It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Oh, Tannenbaum, Babies

My tree is up.

Most of you know how challenging it can be to keep ONE tot away from a tree. Imagine keeping five away. Not to fear. I am Experienced, and I am Creative. In previous years, the tree has been:

– wired to the ceiling
– placed inside a playpen
– set upon a table and wired to it
– placed behind a baby gate
– set up undecorated
– decorated only with unbreakable ornaments
– wired with cattle wire. (KIDDING)
– skipped altogether

Not once in my eleven or twelve or so years in this biz have I ever, ever had gifts under that tree until ninety seconds after working hours of the last day before Christmas.

Until this year.

My tree is up. It is also fully decorated – though it seems to me the cranberry-bead garlands were a little more symmetrical this time yesterday.There are two two-year-olds and three one-year-olds in this house.

There are also PRESENTS underneath it. The presents are untouched. Reckless, you say? It seems that way, I know, but really, all risks are calculated, this amazing circumstance accomplished in stages. Cautious, incredulous stages.

Monday: put up the tree, sans ornaments on the bottom half.
(The tots don’t touch the tree!)
Tuesday: place ornaments on the bottom half.
(The tots don’t touch the ornaments!!)
Wednesday: place gifts under the tree.
(The tots don’t touch the gifts. At all!!!)
Thursday: I take pictures for proof, because who would believe it otherwise?

This cannot be attributed wholly to me and my amazing way with kids. These are a GREAT bunch of kids. An astounding bunch of kids. Kids who – I can scarce believe it myself – look but don’t touch.

This is my true Christmas Miracle.

© 2006, Mary P

December 21, 2006 - Posted by | Christmas, Mischief, parenting


  1. My Thomas has done a very good job not touching the tree this year. You can see he wants, oh how he wants to touch, but he has done really well. It has to be tough.
    As the days go by it gets easier.

    Comment by Peter | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  2. Mary,

    Are you sure you haven’t handcuffed all of them when not actually taking the picture? Otherwise, how can you possibly have all those toddlers and no tree-touching? it defies reality!
    I can’t even keep the Poodles out of the tree or the village underneath without some fairly convincing threatening with a broom! LOL

    Comment by Avalon | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  3. Congratulations on the calculated-daily-tree-decorating task! You ROCK! This time last year (when Jordan was 2.5) I came home to find the bottom half of our tree sans ornaments – some on the floor either smashed or semi-intact, or (sheesh!) already working its way through his digestive tract!!! One more day ’til Friday – hang in there ol’ Xmas tree!!!

    Comment by Mama's Moon | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  4. That is amazing!

    I was waiting for the clincher when something dramatic crashed to the ground . . . but the true drama was that nothing happened but admiration!

    Comment by Lady M | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  5. Wow, that’s incredible. Quinn, at three and a half, STILL has trouble staying away from the presents and ornaments. (But that’s no big surprise, is it?)

    Comment by Kristen | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  6. For all the trials we’ve had with Christopher, touching the tree was never one of them. I really think he just enjoyed looking at it so much he didn’t feel the need to touch it.

    Comment by Candace | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  7. wow, that really is remarkable. here at my mom’s house we have a 24-year-old and occasionally (when she comes by to visit) a 27-year-old, and we’ve already caused multiple problems by touching the tree too much. of course, our tree is also precariously leaning to the left, which we figure is okay since the angel (whom we have named ‘eileen’) leans far to the left. we think she’s been hittin the eggnog a little hard this year.

    yay for well-behaved children! (unlike me and my sister.)

    Comment by lara | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  8. I am in awe.

    Comment by Betsy Wasser | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  9. I’ve finally figured out your secret, Mary P. You drug the kids, don’t you? Merry Christmas!

    Comment by MJH | December 21, 2006 | Reply

  10. We always has the tree up, decorated & with presents under it for at least a week before Xmas when I was a child – and with seven of her own, plus 1-3 fosterlings, that was no mean feat form my mother. But we also always knew that we were not to touch it (this was back in the days of glass baubles too!)

    It was just something we grew up knowing – like don’t touch the electric plugs, telephone or medicine cabinet!

    Now we’re grown up, both me & my sister put our trees up, decorated & with presents under them in early December, neither my kids nor hers have ever had an issue with it.

    Comment by Juggling Mother | December 22, 2006 | Reply

  11. The girls have always been pretty good about the tree and for the last 4 or 5 years at least, they’ve done all the trimming except for the lights.

    Can’t say the same about the presents though. My fault – I don’t have a “no touching” rule. Poking and shaking and guessing? Why not.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.


    Comment by Granny | December 22, 2006 | Reply

  12. WOW. That IS a Christmas miracle.

    I am still giggling at the idea of a tree in a play pen or wired to the ceiling!! Very creative 🙂

    Comment by Sandra | December 22, 2006 | Reply

  13. My kids have never been a problem with the christmas tree, on the other hand, 4 cats make a meal of it.

    Our daily ritual is placing the decorations back on the tree now!

    Have fun

    Comment by Si | December 23, 2006 | Reply

  14. Wow, that pretty much sums it up, WOW!

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | December 23, 2006 | Reply

  15. Ha – the first year we had cats, we tied the tree to the ceiling and left it undecorated until it had been well and truly explored. They were young and curious, and Ginger did indeed come bursting out of the tree four feet off the ground once before the ornaments went on. We still use only unbreakable stuff and put anything precious near the top. The bottom half is so-so, but not faring badly this year. Both cats and Pumpkinpie are not doing too badly. Our presents are off to the side, party to be out of the way of curious animals (two- and four-legged) and to avoid drips, and just be out of the way.

    I am prety amazed at those kids though! Some of them are very young to be so… hands-off!

    Comment by kittenpie | December 23, 2006 | Reply

  16. Our tree remained pretty inaccessible and untouched until my in-laws, in their infinite wisdom, decided to sit down in front of the tree with the baby and let her grab whatever she wanted. “Oh, here, up high where mom thought it was safe there’s a wooden ornament with lots of little parts that can be broken off and look! They’re the perfect size to choke on! Take that to play with!” Grrrrrrrr

    Comment by kate | December 24, 2006 | Reply

  17. I am speaechles with awe – Actual ‘litle angels’. Wow.

    PS…wired to the ceiling…hahaha that’s fantastic!

    Comment by chosha | December 29, 2006 | Reply

  18. I once had a wrapped gift sitting in my livingroom for 3 months after Christmas, since I hadn’t seen the recipient yet. It sat, pleasantly untouched by my own children and my daycare children. No problem, I never even thought of it.

    One day I did drop-in care for a little tot. I let him in the house, talked with his mother and closed the door as she left. I promptly turned around and the little bugger had unwrapped the gift. After it had sat there for MONTHS. The rest of the day was pretty busy with that little guy.

    Comment by Daycare Provider in Minnesota | January 4, 2007 | Reply

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