New Beginning, New Traditions: Things to Consider for Your Baby’s First Christmas
Christmas is a special time of year that becomes even more significant when you first become a parent. This is a unique time in life when you get to introduce your new son or daughter to the magic of Christmas. Now, more than ever is the best time to start traditions that your child will grow to love and most likely continue implementing year after year throughout their life. Here are some great ideas that will help start your holiday season on the right foot, making this Christmas one for the books!
Santa or No Santa? Now is the time to decide what Christmas beliefs you want to establish in your home. Do you want to celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday? Do you want your children to believe in Santa Clause? What is your stance on the amount of Christmas presents your family gets and gives each year? Do you want to consider eco-friendly alternatives to typical Christmas traditions? Establishing family values around holiday celebrations at the beginning of your child’s life will make it easier for you and your partner to build traditions that coincided with your beliefs, whether they are mainstream or a bit non-traditional.
Christmas Stories Equal Lots of Snuggle Time During this time of your child’s life, they need more you time than they do presents. Make sure to get some extra snuggle time in while also starting a tradition of reading your favorite Christmas stories to your child. The extra bonding and new exposure to holiday words will help your baby’s cognitive and social development during this critical time of their life. Not many gifts can top that!
Make it Personalized If you want to pass on the tradition of Christmas stockings, make your child’s first stocking extra special by giving it a personalized touch. It will become a favorite part of Christmas year after year and is something that will make them feel especially loved. After a few years of visiting friend’s houses at Christmas, they will realize that not every child has a beautiful handmade stocking with their name on it. So, jump on Etsy and find an easy DIY pattern that you think is perfect for your little girl or boy. If you don’t have a sewing machine or the time to cut out all the little pieces for your stocking, don’t freight, you can still grab DIY kits that have almost everything prepared for you. Try this Christmas Tree Surprise DIY felt stocking kit from Bucilla.
Establish Inclusive Traditions Many families have traditions surrounding pajamas, including mine. I remember the excitement and anticipation of finding out what kind of PJs my grandmother made for all the grandkids this year. She was an amazing seamstress and would typically make really comfy PJs that were stylish, but unique enough that you couldn’t find something similar in the department stores. My siblings and I would open up our PJs Christmas Eve and then line up oldest to youngest to take pictures in our matching sleepwear that our parents would then send to grandma. We loved that not only will we be getting fun pajamas that matched each other, but they also matched all our cousins on my Dad’s side. It was a good way for us all to feel included in the greater family and connected with our cousins despite living hundreds of miles away from one another. You don’t have to pick pajamas as one of your inclusive traditions, but pick something that will help your child feel a kinship with people that can become an important support to them throughout their lives.
Keepsake Traditions There are so many different keepsake traditions that you can adopt to help your child look forward to the next Christmas as well as look back on the different Christmases they’ve experienced up to that point in their life. It may seem daunting and a lot of work to keep up the tradition once you’ve established it, but there are lots of ways to make it simple and still have it be just as meaningful. Write a Christmas letter to your baby, recap your favorite memories throughout the year with them and their developmental highlights. Repeat this every year at Christmas and save them in a nice keepsake box that you can give them when they move out of the house. If you want to do something a little simpler, give your baby a personalized ornament. Each subsequent year, you can give your child an ornament that represents their growth or something they accomplished that year or even your favorite family vacation that year. Your child will enjoy looking back on each ornament and remembering what each one stands for.
Teach Compassion Start your baby’s first Christmas with a little compassion by giving back to the community or helping someone in need. Your little one may have outgrown some of his or her newborn clothes or maybe you don’t use that baby swing as much as you thought you would. Donate these items to a women’s shelter, the homeless shelter, or to the NICU at your local hospital. Record your experience in your baby’s record book so they will be able to later reflect on why this tradition is important to you. Continue this year after year, encouraging your child to choose a charitable gift and write down their experience with it. Perhaps, they will grow up valuing this important tradition and continue it with their future family.