowing the dust off my Nutcracker collection. But Holiday decorating also presents extra hazards for little ones who are crawling or toddling around. Especially if they can’t yet (or pretend not to) understand simple commands/statements like, “don’t touch” or “Mommy just bought that.”

If you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah this year for the first time with your munchkin (or if you’re just tired of reading about all the amaaaaazing decorations people are making/putting up) here are the three tips you’ll need for decking your home festively, while making sure your kid(s) won’t smash or swallow something they shouldn’t.

Respect the imaginary line – This is a line that we all have in our homes and its height is set based on a mathematical formula involving a kid’s age and propensity to get their hands on things.  Your line will be your saving grace if you respect. Simply, do not put up decorations (or anything of significant value) below this line. Just don’t. You may think you’ll be able to intercept interactions between the kid and the stuff, and you might be able to…but I guarantee the constant and repetitious interventions will become tiresome after about the 75th time. Put whatever you want above the line…Nutcracker-styled teapots, jars of pot pourri…whatever you like. Just stay above the line unless you don’t mind your decorations being picked up, picked at, dropped, eaten or drooled on by little elves.

Don’t panic – If your child happens to get a hold of something they shouldn’t, slow your breathing, your pulse and your movements. You may feel the pressure building, but you will need to squash it, swallow it and zip your lips shut. They will look you right in the eye, and pull even harder on whatever it is they have a grip on if you make a fuss. If it’s the Christmas tree itself, proceed with extreme caution. Pretend like you’re not actually looking at them and inch forward until you can reach out and very nonchalantly remove a fistful of pine needles from sticky little fingers. Or, if your child is about to smash a glass ornament, calmly take it away, point them towards the dog/cat, and remind yourself that you can’t have nice things. If you freak out, a couple of things could happen. You may startle them into actually having an accident, or they may want to repeat the action just to see your reaction.

Employ some local talent – We don’t advocate child labour, but we do think it’s very important for you to try to get your kids to help in some way. Why? Aren’t we trying to keep them away from the decorations? Yes. So we’re going to use reverse psychology to our advantage. If you want them to stay away from the decorations, try to get them to participate. I can pretty much guarantee this will work and will have an oil/water affect on their attraction to the decorations. Or maybe it’s just my daughter who likes to do the exact opposite of what I ask her to do? :S

Well, that’s my advice and I hope you find it a little bit helpful…or maybe it was good for a laugh. Do you have any tips to add, or would you like to share an experience about your kids mixing well or not so well with Christmas or Hanukkah decorations? Tell me…or better yet, show me by sending a pic that I may share!

Thanks to my friend K for talking me through the last tip 🙂

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