It’s that time again! Time to dust off the glittery baubles, blow the cobwebs off the fairy lights (that you may or may not still have up from last year…) and throw caution to the diet-wind because it’s CHRIIISTTTMAAAAS!!! If this year, like myself, you’ve been given the job of rearing a small human, you’ll probably be a) drinking a lot more than last Christmas and b) wondering how to make this Christmas as special as possible, since it’s the very first Christmas your small human will have. With that in mind, I have already done the hard Pinterest yards for you and come up with Five Tips For Baby’s First Christmas! Ho Ho Ho ! (Okay. Christmas phrases out of my system now)
- Take the obligatory photo with Santa
Come on, you know you want to. This was numero uno on my list of must-do’s for Lila’s first Christmas. I was sort of hoping that she would either be really stoked about it and I’d get a lovely photo of her smiling, or that she’d chuck a huge tantrum and I’d get a hilarious photo of her going full-beetroot on Santa’s knee, so that I could squirrel it away ready to bust out at her 21st birthday. Lila clearly didn’t get the memo as she was neither stoked nor stroppy, just completely indifferent to the big guy, and the photo just showed her sitting on his knee like ‘huh?’. So even though I didn’t get my perfect planned Santa photo/s, I got a really valuable lesson in parenting – Kids will never do what you want or expect them to. So nyah.
- Get your DIY on
I’m really not a huge DIY-er, in the sense that I’ll attempt it myself, but the ‘finished’ product is rarely something I – or anyone, for that matter – would want to put their name to. But for Lila’s first Christmas I really wanted to do something special and handmade, which is how I ended up with not one but three handmade Christmas tree ornaments. I used the basic salt-dough recipe, because you really can’t screw that up, plonked Lila’s foot in the middle of it, then baked the dough (sans foot) for a couple of hours and painted it. I then repeated the process with each of my furbabies because I’m that kind of person. Really simple and a little bit cute, and hopefully we’ll have the decorations for years to come. I used this tutorial!
- You don’t have to break the bank
It can be really easy to get super carried away with the idea of ‘giving’ and charge through the baby shops, picking up every single thing your baby could possibly need or want (even though all they want at this stage is probably a feed and something to gum) but not only is that a costly expedition, it’s also one that is completely unnecessary. Babies are simple creatures who just want to be loved (Like all of us, really). And if you have extended family or grandparents, your baby is probably going to get spoilt anyway! One or two presents for your baby will be more than enough. It can seem 100% vital to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest and greatest baby toys, but I promise your baby will give zero shits about the fancy pants walking-talking-magic-baby-bouncer, and nine-hundred shits will instead be awarded to the box it came in. Save your pennies, and focus on having fun with your small human, rather than giving them platinum membership to Toys’R’Us before they’re a year old.
- Snap some memories
Something I really wanted to do with Lila when she was a newborn was a photoshoot. I neglected to do it because I was still mostly housebound, and completely fried from the shock of being a new mum. (Still fried, just no longer as shocked). So it was really important to me that I got a little Christmas shoot happening. We might have been nine months past the newborn stage, but she was still pretty tiny and actually easier to work with since she was able to sit up unassisted – especially because I did the photoshoot myself. With money being pretty tight I didn’t have the cash to fork out for a legit photographer, so I just borrowed a DSLR and got to it. It was pretty easy to set up a little ‘studio’, I just pitched a white sheet up in front of a window, plopped Lila down on it wearing a Santa hat, and gave her a bauble to play with while I took the photos. I’m not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination, so between me trying to figure out how to get the picture in focus, and Lila deciding that she was bored after less than five seconds, I only ended up with one good shot – but that was all I needed. The important thing is that I have an adorable photo of my little lady in a Santa hat, and I now know exactly how long it takes her to chew through a plastic bauble. Result? I think so.
If the idea of a ‘baby’s first Christmas’ photoshoot makes you want to vom a little, at least remember to take some happy snaps on the day. Your kids will love looking back at them and comparing them over the years.
- Adjust your expectations
One of the best things you can do for yourself in the holidays is to keep in mind exactly what it’s all about.
Chocolate Ripple Cake. I mean, family, togetherness, and gratitude for each other. And chocolate ripple cake. Obviously. Having a new baby in the family for Christmas is a pretty special thing, so don’t let yourself get caught up in the presents and the novelty and the commercialism and your expectations of what the ‘perfect’ Christmas looks like. You might have visions of waking up your small person on Christmas morning, all sharing in some festive egg-nog and then joyfully watching your little baby ripping open the exquisitely wrapped presents and remarking on just how delighted they are to receive such thoughtful gifts. This is unlikely as a) egg-nog is fucked up and b) babies less than a year old generally can’t convey their appreciation in words beyond ‘da’ and ‘ta ta’, and if your baby can then call Mensa, you’re raising a child genius. Don’t hang all your hopes on Christmas being some kind of authentic picture-perfect Martha Stewart affair, just enjoy it for what it is – your first Christmas with your little one.
So there it is, my Five Tips for Baby’s First Christmas. Remember to enjoy the holidays, be thankful for each other, and bask in the true glory of Christmas! Yes, I’m talking solely about the choc ripple cake this time.
Merry Christmas, friends 🙂