Decorating the Christmas Tree with Kids
For most families who celebrate Christmas, decorating the tree is one of the highlights of the holiday. However, this tradition can come with its challenges—especially when kids are small, curious, and rather impatient. Yet with just a little preparation, realistic expectations, and a lighthearted approach, decorating the Christmas tree with your children can be a source of joy and wonderful memories of family togetherness.
Decorating the Christmas tree will be a much smoother experience for parents and their children alike with just a bit of preparation. To start, it’s best if children have been fed and are rested before the fun and potential chaos of decorating begins. Parents should ensure that the Christmas tree is securely in place and that a few ornaments are set out at a time to avoid overwhelming kids with choices. This will also give parents an opportunity to set aside any breakable or irreplaceable decorations for the adults to place on the tree later, out of reach. Overall, it’s wise for parents to prepare for (and have a sense of humor about) unexpected behavior from their children, including total loss of interest in the whole process.
Make It Fun
The most important thing to keep in mind for yourself and your children is making the decorating fun. This will alleviate stress and allow everyone to participate with enjoyment.
Here are some easy ways to have extra fun with your kids when decorating the Christmas tree:
- Turn on some cheerful holiday music
- Have some special snacks
- Make some simple decorations such as paper snowflakes, “chain” garland with construction paper, etc.
- Practice counting ornaments or naming colors
- Read a Christmas storybook
Be sure to take pictures and/or videos of the process to capture the fun and preserve the moments.
Share Some Memories
One of the best aspects of decorating the Christmas tree with kids is the chance to share memories. Your children will surely enjoy learning about any Christmas tree traditions you had as a child. In addition, ornaments can be like little time capsules that bring back memories of past holidays. You can help your child understand the meaning associated with certain decorations by pointing out ornaments that are handmade, those given by special family members or friends, ones that represent significant years such as “Baby’s First Christmas,” and others that have been passed down from earlier generations.
Keep It Safe
Whether you have an artificial or real Christmas tree, it’s important to keep safety in mind while decorating and as long as the tree is standing. Many Christmas ornaments are fragile, meaning they might break easily if roughly handled. This can lead to sharp fragments and edges that may cut little hands or feet. In addition, some ornaments may resemble candy or other appetizing treats which can elevate the risk of choking or ingesting toxic material if your child puts it in their mouth. Parents should also take measures to reduce the risk of fire by avoiding use of candles, watching for dried out branches, and safeguarding any electrical cords.
Since the Christmas tree is a significant showpiece in many homes during this time of year, it’s no wonder that decorating it can bring out the perfectionist in parents. Unfortunately, little kids don’t quite understand aesthetics in terms of ornament placement. If you truly can’t bring yourself to appreciate a haphazardly decorated tree, one solution is to provide a section for your children to decorate as they please. Another option is to let your child choose which ornaments are hung and where, and you can “follow” their directions.
Of course, decorating the Christmas tree is much more fun for children if they are allowed a hands-on experience and encouraged to do as much as they want. This not only provides them with an opportunity to express their creativity, but it also reinforces the fact that they are an important part of the family and holiday celebration. In addition, be sure to allow your kids to take a break from decorating or be finished altogether when they wish so the decorating doesn’t feel like a chore.
Finally, try to avoid re-hanging or moving ornaments hung by your children if possible to prevent confusion and/or hurt feelings. Kids can have a surprising memory for where they’ve put something on the family Christmas tree and it’s not worth undermining their pride in being part of the decorating experience. Keep in mind that, no matter how your Christmas tree ends up being decorated, it will look perfect in the eyes of your kids and they will have fond memories of the experience.
One way to establish fond memories of Christmas is to focus on meaningful traditions and spending time together, such as decorating the Christmas tree. At Cognisprings, we support parents with educational and fun products that encourage family togetherness as well as independent play. That’s why we provide games, books, toys, and puzzles that are thoughtfully designed to enhance children’s critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity. Our products allow families to connect and learn with each other as well as create lasting traditions and lifelong memories by prioritizing excellent options for screen-free fun and healthy cognitive development. Thank you for letting us join in your holiday fun!