Christmas is fun for the whole family. But it requires care to keep it that way. Many of the beautiful decorations that give your tree its appeal are fragile and even hazardous. If your curious kiddos or pets have a tendency to play with everything, then it’s time to learn how to child-proof and pet-proof your Christmas decorations.

We’re here to help you ensure the only thing cracking during your Christmas season are nuts, and the only mess that’s made is the wrapping paper strewn about after the excitement of opening gifts.

First, we’ll go over some general measures that’ll help keep your children, pets, and Christmas decorations safe. After, we’ll explore how to child-proof and pet-proof your Christmas decorations for both children and pets specifically.

cat knocking over Christmas tree

Buy Shatterproof Ornaments

Shatterproof ornaments are one of the best methods for how to child-proof and pet-proof your Christmas decorations. They’re perfect if you have boisterous children or pets that enjoy navigating around like Taz the Tasmanian Devil. They’re also a nice option if you entertain guests who might be a little on the clumsy side.

Shatterproof ornaments are made from plastic and are designed to endure the kind of punishment that falls from trees inflict upon delicate decorations. And fret not about appearance—the right shatterproof ornaments look just as gorgeous as traditional glass ornaments. They feature the same sorts of colors, designs, and finishes you’ve come to expect from glass ornaments.

kid hanging Christmas ornament with parent

Barricade The Tree

Sometimes, you just can’t keep the pets or kids away from such a beautiful tree. Glowing, glittering trees are undeniably attractive, but that doesn’t mean they’re pretty playground attractions.

For children and pets that can’t leave the tree alone, block the tree from access with a gate or with wide presents. Baby gates or playpens can make for well-functioning gates. Gates or larger presents can be placed along the base of the tree, or farther away if you need to restrict reach from further away. Blocking the tree also helps prevent your high altitude-bound cat from climbing it.

gift barrier around the treeA worthy tool in your mission to child-proof and pet-proof your Christmas decorations is a wooden box collar. A box collar establishes a barricade around the base of your Christmas tree, and can be added after your tree stand has already been setup. With a collar around your tree’s base, you can easily set larger presents against it for a sturdier barrier. A wooden box collar is also decorative in and of itself, lending a traditional or rustic feel to your Christmas tree’s look.

Be Mindful of Where and What with Ornaments

When you child-proof and pet-proof your Christmas decorations, you might have to keep decorations away completely. Toddlers and pets can take a quite literally unhealthy interest in ornaments. If you have a toddler that treats everything in reach as toy, or a pet that wants to attack whatever hangs near enough to swipe or bite at, it’s probably best to decorate only the top half of your tree.

cat and ribbon

Decorating down to the bottom of your tree (using the shatterproof ornaments we’ve mentioned)? Ditch the tinsel. Despite being a classic, eye-catching decoration, tinsel is a serious choking hazard for children and pets alike. And if that tinsel happens to be swallowed, it can block up the intestines. But if you’re pressing forward with tinsel anyway, place it only on the top half of your tree.

Children and pets do not go well with certain types of ornaments. Small ornaments are a choking hazard, while breakable ornaments pose a choking hazard as well as risk for other injuries. Dangling ornaments, such as curtain lights, ribbon, and mantle garland, also attract curious children and pets. If these are pulled off the tree, your child or pet could make a big mess, or worse, get injured.

Sharp metal hooks commonly used to hang decorative Christmas balls and other ornaments can hurt pets or children. So child-proof and pet-proof your Christmas decorations that you choose to hang on the lower half of the tree by tying them to the tree using a ribbon or string.

How to Child-Proof Your Christmas Decorations

Give Them Their Own Decorations to Enjoy

Give your children their own Christmas cheer with special decorations just for them. Try putting string lights on the dollhouse for your child to admire. Or if you’ve installed a canopy in the kids’ room, put lights up to recreate a dreamy, star-speckled sky.

kids in bedroom with christmas treeYour children can have their own small tree right in their bedroom. And with small trees, you’ve got many options: table top trees, corner trees, and wall tress are all appropriately sized for a child’s bedroom. For toddlers, toy and felt trees are great for handling the wear and tear that other trees cannot. Your children will love decorating their personal tree over and over again for years to come.

For children allowed to have a smartphone or tablet, consider giving them their own tree with RGB Smart Lights by Twinkly. These Christmas lights offer an abundance of possibilities for enchanting moments. Your child (and you as well) will enjoy a broad spectrum of colors and special effects through a full range of customizable options—all easily controlled via smartphone or tablet. RGB Smart Lights are sure to brighten your child’s Christmas with creative fun.

Keep Decorations and Ornaments that Look Like Toys Out of Reach

Small children might find it hard to tell the difference between something to be looked at and something to be played with. And some little kids have a good time playing with about every object they get their little hands on. So use height to your advantage and put any decorations or ornaments that look like toys up high.

How to Pet-Proof Your Christmas Decorations

Get an Artificial Tree

To truly pet-proof your Christmas decorations, an artificial tree is the best option. Live trees drop needles, which can make both cats and dogs sick when eaten. Live trees also let off outdoor fragrances that tend to spark curiosity and mischief in pets. Artificial trees, however, don’t litter your floor with poisonous needles nor do they let off odors that excite animals.

Set a Barrier or “Alarm” with a Tinfoil Tree Skirt

Cats and dogs are both averse to the unmistakable sound and feel of tinfoil. So a tinfoil tree skirt just might be the creative idea needed to keep those cats or dogs away from your tree. You can also reimagine the barricade strategy mentioned earlier by making a tinfoil “moat” that draws the line farther away from the tree.

Avoid Christmas Balls and Food Decorations

The sight of some objects attract attention from children and pets like no other. Take the ball and the dog as an example. For some dogs with a history of enjoying play with a ball, an impulse to play with ball-like objects, even Christmas ornaments, practically becomes ingrained. This makes Christmas ball decorations unfortunate targets for some dogs.

Also avoid hanging food decorations like candy canes and cookie ornaments. Pets may want to eat foods that are meant for humans, but these foods can make them sick. Chocolate in particular is toxic to both cats and dogs.

Use the above methods to pet-proof and child-proof your Christmas decorations like a pro. Yet we understand if your situation is a little more specific. If you need help, we’re here. And we can also answer your other burning questions about decorating for the holiday season! Share your story or your questions through the contact information below. We’d love to help you put together a magical Christmas that your whole family will remember.