I love me a pretty Christmas tree, but we all know that glass ornaments and babies are not a match made in heaven! Before we had kiddos, we usually put up a small-ish Christmas tree in our main floor living room filled with shiny and sparkly glass ornaments - but I always knew that once kids came along I wanted to put a larger tree in our basement family room. Last year was Beckett's first Christmas, and we promptly bought a new, larger Christmas tree (pre-lit = bonus!). But as I began thinking about how to decorate, two questions lingered in my mind: (1) What to do with all of those delicate glass ornaments to keep them safely out of Beckett's little hands without leaving them packed away for years?; and (2) How to decorate the new Christmas tree in a baby-friendly manner? I'll share my answer to question #1 soon, but today, let's chat about question #2. I'll give you a hint ... the answer involves a lot of felt!
When it comes to decorating a baby-friendly Christmas tree, the "don'ts" are pretty simply: nothing breakable, nothing heavy or sharp that could fall and hurt baby, nothing small enough for baby to choke on - including items that shed, like tinsel. When you have babies and toddlers around, it's a lot easier to figure out what not to put on the tree than it is to figure out what to put on the tree. I read some suggestions online that suggested only hanging ornaments on the top half of the tree, but that didn't make sense to me because even a baby that's just learning to roll or crawl could tug on a lower branch, wiggle the tree, and knock an ornament off of a higher branch.
At Christmas last year, Beckett was nearly a year old and was totally mobile and already becoming mischievous. So, I made it my mission to seek out decorations that would allow us to have a baby-friendly Christmas tree - top to bottom - that would still look stylish and festive. What we ended up with is a tree that I love so much I can't imagine we'll change a thing for quite a few years - even once our kids outgrow the need for baby-proofing.
What could be softer and more child friendly than felt? I think we got extremely lucky last year, because felt ornaments and garland seemed to be in abundance everywhere we went. We bought the white wool-felt garland from West Elm (also available this year in pretty multi-colored strands from The Land of Nod).
We also covered the tree in white snowflake ornaments that we purchased last year at Target. I love so many things about these snowflakes - the $1 price tag, the 3mm thickness (making them sturdy enough to withstand tearing even when little hands tug on them), and, most of all, the size. I really think its the large scale of these snowflakes that makes the biggest statement on our Christmas tree!
Unfortunately, Target isn't selling these snowflake ornaments again this year (luckily I stocked up last year, because we are also using these snowflakes for another holiday decorating project that I'll share with you soon). But if you are looking for felt snowflake ornaments, you'll find similar ones in red and white at West Elm, as well as from a number of Etsy sellers. Or, if you are up for a DIY project, you buy some felt at your local fabric store and make your own snowflake ornaments.
Last year West Elm was also selling felt snowflakes in orange, of all colors. I couldn't believe my luck since our basement is decorated primarily in grey, white and orange. I wasn't sure whether I could pull off orange on a Christmas tree, but after adding a handful of orange snowflakes to our sea of white decorations, I love how it pops!
And while we're chatting about felt ornaments, how cute are these white felt snowmen? I can't remember whether I picked these up at Michael's or Hobby Lobby - I spend too much time at both stores, so they start to blur together in my mind.
We also found some fantastic yarn ornaments to mix in with all of our felt decor. These white pom pom ornaments came from West Elm last year.
And these giant sweater ball ornaments came from Target. Once again, it's the large scale of these that I really love! That, and the fact that they weigh almost nothing - keeping things soft and safe!
With all the felt and yarn ornaments on our tree, I still wanted to add a little something for a little sparkle and bling. We started by twisting some wide, shiny silver ribbon deep within the branches to add dimension and reflect the lights.
Next we added these iridescent stars that are made of a super thick, but very lightweight plastic. The points of the stars are a bit rounded, preventing them from being sharp and pokey for little hands. I adore how these stars bounce the light around!
Finally, we added a handful of silver bell ornaments to the tree for a bit more bling. These are my boys' favorites, as they can pull them off the lower branches and ring them to their hearts' content!
I just love how our baby-friendly Christmas tree turned out! Nothing makes my heart as happy as something that's both practical and beautiful!
I should also point out another important element that makes this tree baby-friendly - no metal hooks. All of our ornaments are hung by either a ribbon, yarn, or string loop. In creating a baby-friendly Christmas tree, if you opt the plastic, shatter proof globe ornaments that can be found at most stores, keep in mind that they'll most likely still come with metal hooks for hanging. Remove the hooks and replace them with a ribbon or yarn loops for a safer option.
And one more detail I should point out... our tree skirt was another Target find last year. I love men's suit patterns, so this grey herringbone tree skirt immediately caught my eye. When we bought it, it had a red blanket stitched border that didn't work with our orange color scheme, but my mom was able to easily replace it with a white border using embroidery thread (thanks, Mom!).
Now a few more pictures just for fun. Here are the boys helping us put ornaments on the tree this past weekend...
Beckett enjoyed tossing the pom pom ornaments just as much as he enjoyed putting them on the tree - further proving the need for baby-friendly decorations.
Here is what the tree looks like all lit up at night...
And, finally, here's what the tree looked like on Christmas morning last year with all our presents underneath. I can't wait to put presents under the tree for both my boys this year - but in the interest of baby-proofing, we'll wait until Christmas Eve. The temptation is just too great for a two year old!
Is anyone else decorating a baby-friendly Christmas tree this year? I'll be back soon to share the details on how we are displaying all of our glass ornaments, also in a baby-friendly manner.
Looking for more Christmas inspiration? You might be interested in these projects:
Labels: Baby Proofing, Christmas, Christmas Tree, Ornaments