How to Protect Your Christmas Tree from Toddlers and Pets

Our Christmas tree now lives in a gated community.

Most of us probably have our Christmas trees up by now, but some friends and I were recently talking about how to protect our trees from babies, toddlers, and pets, so I thought I’d share my solution for this year.

Last year, we didn’t try to protect our tree at all, with mixed results. The twins weren’t crawling yet, but our older son was 2 and VERY curious. He kept pulling ornaments and lights off of the tree, trying to stick his hand in the water, etc. Plus, our two cats couldn’t help themselves from pouncing at lower-hanging lights.

This year, with the twins now walking and a new puppy added to the mix, we weren’t taking any chances. In the picture, you can see our solution – a big, self-supporting baby gate all around the tree. Yes, it’s ugly, but not as ugly (or dangerous!) as a bunch of broken ornaments and pulled down lights! We also switched out our breakable ornaments that we had purchased pre-kids and used only plastic ones instead (bonus: plastic ornaments are way cheaper!)

Our 3-year-old is now mature enough to not wreck the tree for fun, so we made the space big enough to stick a little table and chair back there. He likes to sit there for dinner sometimes (we haven’t yet mastered family dinners – that’s a goal for another day – so the kids currently eat pretty early, and my husband and I eat after they go to bed).

Here are other solutions that my friends adopted:

1. Only decorate the upper half of the tree;

2. Purchase a “pre-lit” tree (admittedly, I didn’t even know these existed until one of my friends suggested it);

3. No tree at all! I actually tried to lobby for this for a minute, but my husband is a huge Christmas guy, and his side-eye on this suggestion was enough to make me give up;

4. Hope for the best (it’s still 2020; I’m not taking any chances hoping for the best on anything).

What solutions did you all come up with to protect your Christmas trees from curious kids and pets?