06 Dec How To Decorate The Christmas Tree With Your Kids
Believe it or not decorating the Christmas tree can be quite complex. So we asked the team to share their own family’s tips on how they get their kids’ involved with the Christmas decorating.
Is the Christmas tree just a sparkly landmark for Santa, or a complicated symbol of all a person or family holds dear?
When I became a parent I found that the Christmas tree was not just a sparkly landmark for Santa to park presents by, but rather a complicated symbol of a person’s customs, values and taste.
I’m embarrassed to say that I once had a heated debate with my ex-husband in the lead-up to our first Christmas together because he thought the tree should be decorated every year with matching baubles of no more than three colours (two preferred) and no tinsel, while I thought it should be multi-coloured and decorated with trinkets collected over the years.
As with so many firmly held beliefs, the idea came from my childhood, when we had a collection of celluloid santas, glittery paper angels with fluffy hair and tiny wooden toys that we carefully unwrapped and placed on the tree with ceremony.
When my eldest son was small I was quite possessive of the tree (see anecdote above) and felt a great sense of disorder if baubles weren’t evenly spaced out or tinsel was askew.
Over time I’ve become a little more generous and our family has developed a ritual of decorating the tree together.
I was quite pleased this year when my partner and youngest son took it upon themselves to start the proceedings (happily my youngest son has a similar aesthetic to me).
Nonetheless, I suspect I’m not alone in feeling that decorating the Christmas tree can be a fraught experience.
How the CHILD mags team decorate for Christmas
I asked some of my colleagues how they navigated tree decorating with their little ones. This is what they said:
“What you do is let the kids put decorations wherever they want, then when they go to bed put them where you want. This year my husband and I didn’t agree with how the branches should be placed. In the end he gave up.” Brooke, web coordinator
“Just make sure your breakable ones go up the top where they’re safer. I have a Waterford crystal dove that’s my most precious ornament. But I let the kids hang all the decorations they make wherever they want. It’s a nice record of all the artistic creations over the years. ” Katie, accounts and subscriptions
“I let my 10 year old do the whole thing.” Sue, artwork traffic
“If you invest in glass baubles, don’t let your child or husband decorate the tree. But what your child can do, which is what I did with mine, is let them blow cotton wool balls over the tree. They get to put the ‘snow’ on the tree.” Vanessa, sales
“We put out a little pine tree in a pot with a cloth star on it, and it’s there for the kids to do what they want with. They like to play with the tree itself. They put up decorations or whatever they want on it. It could be a sandwich if they so chose.” Mark, group deputy editor
“When I was little my mum and I would always go to Nanna’s house and dress her tree. We always did that. But with my kids they would have input and put their handmade decorations at the front and I would involve myself with the rest of it. You want your tree to look reasonably tidy without straggly bits.” Pam, sales
“Every year I have a ritual with my two girls where we go out together and they choose a decoration each. When we take the ornaments out every year we reminisce about all the stages they went through when they picked the various decorations. We also buy a fresh cut tree every year. Real trees can get pricey so I tell the tree-sellers what my budget is and they find me a tree to suit, cut it and put it in the stand for me. Then I wrap it in a sheet to take it home.” Sue, graphic designer
“We collected lovely wooden Scandinavian ornaments and the kids took turns putting them up and putting the star on the tree. I wasn’t fussy about it – the tree is for the kids.” Joanna, classifieds
“Being from Soviet Russia, we didn’t celebrate Christmas when I was growing up. But we celebrated New Year with a festive table and a freshly cut tree in the home, and the families would go visiting to celebrate the New Year. Now my husband takes out the tree and sets it up and this year we let the kids decorate the whole tree themselves and I put the tinsel on because they couldn’t do it.” Evgenia, reader giveaways
“We did our tree in mid-November. Usually I wait until the evening and rearrange it a little, but this year I didn’t – my seven year old decorated it. I did place it near the front window so you can see the lights from outside but now it’s not really accessible, as it’s squished between the dining table and the window.” Lynley, classifieds coordinator
How do you decorate the tree with your kids?
Words by the CHILD Mags team.