It's your first Christmas time together! Whether it's your first baby or a new addition to your growing family, the first Christmas with a new baby is such a special time. to make memories and start new traditions that you and your children will enjoy for years to come. Christmas will be different this year, and with everyone spending more time at home rather than rushing around the shops or visiting relatives, it could be an opportunity to find magic in the simple things you can enjoy with your baby.
With so many demands on your time over the festive season, the pressure to fit as many magical experiences into your baby's 1st Christmas can be overwhelming, especially for sleep deprived new parents. Don't feel you have to do everything this year. The fact is, your baby won't remember their first Christmas so the good news is that they really don't need many presents! So focus on a few simple ideas to help make this Christmas with your baby extra special.
Take a walk to see the Christmas lights
Babies of all ages love to look at twinkling lights! Pop your baby in their pram or sling and take a walk around your local area and admire the festive light displays with your baby. Not only is it a great opportunity to get some fresh air but it will help you to feel festive too! Alternatively pop into town to see the Christmas trees and light displays - Christmas is different this year and many businesses are going to extra efforts to make their shop fronts look wonderfully festive. Salisbury has an amazing Christmas Tree Trail around the town as well as the usual beautiful lights in the Market Square. All the details of the Christmas Tree Trail can be found here: Salisbury Christmas Tree Trail.
Create a special tree decoration
One Christmas tradition that my children love is to find their own special baubles in the box of decorations and hang them on the tree each year. Now they are older, we have both their baby's 1st Christmas baubles and home and school made decorations from over the years. There are lots of options for making a special ornament to mark your baby's 1st Christmas! If you're feeling brave and creative, why not make your own - homemade salt dough is great for creating hand or foot print ornaments, check out this great recipe on the BBC Website. Alternatively, you could order a personalised ornament from a small business, Salisbury's Clever Clogs Ceramics take the stress out of creating beautiful hand-painted ceramic baubles, Christmas eve plates and other keepsakes. Be quick, there is still time to order for Christmas delivery!
Make or buy a personalised stocking
One of the most magical parts of Christmas for little ones is hanging up their stocking on Christmas Eve! My children have always loved finding their personalised stockings each year, and it helps Santa not to get mixed up when delivering the presents ;) You can buy a personalised stockings or sacks from many small businesses online or keep an eye out in local Facebook groups to support local businesses. I love the colourful stockings from Hatty the Stocking Shop and festive red stockings from The Little Personalised Company, both local to Salisbury. Of course, if you're feeling creative you could always make one yourself!
Take lots of photos and don't forget video
First Christmases only happen once! It's important to be present and in the moment, but don't forget to take photos and videos so you can look back on those moments in the future. Take it from someone whose babies are now teenagers! They will be fascinated to look back at themselves in years to come and will adore spotting those familiar traditions that they have grown up with each Christmas. Although I love photographs, it's the videos that make me most emotional now. Those high squeaky voices and sweet mispronounced words make my heart melt.
Create personalised Christmas Cards and gifts
Grandparents, Uncle, Aunts and extended family will love nothing more that a personalised Christmas card featuring your gorgeous new addition! You can make cards yourself with hand and or footprints - there is a great tutorial from Glued To My Crafts to make a cute reindeer foot print card - which make lovely keepsakes too. Another option is to use a photo to make a card yourself or design them online and have them printed. Every year I capture my children's Christmas photographs and use Vistaprint to design and make our family Christmas cards. I love the variety of designs to choose from and they are great quality!
Enjoy a Sensory Christmas
Babies explore the world with their senses and Christmas is full of opportunities to help your baby to enjoy a wide range of festive sensory experiences. Depending on their age, your baby will love lying on a mat looking up at your twinkling Christmas tree, feeling tickly tinsel or a prickly pine branches, listening to Christmas music and jingling bells, the smell of festive baking, and even tasting his first Christmas dinner! Take the time to notice and explore all these learning opportunities with your baby and share the magic! Older babies may be desperate to grab the lights (and everything else) of the tree. A fun and safe activity if your baby is fascinated with the lights is to pop some battery operated lights into a plastic jar and secure the lid. Your baby can enjoy the lights safely to their heart's content.
Make time to relax
The most important gift you can give your baby this Christmas is time and attention. It's lovely to enjoy Christmas experiences together, but remember don't feel under pressure to do everything this year. Pick a few activities and traditions to start this year and you can be sure to add to them as your child grows.
Let's be honest, your baby is not going to remember their first Christmas, so cut yourself some slack, take time to relax, and enjoy time with your baby during the holidays.