O Christmas tree. Uh oh Christmas tree.
(Today at Sweetspot I’m sharing my holiday shopping secrets.)
Look at this tree. It’s perfectly festively decorated. The lights shimmer. The fragile ornaments glisten. It practically begs for beautifully wrapped presents. It belongs on the cover of a magazine designed to inspire overworked women to reach for unattainable goals. You must be wondering how we keep such an immaculately festooned tree in a house with a toddler? The simple answer is we don’t.
This tree is not our tree. It’s Grandma’s tree.
Grandma can decorate her tree like this because Grandma doesn’t have a fulltime toddler in the house. Grandma only has a visiting toddler. Our tree does not look like Grandma’s tree.
Our tree is a toddler tree.
A toddler tree has few ornaments, and the ones it does have are made of wood, unbreakable plastic, popcorn, or by other children.
The base of the tree is undecorated. All ornamentation begins at 2 feet above the ground – out of toddler reach.
Toddler trees often have no lights. No lights means no electricity. No electricity means no electrical cord for a toddler to chew on or unplug.
The sad Charlie Brown Christmas tree with its one ornament was a perfect toddler tree, provided that one ornament was unbreakable and that it was before those meddling Peanuts un-baby-proofed the tree by decorating it to the nines.
Our Christmas tree is definitely a toddler tree. And our toddler was surprisingly unfazed by its presence. Of course when it arrived the tree sat in its stand unadorned for over a week. Jobs, toddler care, and sheer parental exhaustion made tree trimming a low priority.
Then one night, we ignored the dishes and decorated the tree. Boxes of ornaments emerged from the basement. We unwrapped nice ornaments, beautiful ornaments, hand-blown glass ornaments, and the like. We unwrapped those ornaments, stared at them briefly and then sent them back to the basement. Assuring ourselves they’d return after the toddler years.
Our tree was decorated with the other ornaments, the harmless and supposedly unbreakable ones.
Our toddler was quite interested in these ornaments. They were toys to her and the tree simply a triangular coniferous toy box. The unfortunate few “unbreakable” ornaments that we placed within her reach were quickly removed from the tree with her tiny little Grinch-like fingers. Some of these “unbreakable” ornaments found their way to her actual toy box. Others broke into pieces as she threw them to the ground.
Since all of the low-hanging ornaments have been removed our daughter mostly ignores the tree. It’s become wallpaper to her. She’s unaware of its purpose but on Christmas morning when brightly wrapped presents appear under its boughs. Well, she’ll probably ignore those too.