Written by guest blogger Arielle Ithete. Arielle is a mother to 3 kids. Her 3.5 year old boy, twin 1.5 year old girls, and a career as a university professor keep her quite busy. She is a transplant living abroad in Namibia from NYC.
We have always been a giant, real, aromatic, fresh, day-after-Thanksgiving-decorating Christmas tree people. Then we had kids. This year, our eldest is almost three and a half, just outside of the tree destroyer phase. However, our twins are 19 months this December and smack in middle of their decoration destroying glory days.
At first, I was discouraged because I knew that having a real, or even fake, Christmas tree with loads of ornaments was just courting trouble. Then, creativity took hold! I would not allow this setback to hold us back from making our home festive for the holidays!
Here’s what we have done this year to get ourselves and our home into the holiday spirit in true three kids, three and under fashion!
Felt Christmas Tree
I had seen these before, and they started popping up in a crafting/parenting group I’m in on Facebook, and I thought “hey, I can totally make that!” And it was easy and fun to make. If you’re wondering how the ornaments stick on, it’s the magic of felt. Felt just sticks to itself!
I have seen fancier versions of these with nice jagged cut branches for the Christmas tree, but I don’t trust my scissor precision, and felt can be tricky to cut perfectly, so I stuck with a basic isosceles triangle shape, and I do not regret this choice. This will be your tree base. Then drew and cut out ornament and light shapes on cardstock to trace onto the felt so that my ornaments would look uniform. Then I cut out the felt shapes, and voila! Felt tree. I chose to glue the star and lights on the tree with fabric glue, and have the ornaments be movable. You then attach the tree to your wall in whatever method will work for you. General consensus is that the Command tape works the best. If you’ve got little fingers that like to peel (like I do) you can put a duct tape border around the edges. Duct tape comes in a perfectly matching green or even fun patterns that look like garland around the tree.
Materials: (I got extra felt to save for future crafting projects)
– Large piece of green felt (It should be at least as wide as you want the base of your tree to be)
– Cardstock paper (also optional)
O “Christmas Tree”, My Kids Can’t Reach You!
As I said earlier, I’m a big fan of a traditional fresh pine Christmas Tree. But this year, deep in the toddler destruction zone, that wasn’t going to be possible. But I wasn’t going to give up. I found some piney looking garland at the store. I grabbed a few of those and curled it around and stuck it to the wall in the shape of a tree WAY UP where my kids can’t reach it to pull it down. Gives our home that festive Christmas tree flair without my littles tugging on it.
We decided to then hang our stockings next to it, above the TV, as we don’t have a fireplace hearth. Then our good old friend YouTube provided a festive and realistic fire for us (and music too!) Added bonus, there’s NO WAY our kiddos can reach them. Not sure how Santa will get the gifts in there. He may need to use a ladder…
– Something that will stick to your wall and the garland (again, Command tape is the recommendation)
– Ornaments to decorate the garland tree (optional)
– Step stool, ladder, or tall person
– YouTube Christmas fireplace channel
– Your favorite Christmas stockings
I always love a good family holiday photo card. A nice way to personalize (and probably less expensive than having cards printed) is to have your little resident artists create an original piece to go along with your cards to make each one unique. I tape a large piece of paper (thickness is your preference) to the table, and give them crayons and markers and let them have at it! When they are finished save the paper, you’ll do the next step without them. Have some prints made of your favorite photo, card size (I recommend a matte finish, because fingerprint smudges, but your preference). Then trace out the size on your littles drawings and cut it out to use it as the backing for your photo. Attach with glue, tape, or your favorite tacky substance onto the back of your photo. Finish by adding your holiday message with permanent marker.
– Large sheet of paper
– Family photo prints
The most delicious of all the Christmas activities to do with your kiddos is the Christmas cookie. Depending on the ages or abilities of your children, they can be involved in different steps of the process as appropriate. You can basically choose any kind of roll out cookie recipe. This year we are doing sugar cookies and they are delicious! So much fun, we might also do some gingerbread or chocolate cutout cookies too. I’ll include some recipes we like, but you can use your favorites. My three-year-old is really into “mixing” these days, so he’s my little kitchen helper. Once the dough has chilled and is rolled out (probably best if it’s by you), the kiddos can choose their favorite shaped cookie cutters and make the cookies. Grown-ups only for the baking part. If you’re feeling ambitious, when the cookies cool, you can decorate them with royal icing or frosting or sprinkles. We weren’t really feeling up for the mess and the cookies are so yummy without, so we just added some sprinkles instead and skipped the frosting. Maybe next year.
Sugar cookie recipe:
Chocolate cutout recipe: