It really is the most magical time of year, and speaking from experience, the magic of the season is even better when you get to share it with your kids. But a lengthy to-do list and high expectations can quickly turn holiday magic into madness.
Don’t let anyone or anything steal the joys of experiencing your baby’s first holiday season. Follow these do’s and don’ts so your family stays safe and sane this year.
Holiday Do’s With a Baby
Do keep choking hazards out of your baby’s reach.
The holidays are filled with excitement and wonder, but things could take a turn if a curious little crawler gets his hands on the wrong thing. Wrapping paper, ornaments and shopping sacks are harmless holiday necessities to adults, but to a baby, they’re holiday hazards. Have a safe and happy holiday season by baby-proofing your Christmas tree and keeping other decorations out of your baby’s reach. And if you can, wrap presents when your baby is asleep. If you can’t, just be sure to keep your baby away from the wrapping paper, ribbons, tape and scissors.
Do encourage hand washing.
Unfortunately the holiday season is the same time as cold and flu season. If you plan on spending the holidays with people you don’t live with, make sure anyone who holds your baby washes their hands first.
Do keep your baby close.
From loud family card games to your uncles seeing who can more loudly tell the funniest joke to people running to their gates and to gate workers announcing boarding procedures, the holidays are loud, especially for sensitive little ears. Whether you’re at grandma’s house or traveling to visit family, loud noises and new environments can be hard for your baby to handle. You know what will help comfort your baby? YOU! You are home for your baby, and there’s nothing more comforting or a place we feel safest than home. Keep your baby her calmest and happiest in her baby carrier wherever you spend the holidays.
Do try and stick to your baby’s nap and bedtime routines.
I know it’s hard during the hustle and bustle of the season, but too many missed naps or late nights can quickly turn your holiday cheer into merry misery. One late night may be fine, but do your best to keep up with your baby’s current sleep schedule. A well-rested baby is one of the best things you can gift yourself this Christmas.
Do take lots of pictures and videos.
First bath, first outfit, first car ride, first time trying sweet potatoes – it’s a parent’s job to capture all the firsts your baby experiences. And the holidays are filled with plenty of baby’s firsts, such as your baby being in the snow for the first time and unwrapping his first present. Be present during these special moments, but take plenty of pictures and videos too. You’ll love looking back at your baby boy all bundled up in his first snowsuit or your baby girl pulling gifts out of her first stocking.
Do start your own traditions.
Your family may have trekked through the snow to chop down a real Christmas tree, but is that really baby-friendly? Probably not. This year, start your own family holiday traditions! Put your baby in his stroller with its footmuff and walk around the neighborhood looking at lights. Read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Open matching holiday pajamas Christmas morning.
Holiday Don’ts With a Baby
Don’t worry too much about holiday decor.
It’s OK if you don’t have the time or energy to decorate your home like the ones in Whoville. Yes, we can feel the spirit of the season through twinkling lights and a festive fireplace mantle, but it’s spending time with family and friends that makes the holidays so special. You can always deck the halls next year.
Don’t stress over cooking a grandiose holiday meal.
Think small and simple this year. Unless cooking is your thing and you have plenty of help in the kitchen and with the baby, it’s OK if you don’t invite your extended family over for a Christmas Eve feast or if you order a pumpkin pie from the local bakery.
Don’t go over budget on baby gifts.
I know it’s your baby’s first Christmas and you want to spoil her! But your baby will be happy with one or two toys, or even just the boxes they came in. Plus, between grandparents, aunts and uncles, I’m sure your baby will be plenty spoiled this year. If you’re still in need of some baby items, such as a stroller or baby sleeping bags, maybe you can ask Santa to leave them under the tree for you and your baby.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
Your extended family is probably just as excited to experience your baby’s first Christmas, but don’t feel like you need to attend every get-together or invite everyone over to your house. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to spend the holidays at home with your partner and your baby for his first Christmas.