Toddler-enable your Christmas tree with a few unbreakable ornaments

Elmo ornamentAnother great toddler + Christmas tree hack! So simple, but it works for Carly of

This is a little late, but I just discovered it the past week or so since our tree has been up. Our daughter is almost 2, and into everything as most 2-year-olds are. I was concerned about how our Christmas tree would fare under her inquisitiveness and boundary testing. So I picked up some inexpensive, non-breakable ornaments just for her — in our case, one Elmo and five Dora plastic decorations — and hung them right at her eye level in one cluster. Now, although she LOVES every part of the Christmas tree, she is most enamored with her little spot of ornaments. She likes to poke them and tell stories and grasp them all in her hands. And she loves to show them to all our visitors. I will often find her standing there quietly just admiring and gently playing with her "Lucy ornaments."

Related: Childproof your Christmas tree with jingle bells


  1. Uly says

    When we were little, my mother decorated the tree one year with nothing but little stuffed animals, mostly the type with loops in their heads. Perfectly safe, and better for the environment than plastic. Plus, we already had most of the toys in the house, so it was cheap, too!

    This year, she wants us to do spoons. I think it’s cool. My sister (and it’s her tree) doesn’t agree, so we may have to do it under the cover of night.

  2. says

    All of the balls on our tree are plastic to make it “cat-safe” –and toddler-friendly as a bonus.

    Related tradition: each child gets to pick out one new ornament every year. Obviously, we steered little kids to the unbreakable sort. When they’re grown, each one will have a box of ornaments to start the trees in their homes.

    Needless to say, we have a cluttery, absolutely anti-designed tree, and we love it. (but spoons sound cool, too, Uly!)

  3. says

    Our son is 18 months old and this year we got our first Christmas tree. He was really REALLY interested in all the stuff we were putting on the tree and kept taking things off so I took his Barrel of Monkeys (which was formerly MY Barrel of Monkeys) and hung them on the tree down low where he could play with them. It’s worked really well and he’s leaving the other ornaments alone for the most part. Plus people who come over love them.

  4. Sandy says

    We hung the lower part of the tree with several of the “ornaments” that the day care made with our kid. Handprint at 1st Christmas, a couple pictures laminated and dated, a little photoframe with his footprint at 2nd Christmas. He is now 3 and a half. He loves all 5 of his ornaments. He also has 6 unbreakable ones that his grandma and loving neighbor have given him each year at my request. So not only does he have some that have his own mark, but he also had some that he loves to show off as gifts.

    To carry on the tradition of gifting ornaments, I give 3 other kids of our family a little ornament every Christmas in their stocking. I have no clue if they treasure them as much as my kid does but at 3, he loves the stories that we tell for each one as we hang them up.

  5. monica says

    I have a 21 month old toddler who is fascinated with fairy lights and Christmas trees; we dug through all the ornaments and picked out only the felt/cloth ones to decorate the tree, then my 10 year old stepdaughter and I made paper ornaments out of last year’s cards (cut out shapes, traced with cookie cutters or just drinking glasses, hole-punchers, pinking shears, whatever came to mind). We had some beautiful cards that we are enjoying all over again as ornaments, and if they get ripped off by the little one (as several already have!), it’s not dangerous or worse- the loss of an heirloom.

  6. says

    What a fav idea…so now I’m removing the ornaments at the bottom of the tree and replacing with the elmos, big birds, shreks and anything plastic so my toddler can resist temptation! Thanks for the heads up!!

  7. says

    I appreciate this tip too. My 22-month-old is quite fascinated with the ornaments, and she’s getting taller than I thought, reaching more than I expected her to reach! We tried putting only softer ones at the bottom, but she inevitably has found others!

  8. says

    My grandmother taught me to do this years ago.

    Our tree has non breakable ornaments from the bottom up to where a 5 yr old can reach. All the ornaments are things either the kids and I have made, or ornaments I was bought years ago. We do the new ornament every year as well. It was so easy to decorate our first tree as a family because I had a box full, so I can’t wait to pass some of mine as well as all of theirs on to my boys when they move out.

    This year we made white snowflakes out of pipe cleaners. Just grabbed a bunch and started twisting from the middle. They look really nice on the tree and I don’t worry about the kids getting a hold of them one bit.

  9. says

    We decorated our tree entirely with toys (some with yarn hangers). I posted a quick video on my blog (linked through my name) showing how do this easily with a lark’s head knot.

  10. Rachel says

    With a 3yr old and a soon to be crawler, I pretty much figured that if I used my good ornaments it would be akin to putting them on the endangered species list. I found some pretty “unbreakable” balls at AC Moore (worlds best craft store!) for like $0.50 a dozen. So for under $2 I was able to toddler and baby proof the lower half of my tree :) And it looks great :)

  11. Wendy says

    I read this on another blog somewhere already this year (wish I could remember where!), and thought I’d share: Decorate your tree with the christmas cards you recieve! We kept the ribbon and lights and a few unbreakable ornaments too, but most of our tree decorations this year are the cards we are recieving. My 2yo son is loving being able to identify people in the pictures and point out the various holiday themes on the cards (snowmen, santa, etc). I liked the idea immediately and love it even more as I now have a place to display all the cards we are getting this year and my tree gets a little more decorated each day!