If this is your first Christmas in Berks County with a toddler who's up and walking, you have a whole new ballgame to deal with when it comes to decorating for the holidays. You need to rethink everything, especially the tree. There's so many shiny things that toddlers just can't resist. So how can you keep your home festive and safe for your little ones?

Here's some tips to keep in mind to toddler-proof your holiday decorations:

Skip the Metal Ornament Hooks

Metal and plastic ornament hooks can end up on the floor and cause a major choking hazard. String, ribbon, or thin zip ties will work just as well and are very affordable.

Glass Ornaments Up High

You don't need to keep your precious glass ornaments in the box this year. Just put them up and out of the way on the tree.

Make a Special Toddler Tree

You and your young ones can make their own special tree to distract them from the larger one. You can make one out of felt cutouts, dowels, and wood slices. Be creative. Or you can play "Pin the Ornament on the Wall" by making a construction paper tree that you can tape to the wall. Then you can cut out paper "ornaments" and let your toddler stick them to the tree. Or you can do the same thing with felt.

Let Them Help Decorate

Usually toddlers love to mess with things that are forbidden. If you let them help decorate the tree, this might help keep them from thinking the tree is off limits and from playing with the ornaments. It's kind of a reverse psychology. You can let them hang a few soft ornaments at the base of the tree.

Buy a Fresh or Artificial Tree

You want to keep your toddler from putting pine needles in their mouth, so a fresh tree or artificial one will do the trick. Plus, you won't have to vacuum as much, and it's less of a fire hazard. A win-win for all.

Get Out the Old Baby Gates

If you saved the baby gates, you can make a gate around the tree to keep your toddler safe. It may not look as nice, but it's easy to take down if you have guests.

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