Baby’s first Christmas means more fun, more cuteness, more joy…and definitely more wonder as you see the holiday season through their eyes!
When I was a new mom, I wanted to do all the post-worthy moments. I studied Pinterest and ordered 77 things online. I pored over personalized Christmas cards and wanted to perfectly capture her cuteness.
What happened, in actuality, was more real-life than fairy-tale perfection. In an effort to create a photo I’d seen, I dressed her in a tiny Santa suit, wrapped her in lights and sat her in front of a decorated fireplace. When I stepped back to get the perfect shot, she promptly fell over and bonked her head (she was fine but bawled).
Then I worried all night about the bump on her head AND whether she might’ve ingested anything dangerous when chewing on the lights. #FirstTimeMom
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Focus on memories instead of perfection. Skip the staged stuff and be present for the experience and excitement. Whether you go all in or keep it simple, keep memories, traditions and fun at the forefront. Nothing needs to be picture-perfect to be sweet and memorable.
When you ask many parents how they celebrated their baby’s first Christmas, they’re likely to say something like: “Things were so crazy we didn’t do much!”
Adding a baby to the mix means accepting the unexpected. And cherishing those perfectly imperfect moments that come when you’re a mix of excited and sleep-deprived, the baby is being a baby and everything is a first.
So here are some tips for relaxing and relishing (instead of stressing!) in the joy of a baby’s first Christmas.
You’ve got some darling holiday swag coming your way. (Pro tip: Grandparents love to buy “baby’s first” gear, so let them.) Here’s how to make the most of it.
Nothing says, “EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR” like another name and face on your Christmas card.
Put Baby’s sweet face front and center. To get the adorable result you’re hoping for, check out these tips from Hallmark photographers—and pay special attention to the “10 tips for getting great baby Christmas pictures.”
Or simply use a cute snap from your phone that captures Baby’s everyday adorableness. Either way, your card will showcase the new “gift” in the family this year.
It’s time to hang another stocking! Go matching or uniquely yours (bonus points if parents have theirs from childhood). Add one for Baby, even if it’s mostly filled with rash cream and teethers. Check out these cute stocking-stuffers that Baby’s sure to love and/or chew on:
Start filling the scrapbooks and shoeboxes with keepsakes now. They grow so fast, so be sure to capture their teeny-ness with handprint art (I’m a fan of the classic painted handprint reindeer). For giftable handprints, we recommend:
- Bless This Mess Tea Towel Handprint Kit
- These Hands Hold My Heart Tea Towel Handprint Kit
- Our Family Handprint Picture Frame Kit
- Blessed Baby Handprint and Footprint Picture Frame Kit
- Baby Handprint Frame Kit
- And for the baseball fan, a Baseball Handprint Kit
Bundle up in matching pajamas, slippers and other cute props. Got pets? Don’t leave them out. This is your time to set the bar for adorable (or ridiculous!) for years to come. Bonus: Babies in cute holiday gear (or families in matching holiday gear!) make for instant photo ops. Here’s some cuteness to get you started:
Babies don’t have opinions on size and fluffiness (yet) but choosing a tree is a big-time family event—so definitely include the littlest member. And remember, you’ve got options:
- Live trees. Bundle up and pick out an evergreen from a cut-your-own farm, a local organization’s tree sale or an area store. Bonus: Tree farms make supercute backdrops for casual Christmas pics!
- Artificial trees. Or release your vintage tree from the attic in all its sparkly silver foil splendor.
- Tiny trees. Get a teeny tree (real or artificial) for Baby’s room. Soft Christmas lights are lovely when you’re rocking a little one to sleep, and everything is sweeter when it’s teeny-tiny (like these miniature Keepsake Ornaments).
Whatever you choose, you’ll need it for…
Decorating your tree just got 100% more meaningful (and cute!). Don’t know where to start? We’ve got that covered.
- Whether you choose a beloved Disney character, a classic “baby” icon, a photo holder or the year, you can’t go wrong with any of these Baby’s First Christmas Keepsake Ornaments.
- Celebrate the newest member with Hallmark Keepsake Family Ornaments (with options for grandparents, too).
- Remember this first year with Keepsake Ornaments based on characters from favorite bedtime stories or the movies you streamed during late-night feedings. Or, if you have older kiddos, choose characters from the movie they watched 900 times this year.
- DIY some ornaments for your tree or to give as gifts. Depending on how serious you want to get (and whether or not you want to dig out the hot glue!), there are tons of ideas online to help you create your own. These were a big hit in our house.
- Pick up ornaments when you travel or go to events as a family. Be sure to commemorate “Baby’s first trip” on the tree!
You know who loves babies? Grandparents. (And aunts, uncles, cousins…) Here’s what to consider when it comes to making the rounds during Baby’s first Christmas.
- Travel plans. So will your loved ones drop by for a visit and a cuddle? Or will you bundle up and make the rounds to see them? Whatever you choose, do what feels right to you. Baby’s first Christmas should be special and fun, not hurried and stressful. If you’re all staying home in jammies and sleepers, so be it!
- Homebodies. There’s no better excuse to move Christmas to your house than a new baby. If you’ve been hoping to make your home the place…this is your moment. (Pro tip: “I don’t want to mess up her sleep schedule” is a totally acceptable excuse to have laid-back, cozy Christmas at home.)
- Over the river… Sometimes, of course, the most meaningful memories are made in other people’s homes. The holidays are when you learn that grandparents make the best babysitters and cousins make the best friends. Bonus: They can hold Baby while you take a quick snooze!
- Family traditions. The calendar fills up fast with family gatherings. Will you go to a candlelight service or midnight Mass with your parents? Say Hanukkah blessings with in-laws? Curl up on the sofa for college bowl games? Check out lights from the warmth of your SUV? Whatever you do, put family and fun first…let anything that feels like too much work be put off for when Baby is older. #SayNoToMomGuilt
You might find yourself with new “must-dos” this year! These are the “big ones” you might want to consider adding to your list.
- Meet the big guy. Let’s start with the visit to Santa and the resulting angelic (or red-faced-screaming) snapshot. And don’t stress over the outfit: Fancy or cozy (think Christmas-y sleeper) is totally fine!
- Sweet stuff. Consider cookie-making—even if Baby’s whole job is to gleefully gum a sugar cookie until face and hands are covered in sprinkles. Feel free to buy premade cookies and icing in a can. I won’t tell.
- Put a bow on it. Your little one might “help” with the gift wrapping—in which case we strongly suggest taking some super-silly pics. (Tip: a big piece of low-tack tape in an older baby’s hands will buy you tons of time!)
- Snow day. If you live in an area that gets flurries, take a quick sled or snow angel break! Get a picture of your well-bundled baby (what you can see of them, anyway), then let them at it to taste and feel the flakes! (Pro tip: Set your expectations low. Frigid fun is fleeting—just enjoy this quick “first!”)
- Love out loud. Nothing says Christmas like classic tales and carols. Family story times and sing-alongs (no talent required!) are as traditional and fun as Santa himself. Get Baby babbling with some plush musical friends.
Of course, on Baby’s first Christmas, the memory-making is mostly for the parents. But every family needs sweet traditions that are unique reminders of who they are and where they’ve been. You’ll always remember your baby’s first Christmas: Your heart will recall their eyes seeing sparkling lights for the first time, their toothless grin at a dancing Rudolph or the warm weight of a sweet baby in a Santa sleeper on your chest.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret…every year, it gets better and sweeter.
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