Baby’s First Christmas: A Survival Guide for Parents
Awww…our first Christmas with our six month old son Grayson is over and while it was a bit more stressful than past Christmases with just the two of us, it was well worth it! I’m sure part of the stress was the fact he’s been teething since December 1st but we still managed to get through it with very little scrapes and bruises.
It definitely was different for other reasons this year, partly because of our own expectations of how his first Christmas should go and partly because we had to work Christmas around his 6-month-old schedule. From it, I gained some insight on what I would do differently or things I learned and so I thought I’d pass it on to the other first time parents out there who will have a baby before next Christmas. (Note: if your baby is under 3 months old next Christmas, very little of this will apply to you as he or she will most likely sleep through the entire Christmas! Merry Christmas to you!)
1. Try to go get the picture with Santa done early in December. If not, you will be standing in line for a long time and most likely lose your small window of opportunity to get a picture of your baby smiling (rather than crying) on Santa’s lap. We learned this the hard way as we waited in line for 45 minutes at the mall only to have our son start rubbing his eyes and whining just before we got to the end of it. And that was it… Window closed! We had to come back the next day and do it all over again and miraculously managed to get a smiling photo (although I believe this was his “I’m so tired I’m starting to go crazy so I smile and laugh for no reason before having a total meltdown” smile.)
2. Don’t wrap too many presents. It takes your young child about 10-15 minutes to unwrap a gift as well as look over the present. Since most babies under a year need a nap every 1 ½- 2 hours, this only gives you…hold on…let me do the math..okay…enough time to do about 8-10 presents. And really how many presents does a six month old need?? As we found out, wrapping paper and boxes the toys came in are way more fun to play with (and eat).
3. Babies will put everything, I mean EVERYTHING, in their mouths so make sure to grab that wrapping paper quick before it becomes baby’s lunch. We were a bit late and before we could grab a small piece out of his mouth, it was gone! I thought about checking later to see if it had made its’ way through him but then decided I wanted an appetite for Christmas dinner and just let it be. He was fine.
4. Space out present opening….and give yourself at least the whole day to get through them all. (If your baby is teething, add another day). After we managed to open a few presents at our house, we made our way to the grandparents house for more gift opening. Needless to say, we had to come back on Boxing Day so Grayson could finish opening his presents.
5. Don’t eat too much turkey as the tryptophan combined with the sleep deprivation will knock you out and leave baby to roll or crawl around the house by himself. We were in bed by 7:30pm on Christmas day.
6. Take toys out of boxes and put batteries in them before wrapping so baby can play with them right away…they don’t have the attention span at this age (or any age really) to wait for you to read an instruction manual and put the toy together before play time. (and stock up on batteries as I’ve learned that basically every toy you buy needs at least 3-4 double AAs.)
7. If you have the room, save the boxes the toys came in as well as the manuals so you can reuse them when you sell your toys used online. This always adds appeal to your item and makes it sell quicker.
8. Calling all Breastfeeding Moms! If you want that glass of wine with Christmas dinner, make sure to remember to pump that morning so you have some food for baby before dinner. Thank God for electric double breast pumps!!!
9. Make sure that camera of yours is charged on Christmas Eve and has adequate memory for the 1000 pictures you plan on taking on Christmas morning. But don’t worry, if you run out of room, those grandparents will always be there to pick up the slack…each with their own camera.
And lastly just try to relax and have fun. Your baby may be all smiles on Christmas Day or all tears but either way his first Christmas will be special for everyone. And remember there are still the next few magical years where your child waits in antipation for Santa to come and put all the presents under the tree… just don’t forget to put out the milk and cookies.
Coupon tip of the week: Right after Christmas day is the best time to stock up on items for next season. Most stores sell off their Christmas decoration at 50-70% off. As well, they do the same for gift baskets so stock up on these for birthday gifts for the rest of the year. You’ll save a bundle and have tons of new items to enjoy next season. Also if you want to dress your little one up in a Santa sleeper again next year, now is the time to buy it as they also go on sale drastically after Christmas.Happy New Year!