If this is your first festive season with a little one in tow, here we’ll help you navigate present buying, family visits and traditions old and new
Your baby might have just arrived and you’re counting them as THE best Christmas present ever. Or they might be nearing their first birthday and on the move. Whatever their stage, we know your little one’s first Christmas is a moment to be celebrated and savoured.
Your baby is unlikely to be able to open their presents, or might be able to rip the odd corner here or there (and no doubt stuff the paper in their mouth).
So present wrapping may seem a little futile. That said, you might enjoy wrapping their pressies and putting them under the tree so go for it if you so desire. This Christmas is all about you and your new family, creating memories together.
This isn’t the year for hitting the shops hard – they’ll be asking for enough presents in future years, believe us.
Why not find them something nice that’s pre-loved or try wrapping new or hand-me-down clothes you have waiting around.
You could even wrap the empty cardboard boxes from any home deliveries.
Ask friends and family for useful items. Of course some frivolity is nice, but they might appreciate some pointers about things your baby actually needs.
Why not be proactive and make suggestions, even the boring and mundane (socks, nappies) or useful (a snowsuit or winter coat). Or think ahead and ask for summer clothes in a couple of sizes up (we’ll leave you to do the maths). Or money for their savings account (those driving lessons won’t buy themselves).
Yes, there are siblings, parents, aunties, uncles and second cousins. And you might love a big hectic family gathering, all the more so if you weren’t able to last year.
But equally, this might be the first year you want (and need – think noise, travel, stress) to stay at home as a little family unit. It’s worth remembering there are no rules here.
This can be
the year for setting new traditions that work for you
Don’t feel obliged to travel miles just because you always have done.
If you do want to party large with extended family, remember you can pop in for a few hours, then escape home. Or ask people to bring Christmas dinner to you (it can be a supermarket-sponsored Christmas this year).
As a present to yourself this year, think about what makes Christmas easiest for you, perhaps for the first time. You’ve got the excuse.
Quite literally. Get crafty with your gift ideas this year – baubles or Christmas ornaments with your little one’s hand or footprints will be treasured by grandparents and aunties/uncles. And while you’re at it, why not create one for your tree.
There are ceramics cafes around and about or reasonably priced home kits available – you don’t have to spend a crazy amount.
There are some totally ridiculous (and also some very cute) novelty outfits out there. You might want to buy something for that perfect Christmas photo, but it doesn’t have to be new. Ask friends for hand-me-downs or fork out much less for something pre-loved.
You’ll probably receive an outfit or novelty hat/jumper/bib as a pressie too so you can always hold out. Or share a festive outfit among friends with babies the same age for picture purposes.
And there are many other festive items you’ll have around the house they can pose with for that perfect Insta moment. The tree, a pile of pressies and a festive toy in hand can all work well.
Local baby classes also often have a Christmas theme in the few weeks run up, so you might start feeling festive and dressing them up there too.
You might feel you have bags the size of baubles under your eyes, and may be bickering more with your other half than ever before.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to have a perfect day without hiccups
Even so, try to get some festive snaps of your new family on Christmas Day.
You’ll look back at these early days and realise how well you were doing all along.
Enjoy Christmas for what it is – a lovely experience as your new family, but with a little tiredness, and baby food/dribble/sick down your Christmas outfit.
Have a think about what you used to enjoy as a kid at Christmas, and any traditions you might want to reinstate. Remember biscuits and milk for Father Christmas, a carrot for the reindeer and a movie on Christmas Eve perhaps?
There might be things your baby is not quite big enough for this year, but you can start the traditions nonetheless. They’ll start to enjoy them in a year or two.
Jessica, mum to Freya, eight months, gets sentimental: ‘I used to watch Little Women with my two sisters when I was little. It’s a lovely film about sisterhood and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. My daughter is only a baby this Christmas but I’d like to watch this same film as a family every year during the holidays. I want her to grow up with some of those same memories as me.’
So, all that is left to say is have a very happy, healthy and merry Christmas full of memories you’ll remember forever. Enjoy.
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
To find out when an NCT Nearly New Sale is happening near you, search here.