Our family celebrates Christmas, and this time last year was not just Daisy’s first Christmas, but also mine and Brian’s first Christmas with a baby. As new parents, we wanted to make it special for her and us, but I remember finding it hard to think of things to do with a baby under a year old. What would she actually “get”, or at least enjoy?
So for any of you out there celebrating your first Christmas with baby, this year I did a little searching and put together my favorite ideas for introducing the magic of the season to your little one. (Plus all of these ideas can be easily tweaked for an older child too.)
1. Make a special “First Christmas” ornament or craft with baby.
Some of my favorites are a “My First Christmas Tree” ornament (tools required) and making a Time Capsule Ornament that could include any special mementos from baby’s birth or first Christmas. Handprint and footprint crafts are always popular and not too difficult - try the Salt Dough Ornament, Thumbprint Christmas Lights, or Footprint Reindeer. All of these are budget-friendly and will bring lovely memories when you decorate every year.
2. Introduce your favorite Christmas movie.
Everyone has a favorite. Mine is “White Christmas”, Brian’s is “A Christmas Story”, and if Daisy knew what was going on she’d probably pick “A Very McStuffins Christmas”. As a lover of old movies, I think it is so fun to share a childhood favorite with the children in your life. They’ll love seeing how excited and happy you are quoting your favorite lines and singing your favorite songs, plus be introduced to some new holiday colors and music.
3. Bake some Christmas goodies.
Make a gingerbread house or some Christmas cookies and let your child help “decorate” by smooshing their fingers in the icing and maybe adding some hand- or fingerprints. It’ll be such a fun (and messy) activity for you and your little pastry chef. Not to mention you’ll end up with some delicious treats to give as gifts, leave for Santa, or eat all by yourself. (Not judging.)
4. Sing Christmas carols.
This is super easy, and the cheery sound of all the classic Christmas songs is bound to get your baby in a fun mood. My go-to strategy is swapping in “Let It Snow” and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” as naptime songs.
5. Take silly or cute Christmas photos (while they’re still too little to fight you).
After you go to see Santa at the mall, have some fun taking your own photos at home. You can find some fun inspiration here. Photos like these are pretty adorable, and make a great Christmas card or just a fun addition to a holiday scrapbook.
Short on time? I can make a keepsake album of Baby’s 1st Christmas for you using your cloud-stored photos and social media posts. /shamelessplug
6. Have a Christmas smells party.
Let your child explore the holiday through its delightful fragrances. Grab a bunch of Christmas smells from around the house like candy canes, balsam, chocolate, apples and cinnamon, and any other smells that remind you of the festive season. With supervision, of course.
7. Dazzle in the lights of the season.
Bundle up and go for a walk in your neighborhood to see all the beautiful Christmas light displays. Not only is this fun for you (plus good exercise to work off all those Christmas cookies), your baby is at a great age to enjoy a colorful light show.
8. Introduce your baby to Christmas-themed foods.
It might be turkey, cookies, or fruitcake, but whatever your family’s traditional holiday foods are, introduce your child to them early (if they’re eating solid foods that is) so they will be used to them by the time Christmas comes.
9. Make Christmas Eve a night to remember.
Get new Christmas pajamas for the whole family. Put out milk and cookies for the big guy in red. Maybe even leave some carrots for his reindeer. And don’t forget to leave evidence that Santa was there. Leave some half eaten cookies, finish up the milk, gnaw at the carrots. Then excitedly show all the evidence to baby in the morning. If you’re excited about Santa being there, your baby will be too.
10. Capture some home movies.
From Christmas Eve until after all the presents are open on Christmas morning, try capturing a few short videos throughout the festivities. Your child’s reaction to all Christmas has to offer will be a joy to watch for years to come, and they’ll have fun seeing it when they’re older too.
I hope you try out some of these festive ideas this year. (I’m sad I didn’t think of these last year with Daisy, but am going to try some this year!) If you do try any of these, tag Shortcake via Facebook or Instagram so I can see how much fun you and your little one are having.
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Shortcake is a mom-founded startup creating premium keepsake albums from your social media content, with a special focus on helping new parents and grandparents preserve their family's precious moments.