Your baby’s first year is full of important milestones and Christmas is no exception! Introducing your little one to the joys of the season is an exciting prospect for parents and wider family members alike, so it’s important that you make the most of it. That doesn’t mean spending a fortune on gifts though; engage your baby’s attention with the little things instead. After all, they always end up having more fun with the boxes than the toys themselves! Here are some suitably festive activities you can enjoy together as a family, helping you to make their first Christmas one to remember.
Before Christmas Day
The build up to Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things about the holidays. Get into the festive spirit with your baby at the start of December by doing these activities together:
- Send photo cards. Now that your family has one very special new addition, why not send photo cards or e-cards of yourselves? These are perfect for sharing with your friends and extended family! If your baby is a newborn, you might want to send Christmas-themed birth announcement cards too!
- Decorate the Christmas tree and fill your home with lots of twinkling lights! Babies perceive things very differently to adults; whilst decorations are just a nice thing to look at for us, twinkling lights, sparkling tinsel and colourful baubles will aid your baby’s cognitive development – they’ll be mesmerised by it all! Visual stimulation is important for babies, since their sight doesn’t mature fully until they’re at least 12 months old. It’s important that they get to experience looking at new things, so that the visual part of their brain can develop properly.
- Get your baby a stocking to fill with goodies on Christmas eve. Whilst your baby will be too young to know the significance of their stocking at this stage, hanging one up is a great way to mark their first Christmas.
- Get them a gift to commemorate their first Christmas. ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ ornaments make lovely keepsakes, since your little one will learn the meaning behind them in time and put theirs up with care every year thereafter.
- Introduce them to Christmas books and films. If there’s one way to get the whole family excited about the holidays, it’s by watching some festive films. Reading a Christmas story to your little one is a great way to teach them all about the holidays too – as well as being an opportune moment for the two of you to bond.
- Visit Santa. It’s unlikely that your baby will really understand who the jolly man is or why you’re visiting him, but it’s a great way to kick off your family Christmases – it’ll soon be one of the first things they want to do every December! And for now, it’ll be a great photo opportunity!
On Christmas Day
When the big day arrives, you’ll want to savour every moment with your little one. Though it’s often a blur of presents, cooking and catching up with the whole family, it’s important that you take the time to properly enjoy your baby’s first Christmas. If you’re hosting, ask a family member or friend to help out; you don’t want to miss any special moments whilst you’re stuck chopping the sprouts!
Enjoy the day by doing these things together:
- Take lots of photos! Your baby will only ever have one first Christmas, and for you as a parent, it’s probably going to be one of the most memorable. Take photos that you can enjoy looking back on; you could even send your favourite snaps as framed gifts the following year.
- Dress them up in something suitably festive (and absolutely adorable!). Whether they’re dressed as a simply scrumptious plum pudding or a sweet little angel, they’ll love their special holiday outfit – and so will you!
- If your baby is weaning, you can give them puréed or mashed Christmas dinner food. Babies who are at the first stage of their weaning won’t be able to eat any meat; simply purée or mash the vegetables with some stock or milk. Sweet-tasting root vegetables are a great option for smaller babies, since they purée to a much smoother consistency. If your baby is a little older, and at the second stage of weaning, they can eat meat too; add turkey to the purée at a ratio of 25% meat to 75% vegetables. Don’t add gravy though, as it’s too salty for babies; use watered-down stock or milk instead. For more food ideas for your little one, we’ve put together some healthy and hearty autumn baby food recipes that they’ll love.
- Start some new family traditions. If there’s one thing we all love about Christmas, it’s the family traditions that come with the holidays – and the fact that everyone celebrates them in their own unique way! Now that you’ve got your own family, it’s time to set your own.
- Why not wrap your baby up and go on a family Christmas walk? It’s a lovely thing to do after your dinner, before you all settle down for the evening.
The main thing to remember though? the message from Water Babies is to enjoy the day and try not to feel the pressure that everything has to be ‘just so.’ It’s all about spending time with the people you love the most; not about how much money you’ve spent, or how crispy the roast potatoes are! You’ll love watching your baby experience Christmas for the first time, and – because they’re the most precious gift of all – you’ll cherish every Christmas with them from hereon in.
And don't forget, after it's all over you have your baby swimming class with Water Babies to look forward to!