The tree is really the heart of Christmas. It’s the thing you gaze at, mesmerised, after two too many Baileys when the kids have finally gone down on Christmas Eve. It’s what you gather round on Christmas morning, and the putting up and taking down of it are what really mark the beginning and ends of Christmas.
So why should your kids miss out on their own slice of sprucey action? They have their own rooms, so should they have their own trees?
It’s a finely poised issue. Here are some arguments for and against.
THE CASE FOR:
1/ It can give your kids a sense of independence in a safe environment, and help them to feel that their room is their own space where they can really live and not just go when it’s bedtime.
2/ If 1/ is successful, you will get more peace.
3/ You might be struggling to get your children to take ownership of tasks and take responsibility for the tidiness of their room or household tasks. Sometimes small amounts of authority and control can really help develop that sense of responsibility. Giving them a tree, some materials and the freedom to decorate and maintain the tree however they see fit can be an important and fulfilling step.
4/ Once they’ve done the infuriating and finicky work of untangling, sorting and hanging a small tree’s Christmas decorations they will look on you with new-found respect for your work on the huge tree in the living room.
5/ Pine needles mask all sorts of growing-person smells.
6/ If they have pets, or even favourite toys, it’s a chance for them to wrap little presents for them and leave them under their own tree. Kids love playing grown up and you could help them develop their own very personal Christmas morning rituals.
THE CASE AGAINST:
1/ Are you mad? Have you seen the fire statistics?
2/ Your child might be old enough to cope with a topple-prone tree, electric lights and jaggy pines, but over Christmas you are likely to have visits from families with smaller children. You don’t want the tree to make the kids’ room a no-go area.
3/ Is one carpet full of pine needles not enough for you, you masochist?
4/ We all want to make Christmas special for our children. But they’ll already be getting presents, special trips, lots of sweet, salty and downright delicious food and parties. So many parties. Do they really need their own Christmas tree on top of that? It might just be half a step too far down the indulgent path.
5/ Having lovingly and tastefully festooned your own tree with the exactly correct number of only the very best ornaments, some of which might be our Pools of Light, could you bear to look every day on the chintzy, haphazard, asymmetric explosion of colour and glitter that your child’s tree will be? Good on you if you could, but we don’t all have such strong stomachs.
6/ On the other hand, they might decorate it more nicely than you do, and that would break your heart.
7/ Ultimately the tree is at the centre of the family Christmas. It’s the place you all gather together. We think, in the end, one tree, one shared experience, one focal point for celebration is best. So for this reason we think the kids will have to wait for their own home to get their own tree. Also: fire. Don’t forget about the fire.