That was the question. Why? Because I have a toddler. Actually three toddlers, if we’re coming to grips with the fact that our twin “babies” are now 14 months old. Johnny and Wes are pulling up, cruising from one piece of furniture to the next and ready to take start walking any minute. They’ll grab anything they can get their hands on. Ornaments don’t stand a chance.
I came into this Christmas season with my mind made up. No Christmas tree. With six little hands, there’s just no way, right?Each of the previous two years, we got a little tabletop potted tree that we decorated with tiny plastic lights and decorations and considered ourselves done. We put it on a corner table, wedged between an arm chair and a couch in our living room and somehow Wade never got to it. This year, I figured we would do the same. The only problem was we moved into a new house with a more spacious living room and nothing is really wedged anywhere (except for, ahem, a couple of boxes I’ve yet to unpack.)
So I started grabbing at straws. I saw a felt artsy craftsy “toddler tree” on Facebook which looked cute in the ad but lame in actual photos from reviewers. Then flipping through a catalog, I saw an adorable kid-friendly tree with a wooden sleigh for a base, but it was artificial. Wouldn’t I grow to hate it after a couple of years in my attic?
As December rapidly approached, my resolve was starting to crack and finally broke when I saw “make decorations for classroom tree” on Wade’s preschool calendar. His classroom was going to have a Christmas tree and his house wasn’t?
Wade turns 3 in February. He is just beginning to understand and enjoy what the holidays are all about – Halloween was an absolute blast – and I’m going to bahumbug his first real Christmas tree experience because of the grabby hands of his little brothers? Is that fair?
My poor husband, who had the patience to just ride all this out, never flinched. When I told him last week that I wanted us to go get a tree, a real tree, he just said, “OK, we’ll go on Saturday.” Now, we still have three toddlers, so we didn’t exactly drive to a Christmas tree farm in the country, cut down a tree and make the trek home while sipping hot chocolate. We went to Costco!I’ve bought a Christmas tree at Costco before and it’s a great deal. Granted, the trees are wrapped up when you buy them, so it’s not like you get to pick out the prettiest, but each one I’ve gotten is plenty good. And the one we got Saturday was only $54.99. The bad news for everybody else is they had only 10 left when we bought ours and were surely sold out by lunch. (Put it on your list for next year, though, and do it early in December.)
Our tree-buying experience amounted to stopping by the truck outside Costco and watching Daddy tie it up to the top of our minivan. But that’s not the magical part anyway. That happened this afternoon when everybody woke up from their naps to find the tree magically standing in a corner of our living room, waiting for lights and decorations. The first words out of Wade’s mouth – after “let’s put the lights on it!” – were “I can tell Mrs. Ulrich we got a Christmas tree at home.” (It was like he had read my mind about the preschool tree!)
The concession I made for this tree was going to Target and buying a whole new set of child-friendly ornaments – soft cushiony elves, reindeer and snowmen,wooden toy trucks, plastic red balls and snow globes, and some jingle bells. Target has a whole section of ornaments like these, which was terrific. At $3 a pop they did add up quickly but a smart move would be to buy some at the end of the Christmas season when they go on sale and use them next year.
Our pediatrician will be happy to know none of our ornaments have metal hooks that could impale somebody, just loops – even it meant using the plastic price tag holder as the loop. Our final and most affordable decorating touch was Candy Canes. I doubt they make it all the way until Christmas, but maybe sticky fingers will be better than grabby fingers.
Our next purchase might have be some kind of gate to go around the tree but for now we’re going to let the boys have some free range, at least until Mama’s blood pressure rises and they go back into their play yard and or down to the play room in our basement.
With Wade’s help, we spent the afternoon stringing lights and hanging ornaments, most of which are still bunched up in front of where Wade’s step ladder was. Then we snapped some photos before heading out the door to a Christmas singalong at church, which always helps us get into the spirit. The babies, who still have a 6:30 p.m. bedtime, stayed at home with my best babysitters: my mom and sister. But my sister reassured me that they were still getting into the spirit when she texted that the babies wanted to say goodnight to the tree before they went to bed.