Trimming the tree with a preschooler can be a whirlwind. By the time our tree is up and decorated, I'm usually pouring myself a stiff eggnog and wondering what the heck just happened. Everything looks Christmassy enough but I feel like a grump, hubby is covered in pine sap and the kids are either exhausted or cranky. But that was Christmas past!
Over the years, I've discovered that by slowing the tree trimming process down completely everyone seems to enjoy the experience that much more. I recommend setting aside a full two days and to use the "5 Senses Tree Trimming Method" to get every family member fully engaged in the joy of bringing a tree into the house. What is the "5 Senses Tree Trimming Method" you ask? Ah! Great question!
The 5 Senses Tree Trimming Method
The whole process begins on Friday night. We head out to select our tree either as soon as dad is home from work or right after supper. Every year, I will need to be talked out of selecting the 8 foot tree that looks so beautiful on the lot but that leaves our angel smooshed against the ceiling and gasping for breath. Normally we end up bringing home a 6 foot one that is the most fragrant pine we can find! And here is where the sense of smell comes in. This first night is all about just being with the new tree. Finding it a perfect spot, making sure it's straight in the stand and breathing in the smell of fresh green in our home. The tree takes it's time to drop it's branches and settle in and we just enjoy it for what it is: a tree in the house! This doesn't happen every day!
By this time the kids are ready to begin the decorating process and mom and dad are already exhausted. So. Here is where we crack out the hot chocolate to warm our bellies after having been outside in the cold air. Nothing like cocoa and some cozy candles on a weekend before Christmas! And now everybody starts to feel a little bit drowsy from the warm milk and it doesn't take too much convincing to get everyone into bath and bed.
"It's a Wonderful Life!" - it truly is... the kids are in bed, the lights are down low and it's Christmas. Hubby and I will pour a glass of wine, throw on a Christmas film and begin untangling the Christmas lights. In the past when the kids were racing around and champing at the bit to decorate - we would find ourselves winding strings of lights around our own necks to hang ourselves from the rafters but with this new tradition - and another glass of wine - it's somehow kind of not such a pain. Slow and steady the tree gets lit and we usually end up switching off the film to "watch" the tree instead before hitting the hay.
It's usually still dark when the kids get up the next morning - I mean it is winter and these are our kids after all - so hubby will creep downstairs before everyone comes down and light the tree to a choir of oohs, aahs and wows!
Ok! It's Saturday! Time to decorate the tree! Here's a fun game to play and one that originated in the Overall household: Iiiiiiiiiit's Guess the Ornament ! Growing up, we had the same favourite ornaments year after year so it was always fun to take turns closing our eyes and guessing which ornament a family member just placed in our hands. Remember that preschoolers may not always be able to rely on memory to identify ornaments yet so selecting ornaments with neat textures for them to guess makes the experience most fun! And here is my favourite old ornament! Can you guess which decade I grew up in? Yikes!
Once all is decorated and cozy, we will often host a small "wassail" gathering with family or neighbours. It's time to play Christmas carols, sing and generally make merry! Now the sound of giggling, running around and general childhood excitement is cause for joy and not for frustration since the entire process is complete.
The tree is trimmed!