Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Trees and Toddlers: A Guide

Harold the Christmas Tree chatted casually with Gilda the taffeta curtain, blissfully unaware he was about to be stripped naked and strangled with his own tinsel.

Morning Readers,

Those of you who came to see if I left any PopTarts alive after breakfast this morning can leave. They're gone. They didn't put up a fight. They were delicious, slathered in nothing but the hope that all the calories evaporated, before they engaged my ever-flagging metabolism in one of the saddest duels in all of mankind's history.

The PopTarts were all like, "On guard."

And my body was all, "Meh. I surrender"

The rest of you may stay and learn why you should never have a toddler and a Christmas tree. What? You insist on having both?

Ok. Let me go get the extra PopTart I hid from you, and let's get started....

A Parent's Guide to Having A Christmas Tree and a Toddler


Paige Kellerman 
(Wrangler of tinsel, herder of candy canes, weeper at loss of material objects)

1.) The Call of White Christmas

Sure, you have toddlers. They're destructive. But what you also know is you just finished watching a holiday movie of your choosing. For me, it's always White Christmas or Charlie Brown Christmas. And you think, "I, too, deserve to be dipped below some sort of Hollywood, fabricated, cardboard cut-out of a softly iced, decrepit barn.

I deserve it.

We're getting a tree.

I'm also teaching Husband how to dance. But I want to be the Vera Ellen. Rosemary Clooney was lame. There ...I said it. (Ok, she could sing. But we're not having this discussion right now.)

2.) Real or Fake?

It doesn't matter because toddlers don't care about the origins of what they destroy. We always get a real tree. In fact, it's waving at you guys from behind me. Settle down tree. 

The reason our tree is always real is the delightful smell, and because we love picking small needles out of everything. (Douglas Fir leavings, the stuff romance is built on.) The twins aren't old enough to know the difference. They simply know it must die. Repeat after me...

"The type of tree I pick does not matter. I will find my toddler inside it, like some sort of demented tree sloth at 2am, regardless."

3.) Ornaments

Throw them all away. Do it. Just grab one of the billion plastic shopping bags you have around the house. And, instead of declaring, "I have no idea what to do with all these bags because throwing them away is bad for the environment, but I'm also too lazy to recycle," say, "Tis' where I shall throw all my ornaments."

"But, I want to put up my hand-crafted, stained glass, miniature Santa made by Peruvian monks." You say.

And I say, learn how to decorate with toilet paper. Toddlers like nothing better than hiding ornaments in their pants, and letting the whole stash fall out when you least expect it, a great way to give you a heart attack.

i.e. "We used to have a beautiful, crystal rendering of "Eight maids a Milking Shoot the Partridge in A Pear Tree for Dinner," until it fell out of Jake's pants."

4.) Garlands

These seem innocent enough.

"Oh, Howard. Would ya just look at the way that fluffy gold stuff just evens things right out?"

"I know, Marleen. You should try to weave some into a girdle."

...right up until the time you look over to see your daughter has climbed under it, declared, "I'm a decoration," and begun to run forward. Best to scrap them. 

5.) Presents

So you convinced yourself your toddler was actually good enough to merit a gift this year. Lies. But you don't have to worry. Those presents are hidden until Christmas. What you do have to worry about is the three-tiered Precious Moments cake stand you bought for Great Aunt Ida.

Do not leave any presents under the tree, unless you associate, "Christmas Cheer" with "We talked her down off the roof of the convenience store, but we can't get her to let go of all the mini donuts she stole. Something about not making her go back home. The whole thing's just disturbing."

Banned List:

Tree toppers
Table Centerpieces
Christmas Stockings made from anything other than tarp
Candles, luminaries, your famous "Flaming Good Time Wassail Punch"
Anything with bells

Note: The one thing that shall redeem the toddler is their unique ability to be more excited than everyone else on Christmas day. So, as you stare at your bare house and tree that morning, try to remember that this too shall pass, and next year they'll be even more capable of taking the light display off the house.

 *This post was brought to you today by Egg Nog*

"Nog. Because drinking whiskey straight out of the bottle stands out at a Christmas Party."

And also by a group of my fellow funny ladies.

We'll be adding Christmas humor to the link below, all through December, so check em' out.... Until Next Time, Readers!


  1. Oh man Paige, wish I couldn't relate, but can totally with both my girls, who have made a game out of taking Christmas decorations, ornament, stuffed animals and whatever else isn't nailed down to play with and destroy. It is a lost cause so I just go with it at this point, but the egg nog needs to be on tap around here, lol!!

    1. Yes, Janine, I too, set my sights as low as possible. If it can be removed from the tree, it's been kidnapped. At this point, I wish there was some type of work I could apply for in the way of search and rescue for Christmas ornaments. I'm getting really good at it. Not even bringing out the Nativity scene this year ...or maybe not until Christmas Eve. The tree should be completely destroyed by then, so we'll need something to look at to remind us what we're celebrating. Good luck and God speed, my friend!

  2. It's pretty much the same with cats, isn't it?

    Watch youtube video "Simon's Cat in Santa Claws".

    1. I'm on it. I've never owned cats, but I'd imagine they like to scale those trees like tiny mountain lions.

  3. I have never experienced this phenomenon. My children also never fight with each other, they never complain about the 4 course dinner I feed them every night and they clean up their rooms without being asked...

    Denial... what?!

    1. It's a good thing I already booked their tickets and have them packed and ready to head to your house on Christmas Eve. Teach these children some discipline, Momma Miles!

      They may return on the dawning of the new year.

  4. My kids were actually quite tame around our Christmas tree during their toddler years. They are also very strange children.

    But, as usual, there was still something in this post to which I could relate. And that thing was: eating my kids' leftover breakfast. My youngest ate all of his toaster strudel this morning. I was almost reduced to tears.

    1. Ya know, I always told myself I wouldn't be THAT mom, the one that eats whatever's left over of her kid's food. Now? That's how I feed myself. If the kids didn't leave me anything, I'd starve.

      They sound like prize children, by the way. I would've bragged about that on a Christmas card, for sure.

  5. Vera had like a 16.5 inch waistline. I wanna be Vera too.

    We opted for cop-out table-top tree this year due to overly aggressive toddler (are there any other kinds?) so no Douglas Fir was harmed in the making of our holiday cheer.

    Well not yet, but mine's crafty. She's still got time to surprise us.

  6. I collected Santa Claus ornaments over many years because I thought my someday kids would just love a Christmas tree with delicate, glass ornaments all over it. The love them alright, but in pieces on the floor.

  7. This post is incredibly timely, as I was really beginning to wonder what I was going to do about a tree, what with having a little headlong stumbler around. Unfortunately my husband will likely insist in having the tree, with full ornamentation, which means the next few weeks of my life are going to be fully dedicated to standing guard right next to it. I hope someone brings me a Pio Tart once in a while.

    1. OR a Pop Tart. Whichever. Pio Tarts are also delicious, though.

  8. I may, or may not be eating a Pumpkin Spice Eggo Waffle while reading this. Dear heavens, how I remember the sparse tree of when my kids were little. Of course, now I still decorate 'sparsely' because there's less to clean up afterwards.

  9. When my first 2 were small, I used a tabletop tree and kept it up on a cupboard, just out of their reach. This year we have a larger tree, and my 2 year old is quite good about not touching it, except when her older sister has snuck over and is randomly pulling stuff off the tree. Then of course she has to join in.
    I had cats all through my childhood and they could be worse than toddlers at pulling stuff down. In fact, one year the mother and 3 or 4 kittens managed to topple the tree on several occasions.

  10. Awesome post. My niece is experiencing her first tree this year and when last we skyped, she kept going over to touch a branch and look at her mother. There were no ornaments, so she probably was like WTF did the bring in a tree like this? Good strategy, I think. Ease her on in.....