Since my grandson’s birth, he has always had a Christmas tree in his own room during he holidays. While the tree has changed and evolved with each passing year, he continues to use some of the ornaments and ideas that have always been a part of his personal celebration.
Decorating a tree for a baby or toddler room may seem extreme. However, it is a tradition that has been a part of my family for as far back as I can remember. My twin sisters were barely six months old when I decorated the first tree of its kind for their nursery. That tradition passed on to my baby sister, my own children and now to my grandchildren.
The key to decorating a tree for a child’s room obviously lies in choosing safe items for the decorations. The other factor is making sure the tree has a special meaning for the child involved.
For example, one year, we decorated my grandson’s tree with all of his favorite miniature stuffed animals. Another year, it was adorned with the train cars from his train table, etc.
Below are some of my favorite ideas for decorating a Christmas tree for the room of the special child in your life. To get started, you will need to gather a few things:
Small Christmas tree;
Yarn or ribbon,
Step 1. Decide upon a theme for the tree. It can be general in nature (toy land) or very specific (Toy Story).
For example, when my twin sisters were small, one year, I used miniature books to decorate their tree. Every night, they would choose one of the books for their bedtime story. After that, books became an important tradition for them at Christmas time.
Step 2. Gather items that will fit within the chosen theme. For example, a general toy land theme would allow you use virtually any kind of safe toy. This could include miniature stuffed animals, tiny dolls, racecars, etc. For a specific theme; however, you will want to gather things that fit within the theme’s perimeters.
Note: The miniature toys given out in Kids Meals at places like McDonalds and Burger King are perfect for a child’s tree and they often come with a specific theme (e.g., Barbie, Toy Story, Thomas the Train, etc.).
For a tree for a baby’s room, think about choosing things that have special meaning to the child. For example, when my twin sisters were tiny, I used their newborn baby booties, baby rattlers, teething rings, hair bows, etc. to decorate their first tree. While they no longer have those items to remember, they do have pictures of them in conjunction with the tree.
Hard candy can make a good ornament option for an older child’s tree. However, be careful not to overdo the theme in the event that junior decides to have a little snack.
Step 3. Make a garland. The most obvious choice is a chain garland made from construction paper. Others would include popcorn, cranberries or even blue berries. Just make sure the child in question is old enough to eat those things and suffers no allergy to them since chances are good that he or she will be tempted to take a bite.
For my sisters’ first tree, I strung together a garland made from diaper pins. It was cute and absolutely safe at the time because they were just six months old.
For toddlers it is important to use items that won’t hurt them should they get in the mood to chew on them. For example, one year I strung hard gel candies on my grandson’s tree. Afterwards, I noticed that he did take a bite out of one or two, but that elicited no harm.
Step 4. Skip the lights. Putting lights on a tree for a child’s room is too dangerous, especially if the child is still teething. There will plenty of time for them to enjoy the sparkling of tree lights in later years.
Step 5. Decide how to hang the items you have chosen to use. I do not recommend using traditional ornament hooks or wire. Instead, choose yarn or ribbon. It can be easily removed to return toys to their original condition once Christmas is over.
Step 6. Secure the hangers to the ornament items. Glue is an obvious choice; however, be sure to use glue that is safe just in case junior decides he needs to chew. If you can, just string the items without using glue.
Step 7. Hang some of the ornaments, while setting others inside the tree. Larger stuffed animals or dolls might not be suitable for hanging. However, they usually work well for plugging the holes between tree branches.
If you are using hard candy as ornaments, be sure to leave the wrappers in tact. That way, the sugar won’t generate interest among creepy crawlies. Trust me, if junior decides he wants that lollipop, he’ll figure out how to get the wrapper off.
Step 8. Use colorful bows to fill in the gaps. Make your own or purchase some of the pre-made ones traditionally used for gift-wrapping.
Get creative and have fun with the personalizing the tree to the child’s specific interests. It will become a tradition he or she will love.