Baby’s First Christmas: Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

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New baby = new ways to celebrate! Make the holidays even more magical with special family traditions you’ll look forward to each year. Try these fun, festive ideas to make this season with your little one as merry and bright as can be.

1. Rock some family Christmas jammies.
Fact: It’s not Christmas until the whole family has donned matching pajamas and snapped silly photos for posterity (or to post on Insta). If you’ve never taken a ride on the matching jammies bandwagon, now that you have a baby, this is your moment. Check out our favorite family jammies.

2. Turn on a holiday film.
Make it a family tradition to cozy up for the same Christmas movies every year. Your childhood favorites, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, are sure to be a hit, but don't hesitate to turn on older classics like It's a Wonderful Life or White Christmas. There's no such thing as "too young" when it comes to Christmas movies.

3. Make (or buy) an advent calendar.
Bring baby in on the fun of a holiday countdown with a chocolate-free, baby-friendly version. Or wrap a Christmas-themed book to open and read each night from December 1 to Christmas. To keep costs and clutter down, borrow them from the library and return them. You can then purchase any that become family favorites and build your collection for next year.

4. Take a Christmas lights tour.
Whether you stroll through a particularly festive neighborhood, cruise down a drive-through display, or visit a holiday-themed event at a local botanical garden, kids of all ages love watching the twinkling lights. And you'll love watching the wonder in your baby's eyes as they take in all the sparkly magic.

5. Decorate a gingerbread house.
To minimize mess and maximize fun, keep decorating simple with white frosting and sprinkles. Assemble the house first; then let baby explore the textures (and taste!) of the frosting and develop fine motor skills by adding the colorful candies.

6. Start an ornament collection.
For year one, choose a keepsake ornament personalized with baby’s name and birthdate. In the following years, select an ornament that reflects your little one’s interests for that year. Then, when your child is all grown up and ready to start Christmas traditions of their own (we know; they're never going to leave you, but just in case…), you can send them off with a collection of ornaments that will bring back fond childhood memories.

7. Turn up the holiday tunes.
It's no secret that babies love music and that Christmas music > any other kind of music. Creating a music playlist of holiday tunes will keep baby happy all season long…through those long treks to Grandma's house or navigating the mall parking lot. For song inspo, check out our favorite Christmas songs.

8. Read Christmas stories.
Cozying up on the couch with your child and a special Christmas-themed story is the stuff that traditions are made of. Keep a collection of books—old classics and new favorites—within reach for guaranteed precious moments. Check out our favorite holiday books for babies and toddlers.

9. Attend a community Christmas event, in person or virtually.
Coming together with the people in your community, old and young, to share good cheer is one of the best parts of the season. Whether you prefer a town tree-lighting, a Christmas Eve religious service or a virtual holiday event, baby will love taking in all the friendly faces, colorful decorations and holiday tunes.

10. Design a holiday photo card.
With a baby on the scene, it's time for a personalized photo card. Dress up your child in a Santa hat or their holiday best, snap a few photos, and then share the beautiful results with friends and family. Or, go all out and do a professional family photo shoot. Find more holiday card inspo here: 9 Adorable (& Hilarious) Ideas for Baby’s Holiday Card.

11. Visit a Christmas tree farm.
Selecting your tree from a Christmas tree farm can be a magical experience for the whole family, and the smell of a real tree can't be beat. Your child won't remember that first experience but will enjoy looking back at photos from years past. If you don't have a tree farm nearby, make the tree-buying a family event to give it more holiday spirit.

12. Take a trip to see Santa.
This tradition has an expiration date—maybe at ten years old if your child has an active imagination (or a good sense of humor). So don't let the holidays pass you by without planning baby's first visit with the big guy himself. Even if your child goes into total meltdown mode, the first meeting with St. Nick is guaranteed to be an iconic moment. (Just google "Santa's lap photos" for evidence.)

13. Donate a gift to children in need.
If you have the means, donate a toy or warm clothing to holiday drives in your area. As your child gets older, include them in the process of selecting and donating to other kids to teach the true spirit of Christmas: caring and sharing with others.

 

—Suzanna Palmer

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