I'll be honest, it was a workout to get out all of the Christmas decorations pulled out before having a little helper. And the thought of spending tons of time decorating trying to kid-proof my favorite ornaments and such just didn't seem worth it this year. I love the beauty that is my living room late at night with the lights off watching the glow of the tree, but I wasn't interested in policing the tree 24/7.
Having the bottom half of the tree ornament-less just wasn't going to work for me. Call it OCD, a controlling personality, whatever you like. But I needed it to be beautiful - having a toddler wasn't an out for my inner decorator.
So here's how it went down.
Our tree went up out of the box. All the while contemplating whether to decorate as normal and install a huge baby gate around the tree, or just decorate the top. The hubs and I headed out later for a date night that included the finest of Indian (give me all the Naan) and a trip to Michael's. I know - we are such romantics. It was a perfectly timed trip & the inspiration hit.
Michael's had a whole wall full of laser cut wood ornaments that were meant to be painted and glittered and whatnot. But we fell in love with the "natural-ness" of them. Add to it that they were all 70% off that one night (how lucky were we!), so for 30 cents or so each, we loaded up on a variety of wood and cardboard ornaments and a roll of christmas plaid ribbon. For less than $40 we had enough stuff to easily cover our 7 foot tree. Top to bottom. Success.
Baby girl can take them off and move them around. Cart them around the living room (and she has). Heck - she could break them and I wouldn't care.
The best part - the tree is beautiful. I can leave the room to switch the laundry without fear of broken glass when I return. Or her climbing up to to reach the Mickey Mouse ornament. Honestly, if I was still single and kid-free and looking for a cheap way to decorate my first Christmas tree - I would do this same thing!
It's the best of both worlds - all the ambience I want and yet something the little one can enjoy equally (& safely).
For the next few years we may stick with this natural themed tree for the sake of my sanity if nothing else. Sure I miss reminiscing over trips and family moments when unpacking special ornaments - but they haven't gone anywhere - the boxes in the garage are constant reminders of that. They'll be back one day and thankfully all in one piece. Can I get an amen? For now I'll keep my focus on the real reason for celebrating and enjoy moments filled with memories, cider, cookies, and the best of Christmas movies in the glimmer of beautiful lights.
P.S. If you are looking for a little something to jazz up your decorating - grab the most beautiful free printable from HappyGoStuckey over here. It's a great reminder that as we gather with loved ones this month, that it's less about what we are doing, and more about who we are doing it with.