When you are single putting up the Christmas Tree isn't a problem, because honestly there's really no need for one. I never had a tree during my bachelor days and if ever I was missing the Christmas spirit I would simply go visit my parents. Within minutes I'd be reminded of the "joys" of the holidays thanks to some well placed snide remarks from my stepfather and in moments I'd be on my way enjoying my freedom feeling thankful all the while. Once I got married putting up the tree may have not been the most fun experience in the world, it quickly began to take on new meaning as a series of first ornaments began to be collected.
One from our honeymoon (we were married at Christmas time), one with the anniversary of our first date engraved on it, several others representing various favorite childhood characters. The next thing you know we had to have two trees. The white lit silver tree with the shiny ornaments and glitter covered icicles that faces the street for all the world to see....and the "tacky" tree covered in a million blinking colored lights and along with every ornament from E.T to the Tasmanian Devil. This one of course is every one's favorite because though it may not shine and sparkle like the one facing the street, it's covered with the most memories and mementos of our childhood. Then suddenly you have kids and trimming the tree takes on a whole new meaning.
When a child looks at a Christmas tree they don't see memories of times gone by, they see a thousand toys just begging to be touched. And as you know what goes up must come down. Never was this saying more true than when putting up a Christmas tree in a house filled with wild children. Quickly every parent realizes that every year one ornament must be sacrificed so that the child can feel the quilt of breaking their mother's favorite piece thus stopping all further contact with the tree for that year . We also learn that when it comes to decorating it's all about product placement. Height Plus Heart Equals Happiness. What this means is that instead of scattering ornaments around the tree at random where they can be picked off by any toddler that decides to crawl by, the tree needs to be decorated by importance from top to bottom. Remember that kitty cat your mom gave you as a housewarming gift? Top of the tree. How about that plastic Humpty-Dumpty sitting on a wall? Bottom of the tree. That Miss Piggy ornament your wife has had since she was three? Top of the tree. The light bulb penguin your grandma gave you last Christmas instead of the Ipod you wanted? Bottom of the tree.
First time parents need only look around their house at all the things that are kept on shelves, mantles, and in the top of cabinets to understand that when it comes to kids out of reach is always the best bet when talking keepsakes. The Christmas tree while it may seem like a beautiful work of art that only a Grinch would want to destroy, is actually an open invitation for chaos that your child just can't help but RSVP to. In order to defeat the foe that is grabby hands, remember to attack them at their weakness....they are only 2 1/2 feet tall.