The holiday season was made for kids. Sparkly decorations. Festive music. Fun treats. What’s not for them to like? But if you’re tempted to go all out for your baby’s first holidays with marathon baking sessions, extreme decorating efforts and frequent jaunts all over town, you may find that your new little bundle may not comply. After all, babies can quickly tire of loud noises, crowds, and new routines. Here are some ideas on how to mark the big milestone, but in a way that doesn’t overwhelm baby, or you:
Create New Traditions
It’s nice to draw from existing family traditions when it comes to your new clan, but it can also be really rewarding to start new customs of your own. Some low-stress baby-friendly ideas: Read a holiday book before bed (or record Grandpa doing it, and play that for baby each night), make an annual craft for the mantle or tree (pressing those tiny feet onto clay is a great first-year idea), or get all bundled up and stroll through the neighborhood that goes all out with holiday lights.
Travel Without Stress
When it comes to holiday travel with a kid in tow, think simple. Dress your little one in easy on, easy off clothes. Pack just a few days’ worth of clothing (assuming there’s laundry at your destination). And save room by buying bulky formula and diapers when you arrive—but do make sure to bring along one diaper per hour of travel, says Parents magazine. If the idea of travel still has you stressed, feel free to shake things up and stay home, parent coach Tracy Gold advises readers of The Bump. “[Your new] family should come first,” she says.
Capture Special Moments
Sometimes themed family photos for holiday cards may get a bad rap when they’re overly staged. But if there’s any time to pull out all the props, it’s for baby’s first—because who can resist a tiny tot with deer antlers? Plus, the cards can double as a birth announcements if you haven’t already sent those. Other simple ways to capture baby’s first holidays, according to Parents: Compile a scrapbook with mementos and pictures, write an annual holiday letter to your child, or save a precious holiday outfit so you can reminisce about how tiny she really was.
Make a Plan for Gifts
Experts often advise new parents to be practical with baby’s first holiday gifts—the child won’t know the difference, they say. But it can often be hard to comply. At the very least, try paring down the list to a few special items. Or go easy on the budget with inexpensive gifts that baby will still enjoy (like blocks or stuffed animals). Either way, spread the flow of gifts over the course of a day (or a few days), suggests parenting advice site What to Expect, because baby is more likely to be confused than delighted by an avalanche of boxes. And if you do happen to go overboard? Tuck a few of the toys away and surprise baby over the next few months with a “new” toy, the site says.
It’s true, few things are as precious as your baby’s first holidays. But rather than stress about making them perfect, remember that the glory of the season is already right there in front of you, in your baby’s twinkling eyes.