Look but don't touch!
Says who?!? And why?
Here's a little secret:
I let go of the idea that a tree is a decoration to look at but not touch. And I'm so much saner for it!
I don’t put decorations on the tree if I would be devastated if they broke. I mostly choose the ornaments that won’t shatter if they break (skipping glass balls for now). Extra sentimental ornaments stay in the box for these younger years.
We talk about being gentle and aware they could break but we play with the ornaments all season long. Moving them branch to branch, looking and touching, and enjoying the tree as more than just a decoration. The bottom of our tree is still blocked off for puppies and crawling babies but just so they don't knock it over. Standing littles can still touch and play with anything they can reach.
At other people's houses we respect their tree/belongings and I will remind him to look but not touch. It takes some effort but the little extra effort it takes for the time there is worth the trade-off of being so much saner every day at home! And besides- there's already so many things that fit this category (like jumping on couches, sitting on tables, coloring with washable markers on the fridge, etc). Be sane at home. Teach time and place while out and about.
Another trick to stay saner during tree season: I also don't limit what counts as decorations. Last year was beans, shoe laces and stuffed animals. So far this year it’s nerf bullets and match box cars. I never know what “decorations” will sneak on to our tree but I love how much he loves playing with the tree every year.
Some day I’ll just have carefully placed ornaments on the Christmas tree but it will never be more perfect than these years. Enjoy the season. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Cherish the moments.
How do you let go of your (or society’s) idea of “perfect” and embrace the “chaos” of holidays with kids? What tips or tricks have you found work to balance what is important to you with the needs of young kids?