Our un-picture perfect experience with trimming the Christmas tree

So last night we decorated the ol Christmas tree.

In the forty-five minutes it took us to do this, I believe there were two spankings administered, a few trips to time-out, some biting, some pushing, some fussing, lots of crying, and one Mommy who angrily stood guard over the box of ornaments less a toddler or preschooler happen to fall into it.

N. Rockwell Christmas - feature
Obviously we are not candidates for some Norman Rockwell-esque painting here at casa de phillips.

I thought having the children help decorate the tree would be a great idea. This is the first year where they both can participate and both (slightly) understand what is going on. We finished supper early in anticipation of our decorating party. We turned on the Carpenter’s Christmas Album. I lit a cinnamon-scented candle. The mood was perfect.

I believe the children lost interest about ten minutes into the whole process as  the husband  and I attempted to figure out how to add more lights to 750 existing lights on our pre-lit tree (we love us some white lights). Miss E, in all her two year old glory, mingled on the outskirts while  the boy  attempted to “help” by randomly tugging on the light strand the husband was attempting to weave through the center of the tree. Finally I broke out the ornaments…only to realize about two minutes in that the majority of our ornaments are breakable and sentimental. I kept swatting away little hands who tried to eagerly snatch ornaments from their protective tissue home and toss them on the tree. I also attempted to make sure no stray hooks ended up on the floor. Then there was fighting over who got to hold what ornament (Curious George was a favorite among our little crowd) and who got to place items on the top or on the bottom of the tree.

It was not a festive scene, by any means.

I know that each year will get a bit easier with such tasks as decorating the tree and I won’t have to be concerned over the fact that the Sesame Street ornaments have a dangerously high level of lead or that curious little hands can cause our tree to come crashing down at a moment’s notice. I know we will eventually reach a year when Christmas isn’t quite as magical and when no one begs to watch “Elmo Saves Christmas” just one more time. I know I will no longer have to secretly redecorate the tree after the children are in bed because the majority of the ornaments hung on the bottom fourth of the branches.

As I often remind myself of a quote a friend shared recently; these days with young children can be quite long but the years are terribly short.

Those days when little fingers are pushing the button “just one more time” on the singing Disney ornament seem quite long. Quite long, indeed.


  1. I remember when I was little my wonderful mother had a solution to this problem. She would decorate the tree inside with a small amount of ‘help’ from us. Outside we would find a small tree or shrub and mum would let us go nuts and decorate it however we wanted. It was always so much fun for me and my sisters, however remembering it now I kinda feel sorry for the tree weighed down in paper chains, threadbare tinsel, and the largest assortment of homemade Christmas decorations known to man.

    Merry Christmas

  2. OMG! That was identical to the scene at my house. I had all these visions of fun in my head and it was just one big cry-fest, scolding, benicetoyourbrother beat-down. I feel you Lynley!

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