It's the most wonderful time of year! It's Christmas time! 🎄
Think about all the traditions you have and want to pass on to your children. Now think about all the people you normally visit, the places you will go, and the memories you will create.
👶 This year things will be different with a baby. Things will be very crazy and it will be hard to do a lot!
Remember your 👶 baby is too young to understand all of your plans so don't get upset when things don't go as planned. Just cherish those perfectly imperfect moments. We all have them. I'm going to share with you some things I've learned over the years to help your baby's first Christmas time go smoother.
🎅 Santa Photos 🎅
Don't spend a big budget on Santa pictures until you have an idea of how your baby will react. Some babies let strangers hold them with no problems and others scream when anyone but mom holds them. This is normal.
Try to plan pictures when your baby is happiest, well rested and not sick to get best results.
Start early, like right now. That way if the first attempt at Santa photos doesn't go so well, you can try again in a few days.
Mall or Department Store Santas 🎅 are just fine. This way you don't need an appointment and can go exactly when your baby is in a good mood. Plus some of them let you take pictures for free, others don't cost too much.
👪 Family Photos
Taking pictures at home is good too. While they're not professional, they are more realistic and have more memories than a professional shoot.
Your baby will be more comfortable in his or her own home so the pictures may turn out better anyway.
TIPS: Shoot when you get as much natural light as possible and use your tree or stocking-filled mantel as a background.
Holiday cards with family photos or baby photos are always cute, but they're not necessary. Don't stress out if you can't find the perfect photo to put on your cards. New babies can be overwhelming and time consuming.
Shop around Thanksgiving for holiday cards. It may take them a week or so to get to you. By shopping early, you'll have time to get them out.
I know you want everything to be perfect and that's great. BUT the reality is that you need to consider how each tradition will effect your baby. Then decide if you should do it this year or postpone it until your baby is a little older.
Starting new traditions can be fun too.
Christmas Fun for Weeks:
Celebrate Christmas all December long. You can do a little something Christmasy everyday or a couple times a week. There's no right or wrong way. Just do what you can when you have time.
Here's some things you can do with your baby:
Dressing up is always a quick and easy way to get festive. This can be as easy as putting on a Santa hat or dressing in Christmas colors. It's more fun when you dress up with your baby.
Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf can be as much fun as you'd like. These Elves are a huge fad right now and people are so creative with them.
The whole idea behind it is that the Elf is sent down from the North Pole from Santa to watch over kids for Santa. Every night the Elf returns to the North Pole to tell Santa about each child's behavior. They return every morning in a different spot than before.
Your baby won't understand this, but it is a cute and fun Holiday Tradition.
One of the things I love about Christmas is that there are so many ways to celebrate it. You can go to:
- Christmas parades
- Christmas plays
- Christmas shows
- Churches usually have good Christmas programs
- Christmas light show or just drive around looking at lights
- Breakfast with Santa
Make a handprint/footprint craft
Use your baby’s handprint or footprint to create Christmas scenes like reindeers, Christmas trees, Mistletoe, wreathes or snowmen. Be sure to put a name and date on it.
🍪 Christmas cookies: 🍪
Baking Christmas cookies is a great way to spend time with your family and enjoy sweets.
I can't bake and I don't try to. Instead I take my kids to bake cookies with my mom every year. They love doing this. They even enjoy sharing cookies with school friends, church members and the elderly.
This is such a great way to show you care.
P.S. It's okay to buy cookies if you don't have a baker in the family.
Try to avoid over-packing. You can buy packs of diapers and formula when you get to your destination.
You’ll most likely be able to do laundry wherever you are staying. However, do pack about one diaper for every hour of travel (you do not want to run out at 30,000 feet)
Babies First Gifts:
This is one of the easier parts. Luckily your baby won't want anything at this young age so you can get away with buying a few meaningful gifts & some fun toys.
🎁 Gift opening can be a bit overwhelming for babies so less is best.
Start your 🎅 Santa tradition:
The things you do now will reflect what you do for the next decade so put some thought into the practicality of everything.
🎅 Does Santa bring all the gifts, does he only bring a few?
🎅 Does Santa wrap presents or not? Keep in mind if Santa wraps the presents, as your kids get older, you'll have to hide Santa's wrapping paper, name tags & write differently. My kids questioned me about why Santa has all the same things we have...wrapping paper, name tags, and writes the same as me...
🎅 TIP: Leaving Santa presents unwrapped is much easier & less time consuming.
🎅 Will you leave any food and drinks out for Santa? If you do, be sure Santa eats & drinks it.
Please share your tips in the comments below.
Read a Christmas Eve bedtime story:
Snuggle up with a classic like “The Night Before Christmas” was one of my favorite Christmas memories. Little things like this stay with your children longer than the gifts they received.
🎄 Christmas Morning:
Now is the time to think about your baby's first Christmas morning.
- When will you open gifts?
- Will everyone eat breakfast together? If so, do you have a special meal?
- Do you want everyone to wear matching pajamas for photos?
Christmas pajamas are very cute and makes great Christmas pictures that you can keep forever.
TIP: get something unisex so you can pass them down to your next baby or a friend.
If you have more than one child, get matching pajamas.
Christmas is almost over. You have a perfectly trimmed tree 🎄, plenty of twinkle lights and a constant feeling of coziness and warmth. What will you have for Christmas dinner? Will you celebrate with family & friends?
Keep your baby's schedule: 👶
Keep in mind your baby's schedule when you plan your Christmas activities. Try to find a way to keep your baby's naps and feeding times the same. Don't skip naps or your baby will be miserable and that will make you uncomfortable.
You may need to change times of dinners and parties or leave early or get there late so your baby can get in his or her naps. That's okay. People will understand. Just tell them ahead of time that you maybe late or that you'll have to leave around this time.
Take lots of pictures and cherish these memories. Don't worry too much if things don't go as planned. It will get better as your baby gets older.
Please share your comments and tips below.