- Baby’s first Christmas is always a special time. There have not been any Christmas’s before this one, unless your little bundle of joy was a Christmas present. Your baby has no idea of what to expect, and if this is your first child, you really don’t either. Oh, sure, you’ve probably been part of family Christmas’s for most of your life, but this will be your first Christmas with your baby. Often, young families put a lot of pressure on themselves to have a wonderful Christmas. Here are some suggestions for having a fantastic holiday season with your baby.
- 1. Make it a safe season. You want your beautiful holiday to be a time of joy, not of tragedy.
- - Use a table top tree and place it well out of baby’s reach. Those monster floor to ceiling trees are beautiful, but this is your baby’s first Christmas, so you can start small.
- Cover plug outlets and protect electrical decoration cords just as you would cords for lamps or any other electrical appliance.
- Pay attention to the UL recommendations on electrical decorations.
- Avoid tinsel. It isn’t good for pets or for your baby. Likewise avoid angel hair and other problematical decorations.
2. Make it a well-rested season. Between cooking, shopping and all your regular chores, plus taking care of a child that is somewhere between newborn and one year of age, you’ve got a lot on your plate. If possible, plan shopping and cooking ahead, and take breaks for your sake and for the sake of your little one.
- Plan shopping on your baby’s schedule.
- Keep shopping trips short.
- Shop online.
- Team up with a friend who has children and trade babysitting.
3. Keep it economical. With a new family member, you have a lot of added expenses. Many young families struggle financially during the first years, and your family might not be an exception to that.
- Talk with family members about giving home made gifts or no gifts at all.
- Focus on simple, enjoyable gifts for your baby.
- If family members want to give gifts to you, request practical gifts such as diapers, age appropriate equipment, formula or baby food.
- Provide a short list of favorite toys for relatives who want to give playthings.
4. Do not store gifts under the Christmas Tree. One of the most common disappointments for young families is the untimely unwrapping of gifts. If your baby is less than six months old, this probably isn’t and issue. But for mobile babies, those brightly colored packages are an irresistible magnate.
5. Practice a Twelve Day’s of Christmas routine, and spread the gifts out over time. Big gift giving days are full of excitement and often include irregular meals, unusual foods and lots of sweets. Sometimes they include a houseful of visitors. The result is often a baby that is cranky and tired, and possibly even has an upset tummy.
- Start with small gifts, and give them one day at a time. Allow at least fifteen minutes of uninterrupted enjoyment of the toy.
- Include books and music with the toys. Make a reading a nightly story a part of your child’s daily routine.
6. Give yourself a break. You are going to have lots of Christmases with your little one. Sure, you want this one to be special. But just take some time to enjoy the little gift that is part of your life. You know that it is Christmas day or Christmas season (or whatever gift giving holiday you are celebrating) but your baby doesn’t have an internal calendar or the ability to tick off the days until presents appear under the tree. If you are a couple, take an hour or two to celebrate being together. If you are a single parent, give yourself a minute or two to enjoy a good book, or to simply watch your baby grow.
7. Take the pressure off financially. Amazingly enough, your baby will be just as happy with a used toy as with one that is brand new. Here are some ideas for keeping your little one amused without breaking the bank.
- Use a baby exchange, such as Ebaby! Babies outgrow toys very quickly. The stacker that was so much fun just a week ago becomes boring and dull when a more interesting toy is on the horizon.
- Swap toys with a friend. The toys that your baby is tired of can be new and interesting for someone else.
- Keep toy purchases small. Your baby doesn’t need the flashing firetruck, the giant Elmo, or the Ewok that spouts gibberish at 2 AM (and neither do you. Some baby rooms are downright scary with all the talking, squeaking, flashing things in them.)
8. Give cuddly toys, but make sure that you make available the best cuddly toy of all: you. The cutest teddy bear in all the world won’t take the place of your loving arms wrapped around your little bundle of joy.
Having a baby isn’t rocket science, but raising one to be a happy, healthy adult could be even more difficult than the most complex NASA project. Developing low-pressure, enjoyable holiday or birthday times could take a lot of the pressure off you as the years roll by and your darling’s needs and wants grow more expensive. Take some pressure off. Enjoy year one when you can be a hero by giving small, inexpensive gifts and by giving the gift of yourself.
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