Protecting the Christmas Tree

Updated on November 21, 2011
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
21 answers

Husband and I are disagreeing. I suggested putting the Christmas tree up the day after thanksgiving, just like every year. He says no way, the one year old will be all over that tree and it will be a nightmare.

He has some crazy idea of getting a gate (like one that goes in a semi-circle) to put around the tree to try to keep baby away from it. I think that is a little silly, and while I am not against it, I can't find one cheap (the one I found is over $100) and I know he won't put effort into finding one.

I say, teach baby to stay away from it, he has to learn somehow/sometime. It is our job as parents to redirect and teach.
He says no tree without fence.


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So What Happened?

ps - I already decided the bottom half of the tree won't be decorated. =)

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answers from San Antonio on

We just put it up with all plastic ornaments and kept the breakable ones packed up.

They lose interest pretty fast...and yes, you will have to rehang a few ornaments.

No gate...just a rule of "no touch".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

You can put up the tree. Put only non-breakable ornaments at the bottom, and attach that bugger to the ceiling or a nearby wall (use a hook and twine). That way, if little one gets into a dance with the tree, it will stay up.

Then simply work with baby to show him that the tree is just like any other "pretty." Look, but no touching!

It's a good time to can't put a gate around everything that might fall or break!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Richmond on

No fence, at 1, the kid knows the word 'no'.

Trust me, I had the same argument with my husband last year ;)

My son had turned 1 4 days before Christmas last year... he didn't fool with it after the first time I flew across the room going NOOOOOOOO!! ;)

We still put the Martha Stewart 'unbreakable' ornaments at the bottom for safety sake, but really, he doesn't mess with it, and he's almost 2 now :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

We got some very large boxes and wrapped them shoved them in the corner and that was that. Kids were kept away from the tree and I did not spend a load just for the tree. You could also get a small tree and put it up on a table or the bar so your little one could not reach it. My kids would mess with everything on our tree but would not touch your neighbors/friends or familys tree!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


My husband put our tree up two weeks ago. I have had to pick it up and redecorate it like ten times....My question was going to be....How do you keep an active Special needs kid out of the tree??

I found my youngest playing baseball with the breakable glass balls. Across the living!!

at that moment I realized this was going to be a LONG November/ December:)

So I am excited to read responses:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

When our kids were that age we pushed the coffee table (large square one) in the corner and put the tree up on that. We made sure there were no glass/sharp ornaments near the bottom. Of course it was kind of a pain because the little ones still had to be watched/redirected constantly but there was NO way we would NOT have a tree!
How about a compromise? Instead of putting it up the day after Thanksgiving wait a week or two so it's not up for as long.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I never had a big problem keeping the kids away from the tree. I just kept telling them no and no touch and they stayed away. However.... the cat was a totally different thing. I can't tell you how many times I found the cat half-way up the tree, or came home to find the tree completely devoid of ornaments all around the bottom half. I was finding ball ornaments under furniture for months after I took the tree down.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I wouldn't do the gate but that's just me. I have heard of people doing it, but I almost wonder if that creates more curiousity as to why it's barricaded! ;) When my kids were little, like 1-2ish (my son is only 2 so I'm certainly not in the clear yet! ;) I stopped putting on the breakable ornaments and just did the plastic ones. They were interested in it at first but the longer it was up the less interested they were in messing with it! We also put little bells on the bottoms of the branches so that if someone started feeling around we'd hear it! I'd just put it up and I'm sure it will be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would totally gate in the tree. Honestly, trying to teach a 1 year old not to touch the tree will be an exercise in frustration and I could just see him potentially pulling it down when your back is turned for just a second. Yes, they need to learn and we need to teach them, but we can also sometimes just make it easier on ourselves and save us some headaches. Hopefully it will just be for this year and that will be it.

p.s. Read your other post - I'm really glad hubby is getting some help, but like others have said, I hope he won't use it as an excuse for his behavior. He may be dealing with this all his life, so I hope it works out for you all. Good luck!



answers from New York on

regardless of what you decide about the fence, you might want to consider tying the tree to the wall, so it won't be a tipping hazard.

our boy is 13.5 months. we'll be putting up the 7' tree, with unbreakable ornaments. you can get "balls" and "baubles" from the $1 store at 50/$5.99.

We'll be waiting till next weekend, and won't be using a fence/ gate.

Good luck to you and yours, and to us as well.



answers from Los Angeles on

We didn't use a fence for our 1 year old, and after about a day, he got pretty bored with it. We STILL haven't started putting any breakable ornaments on - only silver bells, and the fun, non-breakable ones from both of our childhoods (and of course, the new ones for our kids). We have a fake tree but we were still worried about him tipping it over on himself. I did have to pick up a few ornaments each day & put them back on the tree.
I think that you can teach your kids to "only touch with their eyes". However, if it's causing so much conflict between you & your husband, why not give in? Having a fence doesn't mean you need to not enjoy your holiday traditions. You could even add some garland & lights to the fence, or cover it in some nice red or green fabric & make it look Christmassy, and fun. Don't let it ruin your holiday season.
And - if he can't find something reasonably priced, maybe THAT's what he gets for Christmas...



answers from Dallas on

A fence would not have stopped my curious kiddos. They would have used it to climb higher. We have always put our tree up right after Thanksgiving. But between the ages of 1 and 3, we put up plastic ornaments. A few special and glass ornaments on the top. It's been no big deal. The funny thing is my cheapie box of plastic ornaments I picked up at Big Lots often get more compliments than my pretty glass ornaments. We just reminded them the tree was pretty to look at, but we don't touch. Last year we even added a train to the mix. It was a Thomas train so it couldn't be hurt, but they enjoyed watching it so much, our daughter didn't mess with it (she was 2, or son knew better at 5). I can't remember any real issues with the tree with either child. Now keeping our daughter from unwrapping presents has been a lost cause (hopefully not this year since our youngest is now 3) and those had to get stored higher until Christmas eve.


answers from St. Louis on

I went with put the tree up but lights only on the part of the tree the child could get to. That way you can teach no touch without anything getting broken.



answers from Pittsburgh on

On his second Christmas, my son was 22 months. That was the end of my "pretty tree"!
I wouldn't want a tree with a gate around it...really, would you?
Just kid-proof it the best you can no or unbreakable ornaments at the bottom.



answers from San Francisco on

I agree with hubby. I remember when my granddaughter was one and we had a tree. Don't plan to even go to the bathroom alone while the tree is up. Even though they lower half won't be decorated, he will be able to pull the tree down on top of himself. My granddaughter pulled our tree over two times! I say, if you don't have a fence, then you have to watch your little one every second (not even go into the other room for a half second) or get a little tree you can set on a table top just for this year.


answers from Lansing on

I vote to teach your child to stay away, although plan on your 1 year old to be persistent. Might not be a bad idea to put it up a little later this year.


answers from Houston on

For the last several years, because the kids were so young, I left off the lower branches on our artificial tree so that the littlest couldn't reach the ornaments. This year I'm putting my son's train tracks around it and hoping for the best ;)


answers from Norfolk on

We did the fence thing with the tree.
It was worth it.
We did watch our son every minute with the tree but they get really fast sometimes and don't have the sense to leave it be till they are almost 4.
It's easy for a toddler to fall backwards into it.
My husband remembers a Christmas tree falling over on him when he was very young and he didn't want that happening to our son.
It you are going to try it without protection, make sure everything on that tree is plastic/non breakable (not just the lower portion) because if the whole thing does a 'Timber!' on you, the force of hitting the floor from 6 ft or more up is still enough to break some plastic ornaments.



answers from Portland on

I suggest that a 1 yo is not able to stay away from such an enticing tree. At that age they have very little ability to remember and they have no impulse control.

How is he about staying away from the TV and other things you tell him no to? Some toddlers are more compliant and telling them no seems to work. You know your baby and whether or not you would have one long hassle.

Our family has always had a small tree put up on something out of reach when your babies were toddlers.



answers from Los Angeles on

The first year we put the tree up on a stable end table so it was up high.
Hubby hooked it to the wall so it wouldn't be pulled down (it was a good
thing we did this.
Next year we found a cheap toddler fence to put around the whole thing.
This year we will put it in the corner on the floor & work to keep him away from it.
Last year bought plastic bulb ornaments @ Wal-mart putting those down
low & our cute ones from years past way up high.
Happy Holidays!


answers from San Francisco on

You know, I never had any trouble with the Christmas tree and our kids. Not even with my youngest child, who would lick electrical sockets and climb curtains if you let her. I would always have the child "help" me decorate the tree with non-breakable items on the bottom of the tree. Maybe buy some plastic or other soft type of ornaments. And then I would let them know that the tree is just for looking, not for touching. They were surprisingly cooperative about it. My kids were 15 months and 18 months at Christmas time.

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