Holiday Decorating with Children

Mentor LeAnne Bunnell, Principal of elle design, shares insight into holiday decorating like a pro, a space with children. >>

I have children.  And while they are no longer really little, they once were, and I remember being torn between including them in decorating the house, and quietly doing it myself while they weren’t watching.  Let’s just say their tastes ran to the ’…and this and this and this’ school of decorating.  I managed to survive these years and have some tips to help you survive yours.

And yes, I did redo the tree after they went to bed.

Real versus fake: the tree  

A touchy subject for some people. I see the pros and cons of each.  BUT the key is safety. Lets avoid tragic fires shall we?

Don’t let your real tree dry out. Wait until later in the season to hoist it up.  Fill the reservoir daily. And here on the dry prairies I also mist my tree twice a day.  Yes.  Really.

Artificial Christmas trees are looking good these days. It’s a bonus if the lights are pre-strung as children are not remotely interested in the light stringing and the ensuing parental bickering can be avoided.

Ensure your tree lights are in working order; no exposed wires, replace bulbs that are burned out. Ideally you have done this the year before when you’ve taken down your tree.  Who wants to hunt for new bulbs at in the middle of tree decorating night? Not my husband, that’s who.

Lose the baby gate

Place precious, breakable ornaments higher in the tree, avoid the flocked tinsel and lose those silvery icicle strips.  Actually, avoid these even if you don’t have children.

If you have the room, try two or more Christmas trees.  Allow freedom of expression on a family or children’s tree, but keep a more décor-focused tree to your house’s public areas.  This is a fantastic solution for all us perfection driven mommies and daddies who re-do the tree 3 times before we are ‘happy’.

Poinsettias should not be placed where children (or pets) can eat them.  They may come to some harm if ingested; who knew they tasted good? But please. No fakeroonies.  Ever.

I love candlelight especially at Christmas.  It transforms not only the space, but your face too.  It is difficult to be unattractive in candlelight.  But it can be a danger if you have young children; that dancing flame is so compelling to little people.  I love the battery-powered candles now available almost everywhere and at every price point.  Choose from everything between tea lights and towering pillars.

Decorate family spaces or your children’s rooms with the inevitable school Christmas crafts.  AND never ever throw them out.  You will be harangued forever because no matter how ugly or ill conceived, THAT one ornament will be yourchild’s favorite.  I have a ‘Christmas’ ornament that is made from 3 Popsicle sticks, circle stickers in yellow andblack, and a red plastic ribbon. And I will have it until the end of time. Thank you Mrs. Killam.

Keep perspective

Remember that this season is about family, friends, love and the magic we create for our children.  It’s the traditions we follow, the stories we tell, and the time we spend with our favorite people that make the memories.

Now. Pour the eggnog!

elle design, author of this feature, is a Interior Design firm in Calgary, Alberta. LeAnne would love to talk to you about designing a space expressly for you.

You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.


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2 Responses to “Holiday Decorating with Children”

  1. David Grover Says:

    Living Christmas trees are fun but I have a severe warning for you if you do choose to get a real tree: My aunt had her house burn down because the tree caught fire! She gave a child a candle to hold and she got busy doing something else, next thing she knows the front room is ablaze because the child had lit the Christmas tree on fire.
    Keep fire AWAY from real Christmas trees, especially when they are dry!


  2. LeAnne Bunnell Says:

    Very good point David, and I agree that attention to safety is paramount especially during the holiday season.

    I think battery powered candles look fantastic and allow you to get the look without the associated risk of authentic flames. Worry free illumination!

    A dry tree can be hazardous and along with constant watering and misting, limiting the time it is up in your home can reduce the risk.

    Thanks for commenting David!

    Happy holidays


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