Christmas: When Your Child Doesn't Know WTF is Happening!by Paige Russell-Tate
Last Christmas my baby was only 2 weeks old, and I was thinking for a while 'how would I make his first Christmas special even though he wouldn’t remember it?'. I still felt it needed to be magical for him as even though he won’t remember his first Christmas, everyone around him will, and then he can have some special memories for when he is older. This year, my baby will be 12 months old and I still wonder now how I am going to make it special for him because he is still so little, he’ll only be interested in the empty boxes at the end. So, here are my ways to celebrate when your child has no idea wtf is going on.
Festive hand and footprints
This is something we did last year. He was still tiny and we wanted to capture those tiny little feet whilst we could, and what a better way to do it than to make it festive. We made Christmas cards out of the prints using his feet mainly as his hands were screwed into a ball creating holly, Rudolph and a Christmas tree. They all looked fabulous and it’s something we can keep as a keepsake for his first Christmas.
You can also use their hand/feet prints to create Christmas themed baubles, cups, plates and placemats which can be another thing you can keep forever and bring out every Christmas as a special reminder. I quite like the reindeer footprints, they are so easy to make and adorable at the same time!
Even though your little one won’t know who Santa Claus is, the excitement you will receive from seeing your little one sitting happily on Santa's knee is overwhelming. It's also a great opportunity to capture the special moment with photographs. We took our little boy to the local garden centre to see Santa last year, he was only tiny. However, our little boy loved him as Santa made him smile (was probably just wind) but we captured a lovely photo of it.
Food for Santa and his reindeer
Although your baby may not be old enough to understand putting cookies or a mince pie out for Santa, or milk and carrots out for the reindeer, you can get fabulous photos of your baby preparing for Santa to arrive. This is another tradition that will continue to develop as your children grow. And for the reindeer, you could also create reindeer food by adding some glitter to oats, this way you can sprinkle this on your lawn and take photos of your child sprinkling this.
Buy or Create a memory box for Christmas
Quite simply, get creative! make a box, fill it with Christmas items and memories and relive the magic in future years. Or if you don’t have much time on your hands, buy one, so you can fill it with memories and items such as Christmas cards and ornaments, some of which you might get out the next year like the outfit your baby wore on Christmas day. You can always open these in the future when your baby is old enough to understand the whole meaning of Christmas, with the added bonus of embarrassing them with baby photos! Things such as photographs, their first letter to Santa, an ornament or spoon that they used for Christmas dinner can all go in, the options are endless so my ideas are just simple, but you can literally add anything you like, and it's such a personal way to save Christmas memories for years and years.
We were given a time capsule last year as a gift, and we add all sorts into it. We also have a baby memory box which has everything in from birth that we want to keep, so we will add Christmas bits into that box a well.
Christmas outfits for Christmas day
Babies don’t stay small for long, it is such a short time! Christmas is a perfect time to dress them up in little cute and festive outfits. This year, there are some fabulous baby Christmas outfits in the shops so it's definitely worth a look, especially if you are wanting your baby to look adorable in the Christmas day photos. Outfits such as reindeers, Santa, Mrs Claus, elves and penguins, are everywhere and you can also get personalised outfits with your baby’s name on (or whatever you would like it to say, doesn’t have to be their name).
Family matching outfits are huge this year. It could be matching Christmas jumpers, Christmas outfits (Mrs Clause, Mr Clause and baby clause or elf’s), matching t-shirts or matching pyjamas. These can create magical photos for a magical day. We would’ve loved to do this but trying to find matching outfits to fit my 6’3 partner myself at 5’4 and my little boy proved to be rather difficult! Maybe we’ll give it a go this year.
If you want to keep Christmas day outfits simple there are plenty of other festive options such as bibs, hats, dummies and muslin squares.
Could you just imagine how perfect those Christmas photos would look by the Christmas tree with your little one?! Or sat around the fire with the whole family. You can just about picture it in your head when you think about it. Sounds like perfection to me!
First Christmas baby items
At home, we all have our own individual stockings with our initials on. Buying or making a stocking to match makes your baby feel more included in the family traditions! You could even get a ‘1st Christmas’ stocking if that is your family tradition, or you could start a new tradition. Not only do you get to fill it with tiny gifts for your little one, but you have a new thing to add to the fireplace.
A baby’s first Christmas photo frame is a perfect idea. You can insert a photo of your baby on their first Christmas and bring it out every year as a reminder.
A tree decoration for your baby’s first Christmas is a beautiful addition to the tree and you can bring it out every year. Shopping around for the perfect decoration is also a great memory to hold onto.
We left the first Christmas items down to other people to buy as we knew that he would get a few things. Everything we got we kept and will continue to bring out each year.
Watch a Festive Film
Early on, your little one is unlikely to sit through a whole film, but watching a festive film as a family is a fabulous way to spend Christmas eve or Christmas afternoon after you’ve all eaten and as your children get older, they will be more interested in watching a Christmas film to keep the festive spirit going. Start it for their first Christmas, you can watch a classic film such as ‘The Polar Express’ or ‘The Snowman’, you are then able to get it out every year to keep the tradition.
Don’t worry about the routine
Although we have only recently started our little one on a routine, we will not be sticking to it on Christmas day, as we will have plenty of other things to worry about! It will be nice also not to worry about what time it is constantly and just take everything as it comes, such as naps and food. Routines would only work if you were indoors all day and didn’t have much else to worry about but it’s hard to keep routines when family come and visit and when you have trips out. Even though it can take a few days to get back into the normal routine, the memories and fun time will definitely make up for the sleepless nights.