Good morning ya’ll!
Dogs, babies, and Christmas decorations do not go together. From burning candles, a giant evergreen covered in fragile baubles and even strings of food, to a kitchen with frosting and sprinkles on every surface. If you’re hosting, forget about the nice china and stemware. Sorry folks, we’re using solo cups this year!
Why, yes, I happen to have three dogs, a baby, and a passion for Christmas decorations. Check out my tips on protecting your holiday home from your pets, and protecting them too! Candles, breakable objects, and even poisonous plants can turn your Christmas cheer into a trip to the vet…
Before we begin, we should have a few introductions.
We have dogs, it’s kind of a thing. Although they are pretty well-trained when it comes to dog Vs. people items in the house, when the decorations go up it’s like kids taking a trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
This is Stanlee (on the left), the annoyingly alpha male of the pack, and a completely neurotic baby.
This is Stella, the only well-behaved member of this entire household..besides myself. Also the only other female, interesting.
This is Gavin.
Two years ago, my heart grew three sizes.
Gavin is the worst behaved corgi possibly in existence. He constantly nips at his sister and he chews ALL of my socks and underwear (seriously, I had to create a monthly underwear budget after we got Gavin).
However, he is my baby, my firstborn. The year i got Gavin let’s just say I was a little preoccupied. It was the year I served pizza bagels on Christmas Eve. I’m not kidding.
So how do I avoid absolute catastrophe during the holidays? I don’t. Catastrophe and the holidays go hand in hand. They’re like PB&J. However, I do generally avoid burning the house down, or say, that ‘Elf’ moment where someone takes a flying jump across the living room onto the tree. I won’t say it’s easy, but by just keeping a few things in mind, you can avoid the,”Welcome! Allow me to pour you a glass of this lovely full-bodied Zinfandel in this red plastic cup in case the dogs get excited and break my nice stemware.”
Maybe you have already thought of all my ideas, after all, we as humans are adaptive creatures and when there is chaos, we adapt. In case you haven’t, read on for some tips on how to dog-proof your home during the holidays!
1. One dog at a time, please.
This has nothing really to do with decorating. Every year we host a Christmas party for our families and close friends, and every year, we deal with (we? I. I deal.) two very crazed, confused, and excited bulldogs, and one hyper disaster of a corgi during our holiday gala. Some of our family is not keen on dogs at all, so this just adds to the chaos (standing on chairs like the dogs are mice or spiders, you know this type).
Dogs feed off on one another, and it is WAY easier to fend off one dog than three so my tip to you is unveil one dog at a time. We (AGAIN, just me. I, myself.) did this last year and it worked so well I’m not exaggerating when I say it set a more relaxed tone for the whole evening. we just shut the dogs upstairs for a little bit before the guests arrived, and about half an hour after everyone was there we let one dog out every 20 minutes or so. by the time the third dog was out, the other two had already settled and you barely noticed we had any fur-challenged members of the family. Winning.
2. Opt for a ‘Tree Collar’
Shortly after the introduction of a crazed puppy into our household, we learned that Gavin had very specific and unusual tastes when it came to what he was going to destroy next. Strange things..unexpected things…like my freaking tree skirt. What? Like, why…?
So I just bought a new one, which Gavin didn’t destroy, but the dogs were constantly lying on top of it and wrinkling it and putting treats and dog toys on it. I, possibly the most quintessential virgo in existence, was moving closer and closer to insanity as more and more of my time was devoted to straightening out the tree skirt. Then i smartened up. I bought a tree collar!
I didn’t even know these existed. They may not be as traditional or fun, but us pet owners have to a make a few sacrifices here and there. What’s great about the tree collar is that it also deters the dogs from drinking the water out of the tree stand, we don’t need to talk about that though. It’s too frustrating for me.
3. Read up on my tips about poisonous plants
Besides my tree, I am not really into bringing a whole bunch of living plants into my house during the holidays. I know some people go fake for even their tree, but I really have nothing to say to ‘those’ people. Buy a real tree, people.
However, in case you can’t live without your poinsettia, mistletoe, or Ivy, check out my post on poisonous Christmas foliage.
4. Keep the presents away until Christmas day
Another lesson I learned the hard way. I have, since I was old enough to contribute to Christmas presents, always just put the presents under the tree as they were wrapped. Until Gavin was seduced my the shiny wrappings and ate, literally, four presents. The gifts were fine, but if you’re as meticulous as I am with your wrapping, having to re-do four presents is just devastating.
Now that we have a human child and are experimenting with the whole ‘Santa’ thing, keeping the presents safely hidden (on a very high shelf) will make more sense.
5. Secure the tree
Did I scare you with my mental image from Elf, you know the scene where Will Ferrel takes a flying leap on to the tree? Well, if you have particular tempting ornaments, it could happen. My recommendation: keep tinsel, popcorn strings, or anything remotely breakable up high.
No, I don’t mean only decorate the bottom half of your tree. Perhaps just opt for some nice, non breakable ornaments! They actually sell shatterproof ornaments, they have thought of everything…
6. Choose a hardy theme
Those pretty, delicate days are over. Consider decorating your home with things that are just a little more substantial!
There you have it guys! From one pet owner to another, I’m sure you have all your own tricks and tips up your sleeve for keeping your pets (and your decorations) safe during the holidays. If not, I hope you can use some of mine!
Share some of your tips with me! I’m always looking for new household hacks:)