Toddler Safe Ways to Trim your Tree
This year we picked out a tree at a cut-your-own farm in Half Moon Bay, and it was a lovely experience, minus the traffic jam on the way out, lest you forget you're in the Bay Area. We brought it home, and I excitedly pulled out the decorations, ready to deck it out in our beautiful, carefully chosen ornaments from years past... years during which we did not also have a toddler in our possession. What ensued was a string of, "please don't!" "babe, she's standing on!" and "honey, set that down, it's glass..." and what we ended up with was a 9-foot tall tree with roughly the top 3 feet decorated and a box full of ornaments headed back down to the basement. When I finished kicking myself for never giving all the shatterproof options out there a second glance, because, who wouldn't want the real deal... I set to work getting creative with toddler-safe options to trim the tree that wouldn't result in a pile of glass. A few days later I had a tree that was fully decorated, my sanity *mostly* intact, and honestly, I think I like it even better this year. At the very least I have a very appreciative audience who stands in front of it wide-eyed every time we flip the lights on.
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1. Clip on Birds, $12 for 6
How sweet are these little guys? They have a clip underneath, meaning they look as though they are perched right on the branches. My toddler can't get enough of them.
9. Felted Balls, $19 for 20 balls
These originally came as a garland so I trimmed the string into sections and tied them into individual ornaments. I like the simplicity of the felt, and it's an easy way to tie your color scheme together and get the tradition ornament shape without the glass.
3. Tassels Dip Dyed, $3 pack (in Target stores only)
One of my favorite solutions was tassels. I had picked up a couple packs of pink dip-dyed tassels in the dollar spot at Target a while back because I was sure I would need them for something... eventually. (I mean how could I not?) I looped them together into sets of two and draped them over the branches.
4. Teal TriColor Tassels, $9 for 4
This set was an Amazon find, and I'm obsessed with them... I think I might need to find a way to reuse them once the holidays are over, earrings maybe? They come ready to hang on a gold loop.
5. Wood Cut Snowflake Ornaments, $4 for 10
Simple. Classic. These are an excellent foundation for a DIY and can be painted to match your own color scheme, but I choose to leave them as is and embrace the natural wood.
6. Gold Dip Dyed Feathers, $12 for aprox. 12 feathers
This came as a garland and I simply cut the string into sections and tied them off to create individual ornaments. They remind me of the decor of our wedding which makes me love them even more.
7. Himmel Ornaments, (similar) $35 for 10
I purchased these last year as a garland at Target and separated them out into ornaments. I like to place them near the front of branches as the open design brings some depth without using clear glass ornaments and they have a modern vibe.
8. Dried Citrus Slices, DIY via Spoon Fork Bacon
Last year I made dried orange slices to include in gift baskets at Christmas time (they are also excellent in tea). I used what I had leftover and hung them with simple wire hooks. I love the stained glass effect when light shines through them.
9. Pinecones, $13 for 24 (similar)
You can pick these up at nearly any craft store, ours came dressed with a bit of gold shimmer, but I think they would look great natural as well.
10. Rose Gold Glitter Stars, $9 for 2 strands
These came sewn into two strands, and instead of modifying them I draped them over the tree like vertical garlands. High impact with little effort and they would look cute in a nursery once the holidays are over.
One thing worth mentioning with so many seemingly disparate elements is keeping a theme in mind will help tie everything together. I looked for natural elements and materials, i.e., natural wood and felt and went with a nature motif with the birds, feathers, and pinecones. I kept the color scheme from previous years, a riff on the traditional red and green using similar hues: pink and mint, emerald and burgundy, plus a healthy dose of shine through metallics, to help blend the glass ornaments at the top with the new additions.
(This post was originally posted in 2017, this year we added a couple more kid-friendly options that I crafted with my now two year-old including some glitter dipped sea-shells to keep with the nature motif and some pretty wax paper snowflakes. It was fun letting her add her own special touches to the tree.)