A baby’s first Christmas is a momentous occasion – a standout event in a year of firsts. Along with their first birthday, it is one of the events that you most look forward to as a parent, and rightly so. The memory-making starts here.
It is true that your baby girl is unlikely to remember her very first Christmas, but this is really all about establishing a tradition for your family as a whole, and introducing your daughter to the joy of the festive season – because it’s never too early for that.
She won’t have the memories, so you will want to ensure that she has a collection of wonderful first-Christmas photos and videos, as well as sentimental keepsakes, to look back on in years to come.
This article is our Christmas gift to you, offering tips and advice on how to make your baby girl’s first Christmas experience a truly magical one.
The first port of call for many parents, consciously or subconsciously, is baby Christmas clothing. You naturally want your little girl to embody the festive spirit through her outfits, especially during her first Christmas, so it is an important consideration.
It isn’t just Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day that you’ll be planning for, either, not if you intend to make this first yuletide season a truly special one. Where children are concerned, the build-up to Christmas is just as important and exciting as the ‘big three’ days.
With this in mind, having a variety of festive-friendly garments for the entire month of December is the wisest and most fun course of action – ensuring an item for every occasion or eventuality.
Here is a checklist for you:
The 25th is the focal point of December, so it will be your priority when it comes to outfit selection.
It may be that you intend to save an entire ensemble especially and exclusively for Christmas Day, to make it extra-special. Perhaps you wish to showcase several outfits over the course of the day: Christmas-morning pyjamas, followed by a daytime babygrow, and then finished off with a smart showstopper for Christmas dinner and the evening.
It may be that you don’t plan too far in advance for this and instead decide closer to the big day, as you will likely discover your and her favourite garments over the course of the month. Ultimately, you will want to ensure that she is comfortable as well as looking every bit the embodiment of Christmas cheer.
Unless your little one was born on Christmas Day last year, her first Christmas will come before their first birthday, and this can make gift selection rather tricky.
Her first birthday is of course the bigger of the two events, yet you still want to commemorate this inaugural Christmas with a thoughtful, memorable gift – something that she will enjoy and treasure for years to come, and perhaps even pass on to her own daughter one day.
As such, consider a timeless sort of item that transcends fashions and fads, whether that be a luxurious teddy bear, a plush doll, a tasteful wooden instrument set or an elegant piece of baby jewellery.
It may seem like a small and inconsequential decision in the big picture, but we advise making it as early as possible to avoid some unnecessary stress.
Introducing your baby to the December Christmas tradition involves differentiating it from the rest of the year, and your home’s appearance will play a large part in this.
Decorating your entire house, from the entrance and the living spaces to the bedrooms and the kitchen, will help to signal the importance of Christmas to your little girl, and hopefully set her up for a lifetime of festive cheer.
The largest and most important Christmas decoration is, of course, the evergreen conifer. As is tradition, we place them prominently in our living rooms and halls, adorned with lights and baubles and trinkets, and we surround them with delightfully wrapped presents – so they are a natural point of interest for baby eyes.
Visiting a Christmas tree farm would achieve two goals in one: you will hand pick your own family tree for the year, one that is sized exactly for your home, and you will make cherished memories in the process. If you can coincide your visit with snowfall or an unmistakably brisk December day, all the better.
You may also want to consider buying a small tree just for your little girl’s room, which gives you an opportunity to add a ladylike touch to the decor – complementing red with pink, for example, or swapping all colours out for baby pink.
For many of us, our tree decorations are a mixture of inherited adornments and shop-bought items that we have accumulated over the years. A combination of sentiment and style.
By acquiring a selection of new decorations specially for your baby’s very first Christmas, you will start her future collection for her. As such, you should view these decorations as miniature gifts in themselves. They might seem somewhat trivial now, but they will mean a great deal to her and to you in 20 or 30 years’ time.
Look further than the trinkets you hang on the tree: think snow-globes and statuettes, garlands and Christmas stockings. All of these objects will make the present special, as well as appreciate in sentimental value over the years.
Small gestures make big differences. The traditional custom of sending Christmas cards may have declined over recent years, but you can help to revive it by passing it on to your daughter.
What better way than to begin that effort than by taking extra care in sourcing her first-ever Christmas card?
You have three options here:
1) Shop around at premium retailers and department stores (the ideal option for busy parents or those who aren’t gifted with artistic flair)
2) Get a card custom-designed for a personalised yet professional result
3) Source the materials and create the card yourself, for the ultimate keepsake
A well-used idea it may be, but there are few cuter sights than baby handprints and footprints – apart from, maybe, Christmas cards that feature them.
Your little girl’s hands and feet will only be this small once, so it would be a real shame not to immortalise the tininess (and, for that matter, show it off) in this year’s family Christmas cards.
It offers a welcome change from generic card designs, and more importantly it will give her grandparents, aunts, uncles and any other close loved ones a heartwarming keepsake that money can’t buy, not to mention make their day when they open it.
As the parent of a baby girl who isn’t yet a year old, you will undoubtedly be no stranger to a smartphone photoshoot – capturing any and every moment in this precious first year, and this upcoming Christmas will be no exception.
Smartphone cameras are convenient for spontaneous snaps all year round, but using a proper digital camera for your daughter’s first festive photos will yield higher-quality results – clearer, criser, better-focused images that you can print and display with pride.
Going a step further, you could hire a photographer for a Christmas photoshoot, and use one of the resulting photos for your family Christmas card.
How you approach it is up to you, but if you do make the extra effort, you will be thankful in years to come.
Christmas dinner for adults is an avalanche of savoury and sweet mingled together. We have succulent turkey, roast potatoes and pigs in blankets, alongside cranberry sauce, apple sauce and various puddings (and probably reams of chocolate later on in the evening).
However, as you know all too well, babies can’t indulge in salt and added sugars just yet – which might lead you to believe that involving them in Christmas dinner is impractical. But with a little bit of forward-planning and a methodical approach, it is surprisingly simple.
Set aside some potatoes, carrots and parsnips (a couple of each) to boil or steam separately to the adults’ portions. Once cooked, puree each of them, and there is the veg taken care of: a mash medley. (If you think Brussels sprouts will go down well, feel free to also include and puree some of those.)
As for meat, turkey cut up into tiny chunks should be fine for babies approach their first birthday. For younger babies, pureeing this with the veg is an ideal alternative. Both ham and bacon are inadvisable for babies due to the high salt content.
For the sweet element of your baby’s meal, simply create a batch of apple sauce that is free from added sugar.
We hope this article has given you some fresh perspective and fuelled your excitement in the run-up to December’s festivities. Now it’s time for you to enjoy each moment and capture those memories.