But the years you have a toddler, well, everything changes. Trees must now be "unbreakable," meaning you have no ornaments on there that can break or cut them should they get them down, and it means you will be on constant "Tree Watch" to make sure they neither touch the ornaments, nor bring the tree down on their own heads. Both of which have happened this year by the way.
Oh? You didn't know it was possible for a 2-foot something toddler to bring down a 7-foot something tree? Well, it is. I'd heard the stories about myself and Neil, of course. Trees tied to the wall, lots of handsewn ornaments made by my mother so I couldn't chew an ornament and end up with a mouthful of shattered glass, etc, etc, etc. But it wasn't until I was cooking dinner one night and heard a very distinctive crash and then a scream that I knew what was really possible. There was Andrew, still standing, the main steel trunk of our fake tree somehow having missed hitting him on the top of the head, and his head almost poking through the branches of the tree. In fact, the only injury he suffered was a scratch on his forehead about 2mm long, and it's long since healed and gone away.
We tied the tree to the wall in 2 places the next day.
Last year, Neil and I put our gifts to each other, and the gifts to the kids from us under the tree before Christmas Eve, it heightened the excitement, and it meant a lot less unpacking from the storage room and arranging on Christmas night. But not this year. Not with little Mr. Grabby-hands as we like to call him. Those presents will be dragged all over and unwrapped within an hour of putting them out. Everything goes out Christmas Eve (after he goes to bed) this year.
There is also no fireplace this year, or toys with tons of little pieces and parts, and there are definitely no real candy canes on the tree. There is absolutely nothing that can tempt him to eat what he's not supposed to eat (like candy) or to go in his mouth and choke him (like Polly Pocket). In short, while these next 2-3 Christmases are going to be exciting in new ways (like trying to outsmart the toddler) it's also going to be very boring others (have you tried to find toys for a 6-8 year old that do NOT include tiny pieces without getting them only stuffed animals?).
I know it's kind of cliche, but I didn't know how much my life really would change after Andrew, and Christmas is one of those things I just never really thought would change. If things keep going the way they are going, we might even have to change what we do on Christmas. It's getting hard being at 4-5 different houses in one day, we may have to start getting people to come to us. Oh well, there's time to figure that out another year! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to teach Andrew that the keyboard is a)not a toy and b)really not fun to play with.