As a kid, the tinsel and Christmas carols and big bows are almost too much wonderful to take in. Then, you get older, and while a good Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks might spark a little holiday cheer in your heart, you also begin to feel the stress of Christmas shopping and awkward family dinners.
When you have a baby, though, something amazing happens. The holiday season is magical again. Seeing the lights and hearing the sound of crinkled wrapping paper brings back all the memories and wonder of the holidays.
Here are some things you can do during your baby’s first holiday season to make the most of it.
Top Photo Op
If ever there was a time in your life to start sending out holiday cards, the time is now. There’s nothing like a fresh baby in holiday threads sitting under a tree. Smack a Santa hat on that baby and make your aunt and grandparents very happy people.
Find a Fun Stocking
Take a stroll through any Hobby Lobby or Target, or really anywhere, during the holiday season, and you will find a myriad of adorable stockings. A lot of places have stockings embroidered “Baby’s First Christmas” with a little plastic pocket where you can put that adorable Christmas card photo you took.
Yes, your baby grows quickly. Yes, Christmas jams are only technically relevant for the month of December, but just think about how cute your baby will look in Rudolph PJs. Plus, there’s really no reason your kid can’t wear Christmas PJs throughout the year. My first baby was wearing Christmas jams well into April of the following year.
Invest in Some Non-Breakable Ornaments
Once baby comes, you will learn how deadly your house is. Babies are magnets to the most dangerous and breakable zones in your house. If you ever have a friend with a toddler over, that toddler will do a great job of showing you what might need baby proofing. One thing that you might not think about, since it’s only seasonal, is your Christmas tree.
Most Christmas ornaments are fragile – made of thin glass and sharp wire…not very baby friendly materials. So, when you have a baby, look around for soft, non-breakable ornaments that baby can swat at without getting hurt. As your baby grows, each Christmas, he or she can help you decorate the tree with all those kiddie-friendly ornaments you stocked up on for baby’s first Christmas.
Let Baby Help You Wrap
Babies are known for being more fascinated with gift-wrap than they are by actual gifts. So, it might be fun to involve your baby in wrapping Christmas gifts for other people. Long before they can talk, babies will understand what you’re saying to them. So, the holiday season is the perfect time to introduce your baby to the idea of giving to others. Sure, the only thing that will likely stick with them is the sound and feel of crinkly, shiny paper. But, it’s never too early to start teaching them about giving.
Practice Saying “Thank You”
One of the coolest things about being a parent is seeing your training actually start to take. As adults, we get lazy and might not always say “please” and “thank you,” but when you have a new baby, the best way to teach them good manners is to model them yourself.
Make sure YOU say thank you when you’re given a gift and when your baby is handed one, tell them, “We say thank you!” You will say this over and over again for the next few years and then one day, your child will start doing it on his own.
Go Meet Santa…But Be Prepared for Tears
There’s really no way to predict how it will go – meeting Santa. Babies will probably express one of two emotions – indifference or panic. It’s worth a try, anyway. You’ll either get a cute shot of your little one perched up on Santa’s knee, or a picture of baby crying – one you can chuckle at for years to come.
Make a Christmas Ornament with Baby’s Hand Print
You’ve got to capture those tiny little handprints while your baby is still teeny tiny. Here’s a great recipe for making homemade ornaments with your baby’s hand. These also make great gifts for family members.
Your baby’s first holiday season will be filled with so much fun and so many firsts. Try to squeeze time in for these ideas to make the most of it!