This is my first Christmas with a toddler at home, and I have been filled with anticipation of seeing my son’s reaction to the lighted, decorated, sentimental, 8 foot masterpiece that is our Christmas tree. Fueled by eagerness and enthusiasm, the Christmas tree (it’s artificial) and all of our boxes of ornaments were brought up from the basement the day before Thanksgiving in an effort to maximize the amount of time that the tree is up in our house this season – I typically take the tree down in early January. What I didn’t know at the time was that my twinkling thoughts of grandeur were trimmed with the naiveté of an amateur. As it turns out, decorating a tree with a toddler is an entirely different process and experience than what I’m used to.
- I used to put up the tree, string the lights, and decorate it in one day. This year it took me 4.
- The lower third of the tree contains only non-breakable ornaments and hanging baubles that don’t require a hook. Since I have fewer than 20 ornaments that meet those standards, the lower third of the tree is rather bare.
- I didn’t even bother to hang an entire boxful of breakable ornaments. They’re still nestled within their storage container that was taken right back down to the basement where it will remain until next Christmas…maybe.
- Shatterproof ornaments. That’s the funniest joke I’ve heard all week.
- The Christmas tree is the equivalent of a new toy that contains lots of individual, removable toys called ornaments. Yes, it means there are extra toys to pick up at the end of each day (in my case about 20). But, because I’m me, I’ll put a joyful spin on this bullet point.
- They are “new” toys that I didn’t have to go out and purchase.
- Every once in a while he places an ornament back on its branch – unexpected fine motor skill development.
- Jingle bells make marvelous toys that meet the previously stated safety considerations (so long as they can’t be swallowed).
- Apparently it takes a one-year-old with a love of lights and repetitive “light off, light off” commentary to prompt me to finally change the burnt out bulbs on our strands of lights.
- I used to only turn the tree lights on in the evening. Used to. Refer back to the one-year-old with a love of lights. They’re now on all day long.
- Wrapped presents under the tree. Just kidding. I’m not even going there. They’re staying hidden until Christmas Eve night.
These are my observations and takeaways after just a handful of days of having a Christmas tree up in our house with a toddler. His reaction to the tree has been fun in both anticipated and unexpected ways. Even still, I’m not sure our tree will make it to see January of 2016.