Christmas Ramblings

99_MommyandJack2a.jpgLast Christmas season was wonderful and easy for my new little family.  Jason and I were still basking in the glow of being new parents. We were excited for extended family members to meet Jack. Jack was still young enough that planning holiday festivities around his schedule was no problem at all! But looking to this year … I was afraid things would be very different.

To be honest, I was worried this Christmas was going to be stressful. I was dreading putting out the Christmas decorations with a toddler underfoot, I was sure finding time to Christmas shop was going to be next to impossible, and I was concerned that all of the holiday festivities would throw Jack’s schedule completely for a loop! (I can see my husband now … shaking his head at my tendency to worry too much.)

The reality is … this Christmas season has been great so far! We put up the Christmas decorations after Jack went to bed one night! We kept things simple this year and didn’t go overboard. In fact, we put up the Christmas tree without any ornaments so that Jack could enjoy and explore it without us having to constantly monitor which ornaments he was handling. (Did I mention the tree is pre-lit? All we had to do was fluff it and plug it in! That’s my kind of decorating!)

While the busy part of the month hasn’t hit yet, I shouldn’t worry too much about planning around Jack’s schedule for Christmas activities. He’s very laid-back and has never had a problem being flexible!

And on the shopping front, we are almost done, and it has been fun to shop with Jack! We only have a few more gifts to buy for family. Then we can turn our attention to shopping for Jack … who surprisingly has become the hardest to shop for!

Last year Jack was too little to care what anybody got for him so we gave him practical things like bibs, blankets, clothes, and other essentials. But this year, there is a new pressure to get not only toys he will be excited about but also toys that are durable and will grow with him over the years. We only want to get him a few presents, so narrowing it down has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I’m sure all of the pondering will be well worth it though when Jack opens his presents on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to experience Christmas through his eyes!!

Are you looking for gift ideas that are memorable, flexible, and durable? Be sure not to miss the 2009 Christmas Gift Guide in the December 2009 issue of ParentLife.

Holiday Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is just over a week away and many families are already putting up their Christmas decorations! The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Trees

  • 93_Christmas-tree.jpgWhen purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators, or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.

Lights

  • Check all tree lights — even if you have just purchased them — before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.  To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

Decorations

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons, and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame.

 

2009 – American Academy of Pediatrics

Stay tuned to the blog for even more safety tips from the AAP next week!