Remember, She's a Baby
Don't Drown in Decorations and Gifts
Want to have plenty under the tree for your baby? Don't knock yourself out. Your little guy hasn't grasped the concept of "gifts" just yet, so you're doing it more for yourself than for him. "My husband and I didn't buy any presents for Parker's first Christmas," says Rebecca Macdonald, of Aurora, Colorado. "He was only 4 months old and wouldn't remember anyway." It's true -- your baby's not going to remember the holiday, and he certainly won't understand that what he's receiving are "gifts." Instead of showering him with a present for each night of Hanukkah, give him something that he'll always cherish such as a stuffed animal or a picture frame with a photo of him. The same logic holds when you decorate, as Shannon Salamone, of New York City -- mom to Avery, now 1 -- discovered last year. "I was going crazy with the tree," she recalls. "I looked over at her, thinking she'd be fascinated, but she couldn't have cared less."
Keep Things Sane
Between cooking, entertaining, and wrapping dozens of gifts, your to-do list is a mile long. Your baby can sense your stress too. "Don't put so much pressure on yourself to make the holiday perfect," says Kate Cronan, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College, in Philadelphia. "For your baby it's no different from any other day." As you're bouncing from party to party or hitting the road, try to keep to your child's schedule. There's nothing like a crabby baby to sap the holiday spirit, and nothing sends a baby into a downward spiral faster than skipping a nap or a meal. "You need to have realistic expectations," says Edith McCarthy, MD, a neonatologist and founder of Care Intensive Pediatrics, in New York City. "Even if he goes down for his nap late, you should still try to get it in." Or you can get creative with your planning. "Our twins, Lyra and Sophia, were 10 months old last Christmas, and we decided to have our holiday dinner after they went to bed," says Shannon Cherry, of Albany, New York. "During the day they tried some of the foods, but when it came down to a big feast, we didn't have to worry about entertaining them. It gave us time to enjoy the holiday too."