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.
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.
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.
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…