Who decorates your Christmas tree?

It may seem like an obvious or irrelevant question, but who decorates your Christmas tree?Three chidlren decroating a Christmas tree

I discussed this with some Mums at kinder yesterday as we watched the kids decorate their kinder tree – a real Christmas tree sits in their group area with baskets of tinsel and ornaments so they can decorate and redecorate it as they wish. It’s a simple and fun activity for them.

Allowing children to decorate a Christmas tree

One Mum doesn’t let her kids near the tree and decorates it all herself so it is done properly and looks perfect. And Dhrynio commented last week that her mother-in-law had always decorated their tree so Dhrynio’s husband didn’t know how to do it!

Other Mums let their kids decorate the lower parts of the tree however they want. The upper part is either done by the parents or is directed by the kids but with parental assistance.Yong boy and Dad hang an ornament on a Christmas tree

A blog post I  read recently mixed both these traditions (I can’t remember where I read it – I’ll add the link when I find it!). She let the kids go wild and decorate the tree in the evening. Once they had gone to bed, she pulled everything off the tree and started again, doing it her ‘control freak’ way! She gave the kids the fun of decorating and herself the reward of having a perfect tree she could enjoy. I’m just not sure how the kids would feel when seeing their creativity was replaced by Mum’s perfection.

Protecting special decorations

Most of us keep certain ornaments – fragile and particularly sentimental ones – out of the kids’ reach and put them on the tree ourselves.

One Mum said she kept nothing from her daughter to provide the lesson of caring for things and being careful. I love that principle and her courage (she even lets her touch glass balls imported from Europe!), but I just don’t want to risk some of my more precious decorations to a curious and lively two-year old!

Many of my more precious ornaments are actually precious because they were made by my daughters when younger – they are fragile at the joins, etc rather than because they are glass, and precious because they are not replaceable.

Child participation and perfection

Can you have it both ways – let everyone put decorations on the tree for fun and have a tree that is stylish and perhaps artistic?

It may be a bit hard to manage both on one tree (although I have this image in my head now of a tree done perfectly on one side and chaotically on the other, and just rotating it as suits the time or audience!)

To me, a solution is to have two trees or two rooms/areas and treat each differently.

For example, have a stylish tree in a formal lounge room and let the kids be creative with the family room tree.

Or maybe it can be a time share thing – let the kids decorate the tree on 1 December but redecorate it on the 19th or so so it is ‘perfect’ for Christmas Day photos and any gatherings you have in the house in the last few days.

So who decorates your Christmas tree?

Did you set your own decorating tradition or have you copied what you did as a child?

15 Responses to Who decorates your Christmas tree?

  • luckymadon says:

    When my girls were young I always had them help me decorate the tree. I would carefully ‘guide’ them on where to put certain decorations, but they still had fun helping and I had a tree decorated ‘my’ way.

  • darkmeiji says:

    Well, there are no children now at our house, me and I having both grown up. However, even when I was a kid and up to now, my mother has always been in charged of decorating the tree. We do help sometimes, but more of as a task and not a family activity. Although, after the tree has been decorated, I sometimes string candies and those chocolates on a tube and hang them on the tree. My younger cousins eat them though so I have to replace them again and again. The candies are sometimes out of place, but so what 🙂

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Would you do the same thing, darkmeiji, if you had kids now? As in, would it be a parent task or a family event?

      If everyone is having fun with candy on the tree, it sounds like a good thing to do, even if they look a bit out of place 🙂 It’s not something we really do in Australia (I remember as a kid being bemused at images of popcorn strung across a Christmas tree as I’ve never seen it in real life) – even candy canes weren’t on trees when I was a kid.
      Santa’s Elf recently posted…Give resources for Christmas

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  • holunderminze says:

    If I decorate my christmas tree? You bet! It’s one of the highlights every christmas and the activity where everyone in the family joins in and put their touch to it. I like to do mine very personal. I do take inspiration from others or classical trees but I really think to add your own twist makes for a more pleasant time.

    • I love hearing of others who find decorating the tree a special family event, Holunderminze 🙂

      And I agree that it is a personal thing – some of the trees in public places are beautiful and perfect but they just lack the character and magic of a personal touch, I think. And a Christmas tree in a home should be inviting, rather than perfect in my opinion.

  • sorrowscall says:

    Unfortunately, most other people I’m around can’t stand to decorate the Christmas Tree. I don’t really mind too much though. I’ll just bust out some holiday jams and enjoy creating that piney work of art all on my own.

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  • sterlingjay0123 says:

    Growing up, everyone in the family participated in decorating our tree. It was a huge affair. My mother had a love for everything sentimental and homemade, so any ugly bare patches in our tree, or clumps of tinsel were endearing for her. She’d always help us put heavy ornaments in places where the branches wouldn’t bow, and would always hang delicate pieces high where none of us could reach. We always had a game we would play when the tinsel would come out. She would fuss for us to put it on two to three strands at a time to make it look pretty and when she would turn we would throw clumps on or blow a handful to the top of the tree. When she would turn back she would playfully yell and fix it as we ran around to the other side of the tree to cause more havoc. It definitely sticks in my mind while I’m decorating my own tree now.

    • That sounds like so much fun, Sterlingjay 🙂 I love little things like that, something done once spontaneously that becomes a fun tradition that sticks around for a long time.

      I hope you have fun decorating your tree each year, too.

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