Safe, Stylish Holiday Decorating and Entertaining Ideas

Safe, Stylish Holiday Decorating and Entertaining Ideas

By Krista Fabregas

The bustling holiday season is upon us, bringing with it the joy of transforming family homes into festive wonderlands. Dazzling lights, sparkly tinsel, fancy dishes, and children's laughter are all part of the holiday magic -- but young children and holiday decorations aren't always a perfect mix. Worry not, armed with a few safety precautions, decorating alternatives, and a dash of creativity, parents can create fun, hazard-free holiday homes for all to enjoy.

Decorate a Safe, Festive Christmas Tree

As the centerpiece of the holiday home, Christmas tree safety is a primary concern. The tree should be set in a stable stand and may be further secured by tying twine or fishing line from the upper trunk to a hook on the closest wall. Tree needles can be a choking hazard for small children, so check a live tree closely for shedding needles, try to keep the floor clear of dropped needles, and remember to keep the tree well watered to retain freshness.

Traditional Christmas tree decorations can pose child safety risks, but parents have several safer decorating options. If using lights, wrap strands close to the trunk, well away from little hands. Garlands and ribbon streamers, too, should be placed out of reach of small children because of choking and tree-tipping dangers. Fragile glass balls and ornaments, including any with small pieces, can be securely tied high on the tree, but avoid using tinsel icicles and hook-style ornament hangers around small children, as both pose choking risks.

Decorate child-accessible areas on the tree appropriately for children's ages. Some kid-tough ornaments to consider include mini frames made from fun foam, felt, or fabric; cloth-covered foam balls, canes and other shapes; solid wood shapes; and fabric bows.

Remember to check gifts under the tree for wrappings that may be dangerous, such as tied-on ornaments and stretchy elastic cording. For added safety around the Christmas tree, a versatile child safety gate such as KidCo's Configure Gate or Hearth Gate can be installed to keep little ones at a safe distance.

Deck the Hall... Safely!

Parents can comfortably decorate with swags of boughs, garlands and lights placed well out of reach over doorways and in other high areas, with electrical cords secured to the wall and plugged into inaccessible outlets wherever possible. When decorating a stairway in a home with children three years old or younger, avoid wrapping boughs, garlands or light strands around the stair railing or banister. These decorations pose the risk of choking or strangulation, and they also can make the stairs inviting to play on and railings difficult for small hands to grip. For a safer holiday touch, securely tie individual decorative bows or other durable accents onto the railing or banister, on the side away from the stairs.

Festive, Kid-Smart Holiday Home Trimmings

Parents can easily decorate child-accessible areas throughout the house using child-friendly items with a festive twist. Consider topping a coffee table with durable wooden bowls filled with colorful children's blocks, or quilted holiday baskets spilling festive fabric-covered foam balls. Other kid-friendly holiday décor ideas include tough acrylic candy dishes filled with holiday cookies, and carved wooden figures and charming toys tied with bright holiday bows. A children's wooden nativity scene can make a homey, worry-free holiday centerpiece in any room, and a child-safe dash of holiday color can be added to sofas using piles of festive holiday pillows.

Holiday do-it-yourselfers and crafters can give holiday floral arrangements and topiaries a safety boost by using break-resistant polymer clay containers, such as Timeless Accents pottery by Floracraft.

Add Holiday Color with Easy-Care Slipcovers

Parents can give a busy family home a real holiday lift with furniture slipcovers in rich seasonal hues. Ready-made slipcovers are an inexpensive way to quickly update a look or change the atmosphere of an entire room, and they offer the added benefit of protecting expensive furniture from sticky hands and holiday spills. Top slipcovered furniture with piles of festive holiday pillows for safe and truly easy-care holiday style.

Kid-Smart Holiday Kitchen Style

Families can enjoy festive and elegant dinner tables even in a home full of active kids. Adorn holiday tables and buffets with tough acrylic salad bowls and serving pieces in styles that mimic the beauty of fine glass without the danger of breakage. Also consider replacing traditional fragile glassware and stemware with safer polycarbonate drinkware. Glasses made from this crystal-clear, high-quality plastic are unbreakable, dishwasher- and microwave-safe, and available in styles that complement the dressiest table setting.

Child Safety on the Go

If spending the holidays away from home, parents with small children should take a quick moment to rearrange for safety upon arrival. Consider packing a few portable childproofing devices such as removable cabinet locks, electrical outlet covers and a pressure-mounted gate like KidCo's Center Gateway. If playing host this season, ask houseguests to keep medicines and toiletries safely hidden out of children's reach, or consider clearing an inaccessible shelf for guests' use. A careful moment will make holiday visits safer for children and more relaxing for all.

Home Safety Never Takes a Holiday

Whether celebrating baby's first Christmas or maintaining a home full of busy older kids, all parents should remember that safety never takes a holiday. But a little caution and creative planning can make an inviting, safe and stylish home easy to achieve for merry family holidays.

About the author

Krista Fabregas is the founder of KidSmartLiving, providing parents with excellent resources, ideas and products that help create stylish, safe family homes. Visit online at, or email Krista at


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