How to put up your Christmas Tree with a Toddler

It’s no secret that Mrs Lighty loves Christmas. On the whole in life, I am a less is more kinda gal. That is until Christmas descends in the Lighty household, and then it’s definitely a case of more is more. I have some sort of obsessive compulsive Christmas bauble disorder, and I just can’t seem to help myself but add to my collection wherever we go. This does mean that we’ve got lots of weird and wonderful baubles from the world over, many of which hold lots of sentimental value to me. Many of which aren’t really suitable for a Christmas tree with a toddler in the house.

Not only are these precious decorations not really suitable for a Christmas tree with a toddler around, but they are also not really suitable when said toddler is a complete whirlwind who does not stop and is into everything. Especially when said toddler is really into ‘helping’ Mummy and Daddy with their daily chores. Chores which are likely to include putting up the Christmas tree.

Needless to say, the thought therefore of putting up the Christmas tree with a toddler in tow has had Mrs Lighty in a spin for a few weeks months now, but with Christmas fast approaching, this weekend we have just had to take the plunge and go for it.

So, here is a handy (ahem!) guide on how you put up your Christmas tree with a toddler:

1. Fret about putting up your Christmas tree with a toddler in tow for weeks months on end. Seriously, the thought of having your precious decorations in reach of your sticky-fingered, unbalanced one year old is enough to make you consider not putting your tree up at all.

2. Tell Mr Lighty not to put Baby Lighty’s old playpen in the loft, just in case you need it to put round the tree as Christmas bauble protection.

3. Downscale Christmas this year and opt to only put up one tree instead of your usual two.

4. Decide that it’s probably best to try to do the majority of the decorating during naptime. Surely if the toddler wakes up and the tree is just there, and he hasn’t seen you touching it, then he won’t want to touch it, right?!

5. Remember that, actually, you need to use naptime to tidy up your living room which looks like it’s been hit by Hurricane Baby Lighty before you can even think about putting up the tree.

6. Toddler wakes up just as you’re getting the boxes of decorations down from the loft. On seeing them there are many exclamations of “what’s this?!” from the toddler. Instantly a slight unease goes through you and you hear yourself saying “we have to be careful now!” every two minutes.

Toddler and boxes.

Much excitement was generated by the boxes coming down from the loft…


7. Frighten the toddler slightly by getting out the snowman decoration which is taller than him. Be tempted to place the snowman in front of the tree to keep guard over it.


Toddler and snowman.

This is the closest that the Toddler would get to the snowman. He also seems to think that his carrot nose is a beak, as he keeps saying “quack, quack!” to it!


8. Start to place baubles on the tree. Try to encourage the toddler to help. This pretty much involves the baubles being thrown onto the tree.

9. Give up trying to get him to help in the way you’d like him to. After all, you’ll only end up rearranging the decorations so that they’re not all grouped in one tiny space afterwards if you let him help too much, anyway.

10. Put all of the non-breakable items at the bottom of the tree. Your fragile baubles from the other side of the world are either going at the top of the tree, or are staying in their boxes this year after the downsize from two trees to one!

11. Enjoy a moment of pure terror when you hear the toddler announce “ball!” before hearing something bouncing on your wooden floors…yep, that’d be one of your pretty baubles that he’s using to practice his ball throwing skills with.

12. Mr Lighty decides at this point that it’s better not to put up the Christmas tree with a toddler. Calls reinforcements in the shape of Mother and Father-in-Law Lighty. Packs Baby Lighty off to his grandparents for a few hours.

13. Carry on decorating the tree in peace.

14. Mourn the fact that many of your decorations won’t see the light of day this year.

15. Debate how to decide whether you put a decoration on the tree simply because you love it, or whether to keep it safe because it’s so irreplaceable? The likes of the brash-but-beautiful Las Vegas bauble are therefore safely (I hope!) ensconced at the top of the tree, nestled in a little cocoon of branches, but the ones from Disney World Florida and Disneyland California with the year that we visited stamped on them

are put back into their tissue paper for future years. After all, unless the time machine is invented, they are irreplaceable!

16. During the mourning process, debate whether you should get your second tree out after all?!

17. Decide that no, trying to keep the toddler away from one tree is going to test your sanity enough over the next three weeks, let alone two.

18. Retrieve Baby Lighty from his grandparents. Tentatively ask them how he has been around their tree during his visit.

19. Feel your heart melt when not only does Baby Lighty exclaim “wow!” at the sight of his home decorated for Christmas, but also does a little happy dance in the middle of the living room.

Christmas tree.

The completed tree. With an apparently drunk angel on the top…


20. Realise, that after all of your months of worry, Baby Lighty actually isn’t that bothered by the decorations, after all!

So there we go. All that worry and – touch wood – so far, so good! Let’s just hope that those baubles that I decided I loved too much to keep safe in the loft make it through the next few weeks…

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85 thoughts on “How to put up your Christmas Tree with a Toddler”

  1. Haha I love your “drunk” angel – ours is always drunk too – and your tree is so pretty! We spent 3 years jamming our tree into a corner behind a table so that little hands couldn’t reach. It’s blimmin hard work isn’t it? Brilliant post as always lovely x

  2. We have favoured the tried and tested ‘tree up when kids in bed’ approach – I reckon next year we might promote Tigs to being involved, but the mouse is way too excitable! One day…maybe…
    PS Your tree is lovely

    1. Ah thank you. Yes I think next year we’ll do it while he’s in bed!! Only another two and a bit weeks for it to survive though, right?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam xxx

    1. Aargh!! When you say pulled it down, do you mean COMPLETELY PULLED IT OVER?!! Nightmare!! When do you think they’ll get over this trend?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam xxx

  3. I remember this and it is actually why I introduced a second tree when Miss D was 2 or 3 (she’s now 13). It means I get to decorate my tree how I want it decorated and the kids can do whatever they want with theirs and at age 11, I must say Miss L has done a fab job of the kid tree this year. Have a fun Christmas! #DreamTeam x

    1. I definitely think I’ll do this in years to come. For me, it’s less about the decorating as our tree is extremely mismatched anyway, and more about I don’t want things broken!! We have decorations from as far away as California which couldn’t be replaced. Many of those are in their boxes for the time being!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  4. My worry this year was our two dogs…but they seem pretty disinterested too! You’ve summed up exactly what it’s like though – stressful when others are involved in the ritual! Thank goodness for Grandparents 🙂 Alison x #DreamTeam

    1. Ha!! Thanks so much!! Well we’ve survived a week and a bit of it being up so far, so so far so good!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  5. We put up the tree with the pre-schooler but the toddler was napping! He hasn’t actually shown any sign of pulling the tree over just yet, but I’m on constant watch just in case! #DreamTeam

    1. This is what I wanted to do, until I realised that I ought to do some serious tidying first!! Oops!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  6. So cute! We put our decorations up whilst Little H was napping and then ‘revealed’ them when we brought her down. She was so excited by “la lights” and kept running back and forth. We get lots of “wow”s too! She’s grabbed a few baubles off the tree but she’s starting to leave them alone now. La Lights must be on at all times though…that’s non negotiable! #DreamTeam

    1. Ha! Yes Baby Lighty is wowed by them too!! He does keep ‘playing’ with some of the baubles, making the figurines eat the round baubles as if they were apples?!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  7. When my kids where little I used to let them play with the tinsel while I did the lights on the tree then just let them put all the baubles on. It looked a mess, but it was only like that a few years. Now they are older I get to have a pretty tree #DreamTeam

    1. It’s not so much that I want a pretty tree, as ours is completely and utterly mismatched anyway. It’s more that I don’t want things broken!! We have decorations from as far away as California, so they are irreplaceable. Baby Lighty didn’t actually like the feel of the tinsel…I should’ve put more on the tree as a deterrent!! ? Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  8. Thank goodness mine are a bit older now!! Our tree was bare at the bottom for a couple of years due to toddler ‘investigation’. This year we’ve actually got chocolate treats on it knowing that they won’t just eat it all without permission! xx #DreamTeam

    1. Oh now that is a good improvement! I haven’t dared to put chocolate ones on this year! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  9. #DreamTeam Haha!! I was exactly the same and like your little one my children are not too bothered and just seem to love the lights and looking. I love that you thought you could decorate during naptime, life is never that easy 😉
    Have a lovely Christmas xx

    1. Nope nothing to do with parenting is ever that easy, is it?! Today we have been trying to wrap presents during naptime…that didn’t happen either!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. I know, the happy dance was soooo cute!! Still tempted to put the snowman in front of it to guard it, ha!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  10. Hehe! This is all very true! Our daughters have their own tree that they can decorate (destroy) so the main one gets left alone. We bought them a whole pack of cheap horrid decorations from homebase so it doesn’t matter if they get used as balls. It is working so far, fingers crossed for the rest of December.

  11. Haha yes, this!! Imagine doing it with my four, at two, three and four the youngest three are a nightmare! We let them decorate their own trees this year so I could decorate ours in peace! My OCD can’t handle their ten baubles to one branch!! #dreamteam

    1. Oh my word, I can’t even imagine having four children, let alone letting them loose with the Christmas tree!! ? Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  12. My folks collect baubles from places they visit! All the precious ones are at the top and the soft and plastic ones at the bottom. I’m a toddler too and lucky not really fussed with touching the tree! ….that is until there are presents! #DreamTeam x

    1. Same here Baby Isabella, we have decorations from all over the world! Bet your parents are pleased that you’re not too bothered by it! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  13. Aaaw I love a happy ending 🙂 My 2yo helped us decorate the tree this year, but couldn’t get the hang of hanging them on so contented herself with being “chief pointer” and pointing at the branch she wanted each decoration to go on. I think the duck (sorry, snowman!) guard is an excellent idea! #DreamTeam

    1. Ha! Yes he is a good guard!! Ahh chief pointer sounds like a good job for a two year old 🙂 Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  14. HaHa, yep it’s certainly a challenge isn’t it. We usually get a real tree but this year I just couldn’t face the thought of chasing my toddler around pulling pine needles from his mouth! So far he approaches the tree with caution but actually would much rather have the tv remote!

    1. Yes that’s exactly why we haven’t gone for real tree the past couple of years too!! And yes, thankfully (I think?!) Baby Lighty would rather have the TV remote too!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  15. I love your tree! Ours is a bit of a mish mash of many different decorations, but to me it’s perfect. My son whos 19 months keeps giving me decorations off the tree every ten minuets #dreamteam

    1. Same here, I love a bit of mush mash! Our sons are a similar age then 🙂 Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  16. The drunk angel!

    With two toddlers and two other young girls we had a shit ton of broken ornaments- as well as one snow globe and a beer bottle meet their demise this year.


    1. Oh no don’t tell me that!!! Let’s hope for no more catastrophes this year!! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  17. aww it’s so hard when you have a toddler to have the perfect tree – children definitely helped me lower my expectations of having that Harrods/Selfridges style tree when the children were around – definitely made me relax a little. Impressed that you usually have two – next year for sure! #DreamTeam

    1. To be honest I’m less worried about the tree looking pretty – it’s a complete mish mash of ornaments and colours – and more concerned about precious ornaments getting broke!! I may attempt two trees next year again though…we’ll see!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. Baby Lighty is also a whirlwind! Perhaps we should give them more credit?!! What do you reckon?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  18. Great post,we have just left Toddler destruction behind and I have to say I dont miss it! I have to leave the tree decorating completely to them otherwise i just hear myself being hideously controlling and get so stressed at 10 baubles on one branch-for the love of God!I did sneak back and move the worst sited ones.I just don’t look at it when I walk past! #DreamTeam

    1. Thank you very much, and I hope you have a lovely one too – your last as just the two of you, I believe?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  19. Haha..This sounds like a lot of fun! I remember putting up a tree, when my kids were little – let’s just say we needed to buy an extra box of decorations as they obviously weren’t toddlerproof;)) #Dreamteam

    1. The same angel from – dare I say it – Poundland?!! ;D The snowman has been here longer than Baby Lighty…he is not going anywhere, ha!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. I know, it is actually adorable, especially as you can see his mind whirring and him thinking it’s a duck, which is pretty understandable… Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. Is he on the move yet?? We were lucky last year and Baby Lighty could only roll, so he couldn’t really get to the decorations!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  20. Ha ha, my toddler shouted ball too! Our problem was that we’d said our 7 year old could decorate it as he does every year but obviously he can’t reach the top so put a lot of his own handmade decorations quite low. Needless to say the toddler ‘discovered’ them pretty quickly and there have been quite a few hasty gluing and sticking moments! She also had fun riding her scooter into it! Thankfully it’s lost its appeal now and she mostly leaves it alone. Hope yours survives the festivities x

    1. Oh no!! Hope your 7 year old wasn’t too upset at his handiwork being destroyed!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  21. Ha! I have finally decided to embrace my tots helping with the tree. Hence we have a whole slew of nonbreakable items concentrated at the bottom of the tree! (I wasn’t prepared for the shouts of frustration from both children when they wouldn’t put the ornaments far enough back on the branches to remain on the tree.) Good luck in keeping all the baubles intact! #dreamteam

    1. Yep our plastic and fabric ones are all at the bottom this year!! And thank you, I think I’m going to need the luck!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  22. I actually wanted my 3 year old to help do the tree thus year but he was not interested at all. He did about 5 baubles and got bored. Glad to hear baby liked the tree and it does look very pretty xx #dreamteam

    1. Ha! I have a feeling that this is how Baby Lighty is going to feel next year!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. Oh no! Although I guess it’s better that it’s tipped over undecorated than decorated?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  23. What a lovely tree! Your post brought me right back to when Little Button used to use the baubles as balls. She still “rearranges” the decorations that are in reach at least once a day. But other than that, it’s been plain sailing this year. Thank you for guest hosting on the #DreamTeam xx

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