by Lilly Gordon
In North America, baby's first Christmas is usually a grand affair. Special ornaments, hand made baby blankets and lots of playing "pass the baby around" are generally in order. By the end of the night, both you and your little one will be exhausted. If you're lucky, you'll make it through with only one or two screaming fits. What can you do to make it an enjoyable affair for both you and your baby?
Expect the unexpected. Even if your child has never thrown up or had explosive diarrhea in the past, ever (even if he or she is almost a toddler) be prepared for it to happen at your Christmas soiree. Children, especially older babies, get over stimulated and can easily end up with upset tummies. (Specifically when your uncle spins them like a helicopter after they have eaten. Pack an extra outfit or two for spills, and bodily fluids.
3, 2, 1... Meltdown! Children are known for their holiday meltdowns and yours will be no exception. With all the activity going full speed around them, they are likely to get worn down and cranky much faster than usual. Chances are you've had your baby on the go for a few days before Christmas so he / she will be extra tired. Bring extra pacifiers, bottles and his or her favourite toy hippo -- it's going to be a long night.
Be prepared for the Full Monty. Baby's first Christmas is the ultimate dress-up party: frilly dresses, leggings, Santa sleepers and tiny herringbone pants are likely to be seen. Unfortunately, when you're in a cramped party with a family's worth of people, the temperature can start to rise. Don't be surprised if you're little elf needs to strip down to the bare minimum. Stick a Christmas bib around their neck and take some cute pictures -- it's not worth the fight.
Don't overdo it. If it's your child's first major holiday, they are under twelve months of age. That means they don't care at all about opening gifts. Unique baby gifts are much better than big bulky toys: special ornaments and books are much more likely to have meaning in the years to come.
Pack the playpen. Just because your baby doesn't want to celebrate, that doesn't mean you have to pack it in at 8 p.m. Bring your playpen and find a quiet spot to set up. When your little one finally starts to doze, (or passes out on the floor if they're a mobile age) simply take them to the cozy playpen with their favorite baby blanket (you never know, it may work)!
Watch for party hazards: Christmas time is the only time of year that you may see nuts a' plenty in bowls everywhere around the house. Keep an eye out for sticky fingers and these Christmas hazards:
- Christmas light cords and plugs
- Bowls of nuts
- Lit candles
- Alcoholic beverages that are easy to grab
- Already irritated family pets
- Glass Christmas ornaments
Your baby's first Christmas can be a lot fun -- just relax and be prepared! Happy holidays!
Lilly Gordon is a freelance web publisher and author and enjoys writing on a variety of topics. She is a wife and mother of two and specializes in babies, burp pads and diaper changing.