Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Hack: Toddler-friendly Ornaments

Jim and I didn't own a Christmas tree the first year of our married life. His mom thought that was a travesty and bought us a 2' tall artificial tree. This little tree was our primary tree for years. We liked to load it down with comically large ornaments or decorate it with only lights and keep it on the bathroom counter (I smirk to think of this, even though I have no idea why).

At some point we bought a 6' artificial tree which we suspect is made of plastic and standard grade pipe cleaners. I'm sure we got it on clearance. Its weak boughs can't support an ornament of much weight. Every year we get motivated enough to put it up (which is something like 1:3) we swear we will buy a new one next year.

Ranger LOVES holiday lights. We put the big tree up last year without ornaments. We added a foot tapper on/off switch to our tree on the recommendation of Parent Hacks- and he loves controlling the lights.

As we're not very invested in tradition, we decided to try this year to make the decorations as toddler-friendly as possible.

When a friend mentioned that he was wiring all his gaming figurines to hang as holiday decorations, it struck me that we might not need ornaments or wire ornament hangers at all. With yarn or ribbon and the versatile lark's head knot almost anything can become an ornament (and you can jettison those silly wire ornament hangers for good).

Thus, the first Baby Toolkit video was born! Learn to make a lark's head knot:

Sorry about the off-screen portions, I shot the video alone while Ranger napped, so there was no time for a retake. I promise I'll do better with framing in future videos, but I will probably always sound like total tool.

We hung our lighted tree primarily with Barrel-of-Monkeys monkeys (again, Parent Hacks inspired) and linking letters. We also put up some other small toys that Ranger generally tends to ignore most of the time. We didn't put anything very tempting on the tree because we didn't want to torture the kid or inspire him to take up indoor tree climbing.

When it's time to put the tree in the closet, I'm getting all the old ornaments out. The ones without sentimental value (which is most of them) are headed to a local thrift shop.

Recast toys or other objects you already own as ornaments reduces decorating costs and required storage space for those other 11 months of the year.

There will be no more talk of replacing the tree. It finally looks like it actually belongs in our house.


Anonymous said...

I liked the video. Great ideas, as always!

Mags said...

Great idea! I like the write up too. Me kind of humor!

Anonymous said...

Very inventive. I think the chubbies cars and planes would make great ornaments!

adrienne said...


I think for the Chubbies planes I might try attaching the yarn to the axle or the tail. The rotor of the helicopter also seems promising.

Francie said...

Tree-trimming is approaching soon in our house! I love these ideas & am looking forward to putting the yarn to work with the Lark's Head knots. I never knew that's what I was doing when I used that method -- thanks for the video & the inspiration. :)

Jennifer Saranow Schultz (aka Hint Mama) said...

This is so clever. Thanks for sharing!