14 Ideas for Baby's First Christmas

Trying to figure out what to do for baby's first Christmas? From who to visit to what to buy, this guide has everything newbie parents and caregivers need to know.

A mother helps her baby put ornaments on the christmas tree.

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

Your baby's first Christmas is an important milestone—in their life and yours. The season and day, after all, is full of joy and excitement. Plus, you only get one first. From celebrations to photo shoots, you only get one try. Unfortunately, this can leave many parents stressed. They feel the pressure of holiday perfection. But everything doesn't have to be "just right" for baby's first Christmas to be great.

Below are 14 ways to make baby's first Christmas fun, festive, and (most importantly) low stress.

Have a Holiday Game Plan

greeting family on christmas

One of the biggest stressors of the holidays is where to celebrate. If you have a partner, for example, you've probably already had the dreaded discussion: "Are we spending Christmas with your family or mine?" Co-parents also have this conversation. It is a topic which comes up time and time again. And while splitting holidays is never easy, adding a newborn baby to the mix complicates things even further. Make the decision several weeks in advance, then be clear with both families to avoid hurt feelings.

Purge Old Belongings

Picture of donate box
Peter Ardito

Before the holidays, purge the baby items you no longer need, such as outgrown toys and clothes. Give them to charity, pack them away in storage for the next kid, or hand 'em off to a pregnant friend. That way, you'll have space for all the new items you're about to receive.

Create a Wish List

online holiday shopping

Baby's presents should have your seal of approval—after all, you're the one who'll be looking at, washing, and storing them. Consider setting up an online wish list for your little love bug and sending it to grandparents, relatives, and other gift givers.

Don't Overbook

Holiday Tantrums Christmas Baby Crying

Baby's first Christmas is an exciting time, but you should try sticking with routines for eating, sleeping, and playing. Remind relatives who you are lucky enough to see you that scheduling some downtime is a non-negotiable necessity, for you and baby.

Start a Tradition

Holiday traditions: matching pajamas

Start a totally new tradition this year for baby's first Christmas. Don't stress about doing something big (Rockefeller Center and the Rockettes will be there another year)—small, simple gestures can be just as meaningful. Baby won't be able to participate yet, but you'll start the "lead by example" idea early. Here are some Christmas traditions we love: Wear matching PJs on Christmas Eve. Eat donuts while opening presents. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Donate unused toys to charity.

Spend Time with Baby

Parents Babble Pointing Baby
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

The best gift you can give your child? Time. Designate one day during the holidays for family bonding—no holiday shopping or errand-running allowed. Your baby will love the extra attention, and you'll love the opportunity to slow down with your family.

Read Holiday Books

The Polar Express
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin

Take a month-long break from Goodnight Moon. Buy a special Christmas book, then take it out every December and re-read it. We love classics like The Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas!

Buy One Special Gift

baby in santa costume holding present
Richard Hobson

While it's completely normal to want the shower your baby with gifts, know there's nothing wrong with getting them just one thing. These treasured belongings are often more valuable than a million little things. Plus, many withstand the test of time, like a tiny gold bracelet, a gorgeous silver rattle, an engraved baby cup, a cashmere stuffed animal, or even a quilt made from their too-small clothes.

Consider a Baby Party Over FaceTime

babies in santa hats opening presents
Andrejs Pidjass

To share the holiday spirit, invite other babies and parents in your world to a virtual baby-fest. Have the little ones wear Santa hats and play with Christmas toys over Zoom or video chat. The grown-ups can sip something festive and swap strategies for upcoming in-law visits.

Chart Baby's Growth

christmas tree cookies milk holidays baby

The old cliche "time flies" makes sense once you have a child. To chart their growth, snap an annual Christmas picture next to your object of choice—the Christmas tree, a teddy bear, the fireplace at Grandma's house, etc. Turn the images into a photo display, if you'd like.

Deck Out Baby's Room

close-up of colored lights
Dave Jilek

Babies love the dazzle of Christmas lights, so why not hang some in their room? Just make sure the lights are well out of reach.

DIY a Holiday Card

baby boy at christmas
Minnikova Mariia/Shutterstock

You probably want Christmas cards that show off your beautiful babe, and we think you should go for it! Let your little love bug play with something holiday related—like a shiny ornament or a Santa hat—and snap pictures as they explore. If they're too little to play, stick them in front of a holiday setting (like a group of poinsettias) or lay them down on some holiday gift wrap. Once you've snapped the perfect shot, upload your photo to a website that creates holiday cards. Easy peasy!

Plan Baby's First Staycation

store holiday window

You don't need to travel far to enjoy baby's first Christmas. Simply trek around town to check out holiday decorations and window displays. Your baby will love the bright lights and illuminated scenes, and you'll be grateful for much-needed time outside the house.

Stimulate Their Senses

Mom breastfeeding baby during Christmas
Tanya Nekrasova/shutterstock 

Let your baby experience the holidays through their senses. Have them touch and smell a clipping from the Christmas tree. Excite their eyes with tree lights and sparkly decorations. Jingle some bells and listen to holiday music. And, if your baby's old enough, give them a taste of some special holiday foods. They'll love the newness of it all, and you'll love watching Baby's first Christmas come to life!

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