• Wed, Dec 4 - 1:00 pm ET

8 Ways To Kill Christmas With Childproofing


An old post was circulating in the Mommyish office today about safety measures we should all employ to be certain we don’t accidentally kill our children with holiday decorations. It sent us all into a tailspin. Evidently – absolutely everything that you own is a choking hazard:

Be careful leaving tape out for a toddler or baby to get ahold of because simple Scotch tape can pose a choking hazard.

Make sure spare light bulbs for holiday lights are put up out of reach of a toddler or baby because these can present a very serious choking hazard.

Some parents elect not to even risk putting Christmas lights on the Christmas tree for fear that children will bite into the wires or suck the bulbs.

Keep all nuts like walnuts, cashews hazel nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and all other nuts out of children’s reach. Do not set holiday nuts in bowls out on the table. Many toddlers and babies have choked to death throughout the years on holiday nuts.

Do not paint your windows with the white snow flocking that you spray onto the windows for decoration. Many children will try to lick the windows and this can upset their stomach.

When it comes time to unwrap Christmas presents make sure your toddler or baby do not eat the wrapping paper. Many toddlers and babies like the taste of paper.

Do not use tinsel because it is a choking hazard and can create an intestinal blockage if a toddler should swallow some of it.

Do not use garland for the same reasons that you do not use tinsel. Toddlers eat odd things.

Are you terrified yet? We are. We thought we would do a little round-up of the ways you can safely decorate your homes for the holiday. Congratulations! Your stupid, ravenous child killed Christmas. Welcome to your barren holiday-scape.

1. The “Wall of Sadness” Tree



I’m sure the woman who wrote that essay would like to remind us all that stickers are a choking hazard because they are delicious.

2. The “Littering A Tree With Toys To Keep A Child Away From It Makes No Sense” Tree



Ruin your tree with toys. Just make sure they are all BPA-free! Your child won’t be the least bit interested in scaling this evergreen toy tower.

3. The “Post-Apocalyptic” Tree



If you want to take the joy, color and scent of Christmas out of your tree – this one’s for you.

4. The “You Are Really Taking This Too Far” Tree



This is a tree in a crib. With no decorations. Merry Christmas!

5. The “Nobody Likes Patchwork Quilts, Least Of All Kids” Tree



I don’t even know what to say about this it’s so sad.

6. The “Anti-gravity” Tree



This is creepy, right? I don’t want a levitating tree. Santa isn’t putting presents under this demon-tree.

7. The “What The Hell Is This?” Tree



Inverted Christmas would be more fun on mushrooms. But we have kids so we don’t do hallucinogenic drugs anymore.

8. The “No Tree” Tree

137cdf37959bc26705b64c3e7cd7b60a copy


The safest holiday decorations are non-existent. While you’re at it – go ahead and take everything else out of your house that your child may scale, lick, or otherwise find irresistible.


You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • pixie

    Don’t forget that you shouldn’t put out cookies for Santa because your toddler could get to them and choke on them. /sarcasm.
    While I understand some things are hazards, like tinsel, to me this list is a bit over the top. A lot of things are choking hazards to infants and toddlers or could upset their stomachs, and yes, it is tempting to lick that fake-snow-covered window, but is it necessary to go waayyy over the top? Like a patchwork quilt Christmas tree? I’m pretty sure my family just kept presents with bows out of reach, put the ornaments up higher, and didn’t let me have any really tiny bows or ribbons. But then again, I was a toddler in the early 90s, and a lot of things have changed since then.

    • Alicia Kiner

      I actually thought that was cute, though it wouldn’t be my only tree. I thought that would be a fun way for the kids to have their own trees in their bedrooms.

    • Alicia Kiner

      I actually thought that was cute, though it wouldn’t be my only tree. I thought that would be a fun way for the kids to have their own trees in their bedrooms.

    • pixie

      For kids in their bedrooms, I agree it is a really cute idea. I’m not a fan of it being the *only* Christmas tree in the entire house, though.

  • NicknamesAreDull

    I just stopped my lights/tinsel/ornaments/etc a bit before the end of the tree, so she couldn’t pull on them. Obviously I didn’t care about my daughter’s safety and should be surprised that she didn’t suffer any Christmas decor related injuries.

    • Allyson_et_al

      Don’t you LOVE your baby??!?? What is WRONG with you???!???

    • NicknamesAreDull

      Christmas is once a year, I have my kid all the time. Having a pretty living room totally trumps my daughter.

  • thisshortenough

    Every year we have cousins over and there’s always at least a baby or a toddler around. They have never even gone for the tree. In fact I worry more about my cat or dog around the tree. When my dog was a puppy she chewed through the wires of our lights during the night. They were unplugged thankfully. And I can just tell my cat would have a load of fun destroying our tree what with all the stuff dangling off of it and how easily climable it is.

  • Bethany Ramos

    You can still put the baby in the crib with the tree, right? Because who has that many cribs.

  • Roberta

    I am sorry, but you have bigger problems if your child is willing to eat Christmas lights.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I had a cat that ate Christmas lights once, literally chomped down on the bulbs and happily chewed away before I could stop him……but he was also brain damaged at birth sooo……

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      That is pretty adorable

    • Ptownsteveschick

      He was also deaf so we couldn’t even yell at him to stop, so we had to put all the lights out of his reach that year hahaha. Crazy cat.

    • Himani

      I ate one of those old school giant glass bulbs on a string of Christmas lights when I was 6. I feel your cat’s pain.

  • Mai

    When I was young my parents always had the huge tree covered in breakable ornaments. When I was a toddler they would put plastic, wood or otherwise less breakable stuff on the bottom feet of of the tree. We even had tinsil on the tree most years.
    My parents never baby proofed the tree to the point I couldn’t touch it. In fact my parents let me play with. Some of my earliest memories are of taking ornaments off the tree and playing with them. the rule was I had to put them back on the tree when I was done.

  • JussyLee

    Childproofing the Christmas tree is cake compared to catproofing it!

    • Muggle

      One thing that kept my cat away was putting down clear Scotch tape around the bottom of the tree, sticky-side up. You’re going to have to replace the tape, because it does lose stickiness.

      Of course this is no guarantee of the dogs staying away, which I’ll have to deal with this year. Ugh.

    • ktbay

      We have specific “cat ornaments” that go down low. The cat likes the tree, and I’m not about to take away her Christmas spirit. By next Christmas we will have an 11 month old, and I’m pretty sure we’ll just use the “cat ornament” setup for her as well.

      If a Christmas tree is what takes the kid out, then maybe she wasn’t meant for this life.

    • Allyson_et_al

      That’s NOT funny!!!1! My friend’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s precious snowflake was crushed by a falling Christmas tree when she was 12 and her parents thought it would finally be safe to put one up. She had never seen one before (because her parents LOVED her), and didn’t know not to climb it. Clearly you don’t love your child! You probably don’t even have her car seat properly installed!!1!!

    • ktbay

      You’re right. I can’t stand her already and she hasn’t even been born. I’ve only given up all the wonderful things in life for the last 33 weeks so I can come off as some kind of martyr, but I secretly have plans to throw her into the the Thunderdome. At this point I don’t even have her car seat installed because I like to live on the wild side. But when I do, it’s totally going in the front seat, so I can easily pass her a joint.

    • katydid13

      That’s what my parents did. Those ornaments still go down low. Even though the cats died a couple of decades ago and the youngest baby is 35.

    • ktbay

      I good portion of my cat ornaments are from when I was a kid. The original cat is long gone, but the ornaments live on.

    • LiteBrite

      Yep. I just posted on FB the other day about how the annual Cat vs Christmas match has begun. Tree goes up; ornaments go down. At any time now, a cat fight will break out over whose turn it is to sit under the thing. No baby can compare to the wrath of a cat who wants a turn at sitting under A Christmas tree!

    • Guest

      Rabbit and dog-proofing too. Number 4 reminds me of the gates surrounding our tree. The rabbit will, and has, eaten the tree, light wires and anything else she feels like.

    • EX

      Cat proofing was definitely good practice for child proofing. Most of our Christmas decorations are high up and/or indestructible and we try to keep the important ornaments on the tree higher up. Of course there’s always a risk that a cat, dog or small human will just take down the entire tree but you have to live a little.

    • Kay_Sue

      I like the rush of a little bit of danger, myself. :)

    • Amber Starr

      I once had to anchor my tree to the wall with CHAIN because the damn cat kept tipping it over and when I tried using thin rope, she just chewed through it. Then………. TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMBERRRRRRRRRRRRR!

    • Psych Student

      I was thinking the same thing! I looked at the tree in the crib and went “yep, the cat can still get to that”. Hehehe. :)

    • Psych Student

      Oh kitty, you so silly!

  • Blueathena623

    Ehh, we are still trying to decide how to baby proof the tree. Last year we got one of those baby gates that can become a circular pen and put the tree in there. Not sure what we are going to do this year since I’m sure he can figure out how to push something to the side of the pen and climb over. I just don’t want him climbing the tree. Its going to happen. But I don’t want it to.

    • Allyson_et_al

      We did that the year my son was almost one. My daughter never messed with the tree, and by my son’s second Christmas, he pretty much listened when we told him not to touch. Luckily, he was not a climber. We used to refer to that pen thing as “baby jail”.

  • Rowan

    Number of ornaments lost to child-related accidents: 0
    Number of ornaments lost to cat-related mayhem: a couple of dozen

    • Muggle

      I haven’t even gotten my Christmas decorations out yet, and I’ve spotted 3 broken ornaments already thanks to the fucking puppy chasing the cat around. ARGH.

    • Julie

      We had our whole tree decorated Saturday night. Sunday morning EVERY ornament was off the tree. How the hell the cats got the ones on top off the tree I will never know.

    • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham
    • BEETH

      We just put our tree up saturday with some ‘alarm’ ornaments on the lower branches. They have jingle bells (which the cats love), so their whole focus is to take those off the tree and prance through the house with them. It is incredibly festive.

      That said, up until this most recent tree, we were STILL finding little ornaments stashed all over the house. Little glittery apples, in particular.

  • AP

    I was reading an article about baby-proofing Christmas trees a few years back (putting them behind gates, etc.,) and asked my mom what she did to keep us from ruining the tree, because I don’t remember anyone building military barricades around our tree. She said:

    “We had all those shatterproof ornaments for the cat, so we put them on the bottom third of the tree. Then we told you kids to be careful with the tree so you wouldn’t break the pretty things and ruin the pretty tree. And you didn’t want to break the pretty tree, so you guys left it alone.”

    I was a touch-all-the-things! type kid too.

    • Lisa

      We had the same thing going on at our house! Real tree, real ornaments. We were just told to not bother the tree so we didn’t ruin it, and my parents just ensured this didn’t happen by putting all the unbreakable ornaments on the bottom third.

      It also probably helped that our dogs were really good at shepherding my sister and I away from “dangerous” situations.

  • Eliza

    My sister once took all of the furniture out of the guest room, locked the tree in there, and didn’t let anyone touch it until Christmas morning. Because she was scared that her special snowflake kids would eat the ornaments. Her daughters were 8, 5, and 2 months old. I think she had bigger problems if an eight year old wanted to eat an ornament. And at 2 months old, that baby can’t exactly chew much.

    • Ashley

      Yikes. Why even have a tree if you’re going to lock it away?

    • Allyson_et_al

      Ok, that is the saddest Christmas tree ever.

    • Roberta

      “Sorry kids, but I don’t trust you to not eat our non-edible ornaments. So you ruined Christmas.”

  • sri

    Both of my sil have the “wall of sadness” tree in their houses. It’s actually really cute. There are felt ornaments and gifts that stick to a felt tree on the wall. They both have regular trees, too, but the toddlers are much more interested in the felt tree because they have free reign over it. On Thanksgiving, they gleefully decorated that felt tree for at least 3 hours, and they had already had access to it for almost a week.

    Also, I’d much rather have my nephews in my house with the tree than my cat. I’ve given up trying to fix the tree every day, and there are only 5 ornaments left after 3 days. Luckily, I thought ahead and got shatterproof plastic.

  • candyvines

    I thought we were supposed to kill Christmas by saying “Happy Holidays”. Better get started on some of these.

    • Muggle

      Recognizing other holidays that fall in December (including that evil heathen holiday, New Year’s Eve) totally makes baby Jesus cry.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    “Many children will try to lick the windows and this can upset their stomach”

    If it won’t kill them, this sounds like a great way to teach your kid not to lick windows!
    Now, can someone help me teach my kid not to lick the pole on the subway?

    • ted3553

      right after you teach mine not to chew on the key thingy that locks grocery carts together

    • Tinyfaeri

      Show them A Christmas Story?

    • jessica

      Though there are many, many things I never ever thought I was going to have to do in my whole life. Telling someone repeatedly to stop licking the sidewalk, subway poles, car tires, etc. and stop trying to pick up dog poop with bare hands are just 2 of them. I was naive I guess. But of course I love my kids anyway.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      At least once a week…maybe even once a day, I say something that makes me think, man, what the hell did I just say? I can’t believe I’m even saying this.

  • Paul White

    Hey, we’re not doing a tree. But if we did, I’d want it to be a levitating tree because COOL!
    EDIT: we’re not doing a tree because we have no where to put it where isn’t massively in the way. And I’m a Scrooge.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Mini tree time! Fits on a table!

    • Psych Student

      When I was in college, I got the top 8 inches or so off the top of my parent’s tree (because it didn’t fit in the house) and put it in a vase. I don’t think I put anything on it, but it was cute (and I didn’t have any kids or critters to knock it over).

  • keanesian


    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Pretty sure #3 is what it looks like when The Blair Witch gets festive.

  • scooby23

    More tips from that post….

    Instead of having horrible choking hazards more known by the name Christmas cookies, have Christmas mush. Turn your cookie dough into a festive mush by putting it into a blender and spinning it until the consistency is fine enough for there to be no possible way to choke on it. Just make sure there are no sprinkles, chocolate chips, or nuts in the mix (they might choke) and make sure the cookie dough is 100% dairy-free, gluten-free, chemical-free, and fun-free.

    Snow play is a very risky activity that will most surely kill your child. Instead of a snow day, make “indoor snow.” Do this by going to your backyard-Pinterest-ready mini-farm that all GOOD mothers have and fresh pick the finest, most precious organic cotton from the mini-farm and then weave it into tuffs of non-killer “snow.” Place it in a completely clear room. Instead of normal snow activities, encourage these fun wintertime play ideas:
    Laying down on your back
    Holding a tuft of snow
    Standardized testing

    Instead of giving presents (choking hazard) give your children imaginary “presents.”
    They can imagine it is anything they want, and no one will get hurt. Just make sure there are some imaginary ambulances on hand for imaginary accidents.

    • Ellen

      Oh no, but fake snow is also a choking hazard. The child can rip it apart and eat it!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      You should have sent this to me I would have posted it :(

    • scooby23

      Whhhaaatttt? I am slightly new to this site, and I didn’t know you could do that. Huh.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      hahahahaa. I am open to reader submissions at eveevevawter AT Gmail dot com

    • scooby23

      OK, I’ll remember that. Thanks!

    • mrs fitz jr

      If they lie on their back, they may choke on theirs Christmas mush

    • Magdalena Jolanta Doerry

      I controlled myself until I got to the “standardized testing” part. Now I’m in the middle of the MVD laughing like a hyena. Thanks for that.

  • Marie

    I remember our family’s Christmas tree crashing on my head when I was a kid. I was something like 2-3 years old. I had climbed on a kiddie rocking chair (most definitely illegal nowadays!) to reach for ornaments, and the whole thing came crashing down on my head. I remember distinctly the prickly feeling and the sound of ornaments exploding all around. Kind of a neat memory actually.

    • Tinyfaeri

      That would be kind of awesome…

  • Rachel Sea

    Clearly what baby needs for Christmas is a muzzle.

  • ChillMama

    So…I think I may be a bad mom because I fully decorated the tree, and didn’t childproof it beyond firmly telling my little one not to touch it (repeatedly if necessary) and monitoring her around it. At least I did buy the shatter-proof ornaments though!

    • footnotegirl

      You terrible, terrible awful mom! Teaching your child discipline, self control, and rules! MONITORING her! How dare you! Your child may actually turn out to be a capable, reasonable adult. FOR SHAME. ;)

    • Tinyfaeri

      They make shatter proof ornaments? Otherwise, yup, same here. Didn’t actually occur to me to hide or close off the tree, we just don’t let her loose in that room without supervision or line of sight to the tree. I thought that was normal…?

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Yes, I need the shatterproof ornaments, not for the children, but because I drop at least 4 or 5 of those bastards every time I hang them up :)

    • Tinyfaeri

      I would have loved those when our cat and dog were older. They don’t chase each other around as much anymore, but for a while we had to tether the tree to the wall in two places to keep it up.

    • ff

      Plastic, if the chemicals are allowed around your kids. Of course there’s the lead factor in the heritage ornaments. Nothing says merry Christmas like lead poisoning

    • Tinyfaeri

      Right, so no eating the ornaments, regardless of the material they’re made of. Check.

    • ted3553

      I did the same and have shatter proof ornaments and my 1.5 year old still decided to grab a ball and bite into it. I’m sure it’s made of some leaden based metal alloy from China. When he realized how unpleasant that was, he didn’t bother with any others. I haven’t removed any ornaments. Just another bad mom here.

  • MoD

    I have a natural baby barrier to my tree. Its in the corner. I have a couch and a love seat against each wall. The couches touch and the tree is in the corner square between them. It works well. He can’t pull himself up on the couches by himself yet. I don’t know what I’ll do next year, though.

    The cats, on the other hand, are completely disinterested in my tree ever since I started using shatterproof ornaments. Of course.

  • EX

    The list of tips about safety hazards could have been a lot shorter:
    Any inedible object that is small enough to fit in a baby’s mouth is a choking hazard. Also, babies are stupid and will try to eat inedible objects so keep an eye on them. The end.

  • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

    I love the demon tree. So creepy.

    We’re opting for no tree because of the cats :(

  • Kay_Sue

    I am guilty of putting one of those hexagonal gates around ours. I won’t this year, because our youngest is three and dammit, natural selection has to come into play at some point.

    But I will admit (in a stage whisper so none of the santimommies hear me) that it has nothing to do with ornaments, choking or crushing hazards and everything to do with the fact that they will unwrap every fucking present the moment I turn my back…every.damn.time.

    • Sam Inoue

      Best reason ever, and smart! My lovely children would do the same so I don’t put out gifts until christmas eve. Even the ones sent by relatives early I hide so they don’t fucking open them. Now they just try to find where I hid them

    • Kay_Sue

      I wouldn’t either, but I just love the way it looks. It’s pretty crazy to say that it’s purely for aesthetics, but I love the way that it looks when I put the first present under the tree. ;)

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      haha natural selection….. :)

  • Yerk


    • Psych Student

      I have a friend who secures her tree upside down to her celling and decorates it. It’s pretty impressive.

  • CatB

    LMAO great post, there are some truly overzealous fun-police out there.
    Whatever happened to just putting stuff higher up out of reach and locking the matches and bleach in that one padlocked cuboard? Seemed to do my generation just fine, the overwhelming majority of my peers have all made it into their adult lives without losing an eyeball to a pointy stick or choked on a bauble.

  • whiteroses

    I decorated my tree this past week. So far, my son has shown zero interest, except for gently poking the tree branches and quickly taking his hands away. I haven’t hung a lot of heavy ornaments this year- and far less than I normally would- but that’s only because he wasn’t mobile last year and I had no idea how he’d react to the tree.

    I’m not exactly going to be giving him spiked eggnog-but I’m not going to fundamentally change the way we celebrate. I just watch him a bit more closely this time of year and call it even.

  • Sam Inoue

    I am so glad to see the reactions here! I was starting to feel like a bad mom when everyone was talking about baby proofing. I know people with the wall ones. My 7 year old didn’t die and we decorate every year, we just put not breakable crap on the bottom. The only christmas related incident we ever had was when she was 3 and a friend put candy canes all over their tree, we turned around for like 1 minute and she was on another kids shoulders to get the candy. She grabbed the tree as her friend fell, they pulled the whole thing down. They were fine, I mostly felt bad my kid was one of little psychos that broke half their ornaments

  • PrairieCoast

    Interesting strategies. We just arranged the ornaments so the breakable ones are at the top and called it a day. I do find myself saying “don’t touch” about twice a day to my almost-2-year-old, but we’re a week in and he’s still alive.

  • doxgukka

    how did we all survive prior to this generation???

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Because when we were nestled all safe in our asbestos nurseries and our parents where drinking martinis and leaving lit cigarettes all over, they also had the phone number for 911 posted next to their rotary dial phones?

    • Bec Jenn

      Alas, I’m old enough to remember a time before 911 services (they didn’t come to some areas ’till the 80′s, ours was the 70′s though). We had to use the rotary dial with the full 7 digits. You had your local PD and FD in the hook of every phone (or under your number in red in that circle on the rotary dial :P). However, I still am amazed how we survived without instant high speed internet access.

  • MellyG

    Wow, i don’t think my parents child proofed any tree ever. They were always immaculate constructions that looked like they belonged in a department store. I also think the cat was a bigger threat than i was, and my parents probably figured that if a christmas ornament was gonna take me out as a toddler, i wouldn’t survive adulthood anyway…….:-P (they were very, “oh you fell off the bike? oh, you’re bleeding? well, it doesn’t look like there are any bones popping out…you’re fine!”)