Christmas can be a hectic time, filled with parties, shopping, baking and wrapping. But if you have a new baby, it’s crucial to take the time to slow down and make the holiday experience special for the whole family.
Use their first Christmas as an opportunity to start new traditions like family photos or ornament making and find ways to get them involved by engaging their senses. Even if they don’t remember it, they’ll appreciate the stories you can tell about their first Christmas and treasured mementos from the occasion when they’re older.
Hang a Personalized Stocking
Although they may be unable to empty their stockings on Christmas day, hanging a stocking is the beginning of a lifetime of memorable holiday traditions. It’s also something they can take with them when they move out and start their own family traditions.
Personalized Christmas stockings come in a huge variety of styles with your little one’s name embroidered or printed on them. Fill it with two or three small items like plushies or rattles to give them something exciting to play with on Christmas morning.
Make Homemade Ornaments
Homemade ornaments are an excellent way to commemorate your child’s first Christmas and get them involved in decorating the tree.
You can whip up a batch of dough from baking soda, cornstarch and water (you can also add a few drops of pine, clove or peppermint essential oil after they’re baked for an extra festive twist). When the dough is ready, cut with a large cookie cutter and press your little one’s hand or foot into the dough for an adorable Baby’s 1st Christmas ornament that you can hang on the tree year after year to remind yourself of how tiny your child was.
If your little one doesn’t like the sensation of the dough or the holiday season is extra busy, you can buy a personalized Christmas ornament for your little one to hang on the tree.
Have a Festive Family Photo Shoot
Traditional photos sitting on Santa’s lap can be overwhelming for your child’s first Christmas. Although you can organize a virtual Santa meeting, there are other ways to capture the holiday magic your child will enjoy.
Choose a spot by the Christmas tree or fireplace, dress them up in their most festive outfit and have a special photo session with your little one. You can recreate the same setup every year to make a photo series showing your child’s growth.
You can also wear festive matching pajamas to stage a holiday-themed family photo shoot and use the image to print out custom holiday cards to give to friends and family.
Read Christmas Books
It’s never too early to start reading to your children. Start a family tradition by reading a new holiday-themed book each day leading up to Christmas.
Some wonderful books to add to your child’s festive library include Dream Snow by Eric Carle, Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and The First Christmas by Rod Campbell. Of course, no holiday book collection would be complete without The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore, which you can read on Christmas Eve curled up with your child under a cozy blanket.
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Make Baby-Friendly Christmas Cookies
If your little one has started solids and already sprouted a couple of teeth, cookies made with baby-friendly ingredients let them join in on the fun of festive baking.
These sugar-free gingerbread cookies are ultra-soft and ideal for a child still learning to chew and swallow. This recipe uses naturally sweet bananas and dates and a sprinkle of gingerbread or pumpkin spice mix.
Decorate Their Nursery
You don’t need to stop at the Christmas tree — go all out and decorate your baby’s nursery to create a festive atmosphere they’re sure to love.
Add twinkle lights they can enjoy while they play, or craft a festive mobile using old tree decorations or personalized glass Christmas ornaments to hang in their room. You can cut out paper snowflakes to stick to their windows or even put a decorated mini tree on their changing table to keep them distracted while diapering.
Take a Tour of the Christmas Lights
If your neighborhood puts on a spectacular Christmas light display, take your child for an evening stroll to stimulate their senses. Bundle them up in their warmest winter coat and plenty of blankets, and go for a walk as a family to take in the sights and sounds of the holidays.
Create a Homemade Advent Calendar
Your little one may not be able to enjoy the chocolate-filled advent calendar you can purchase at the store, but you can make them their very own custom calendar to open in the days leading up to Christmas.
Use tiny cardboard boxes or wrap cut sections of paper towel rolls in tissue paper and fill them with tiny age-appropriate toys (make sure none of the toys is a choking hazard). Number the packages and stack or hang them in a Christmas tree shape on the wall. Choosing the right box every day provides your little one with a festive activity and teaches them number recognition.
Start Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf is a relatively recent Christmas tradition that has quickly gained popularity among kids of all ages. Each night, you move the Elf to a different location in your home (sometimes positioning him in a hilarious pose) and your little one needs to find him in the morning. There is an accompanying book and video that can make a wonderful addition to your collection.
You can also take photos of the Elf and post them on social media to share the magic with friends and family members who can’t celebrate your child’s first Christmas in person. Your online photo Elf is also a great way to preserve the memories of this fun tradition for your child to relive when they are older.
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Make Your Baby’s First Christmas Special
Like the first Christmas you shared with your partner, your child’s first Christmas is something special you’ll always remember. Find joy with your child in the simple things about Christmas: making memories, enjoying the exciting sights, sounds and smells and partaking in new traditions.