Because there's only one first Christmas....
Let’s be honest, your baby is not going to remember their first Christmas, but you will! The first one is a special milestone and should be a magical time.
If it is your first child, it is also your first Christmas as a Mum and marks a shift in family dynamics. Remember, you’re not the only one, newly promoted Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles will have to adjust to their new roles too. For some it may even be the first time they meet the baby.
Whether your baby is just a few weeks old, heading for their first birthday or somewhere in between, your little one will bring a new focus to the festive period. Babies bring families and generations together and like celebrities. Your new little family will be in hot demand so expect a house full wherever you spend the holiday.
Baby’s first Christmas can be a little overwhelming. It can really help if you have a plan and set everyones expectations. We have put together a few tips and suggestions to help...
1. Double your allocated travel time
If you’re spending Christmas away from home or even just visiting for a few hours always allow more time than you think you need to get there. It’s a time when most of the country takes to the roads and public transport and you’re likely to encounter traffic and delays. In the event that you need an emergency pit stop for a nappy change, feed or to settle little one you can do so without adding any stress or pressure. If you do arrive early you can always stop nearby for a brief walk or to freshen up. You could even wake, feed and change baby so they’re ready for cuddles!
2. Be clear about timings and try to avoid overcrowding
If you’re visiting family or friends, you should let them know what time you expect to arrive (easy if you’ve followed tip #1!) and also what time you intend to leave. This will enable you to make sure you fit in with the hosts plans and more importantly, to leave without having to make your excuses.
If you’re hosting, make sure you tell your guests your timings:
- When they should arrive.
- What time dinner is planned for when.
- When you will open Christmas presents.
- When they should expect Baby to be down for a nap.
Whether you are visiting or hosting, try to stick to baby’s routine and to keep to their regular nap and meal/feed times. Making everyone aware of the routine will help.
Overcrowding can elevate stress levels and cause even the calmest of guests to feel fractious. The best way to avoid overcrowding is to try and stagger guests and plan separate get togethers over several days. Whenever possible, try to ensure that everyone and you especially have some space (however small it may be) that you can retreat to for some ‘down time’.
If you are daytime visiting, ask ahead if there is bedroom or quiet spot you can use if needed. That way you can take a breather and have some time out with your baby if you need to.
4. Allocate jobs and responsibilities
As a host it’s easy to feel pressure to take care of your guests. In truth this can make them feel uncomfortable. As it is Baby’s first Christmas they may feel the need to keep offering ‘to help’.
Write a list of jobs and duties and share them out in advance.
This job list can include:
- Preparing and bringing dishes or desserts
- Loading the dishwasher
- Walking the dog
- Collecting and taking out the rubbish,
- Sorting the recycling
- Servings drinks
- Making tea and coffee.
Importantly, don’t forget that they can help look after baby too:
- Putting them in the pram and going for a walk while food is prepared.
- Allocate someone to feed them their first Christmas dinner, allowing you to enjoy yours!
- Bathing baby and getting them ready for bed - a favourite with new grandmothers!
- Reading the bedtime story.
Taking this approach can enable everyone to feel involved, needed and also allow you time to relax and enjoy making precious memories with your loved ones.