Thanksgiving

baby little boy with a cart with pumpkins, viburnum, rowan, apples. Autumn harvest
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10 Cute & Cozy Ways To Mark Baby’s First Turkey Day

Crocheted turkey hats, anyone?

Let’s be real: Halloween and Christmas tend to hog much of the spotlight in terms of “Baby’s First Holiday” experiences. We get so hyper-focused on dressing our infants like plush lobsters, or on assembling the perfect Montessori-approved toy list, that we often don’t make much of a fuss over Baby’s First Turkey Day. But we should! Which is why I’ve rounded up some sweet and memorable ways to mark your baby’s first Thanksgiving.

My own son is a November baby, so he was obviously teeny tiny on his first Thanksgiving. I was in no shape to travel to family that year, so our dinner was an intimate gathering of five: baby, my husband, me, and my two engorged breasts. I’ll be honest that I don’t really remember it all that well, other than that our oven set off our carbon monoxide detector and the evening ended with about eight New York City fireman standing in our tiny kitchen.

But Thanksgiving is actually kind of a lovely holiday for new parents. I mean it’s all about gratitude, yes? A what could you possibly feel more grateful for than this amazing, brand new, beautiful and drooly person you’re holding in your arms? Also, babies don’t have opinions on vaccines or Dave Chappelle. Which, depending on your family, may make them the easiest person to chat with at dinner.

No matter what you do this Thanksgiving, just be sure to pause from the Instagramming and photos and general family chaos, and take a moment to take it all in. Take in your new family. Eating pie together. For the very first time. Baby’s first Thanksgiving.

1

Share A Special Book

There are loads of adorable Thanksgiving picture books out there. Some are intended especially for babies, like this very cute board book featuring black and white illustrations. Or you could opt for some toddler Thanksgiving books that you can then read to your child every year, summoning up cozy memories of sitting on Dad’s lap post-pumpkin pie.

2

An Excuse To Buy A Special Outfit

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There is no shortage of incredibly sweet “first Thanksgiving” outfits available for purchase. Etsy has everything from bibs to bonnets to booties. If you’re looking for something equally cute but minus the graphics, then this suspender-ed, ridiculously cute Cat and Jack ensemble might be more up your alley.

3

A Photo With The Bird

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If you’re from a big family, Thanksgiving may be an incredibly hectic day for you, and you might be like “dude, I have no time for board books or special outfits. I’m just trying to find a polite way to keep Aunt Sandy from blowing her cigarette smoke into my kid’s face, OK?” If so, then this may be the least labor intensive option for you. Here’s what you do: you wait for someone to bring out the turkey, then you hold the baby up next to the bird. Snap photo. Later, print the pic and put it in a special, Thanksgiving photo album that is solely used for this purpose. Repeat this ritual every year going forward, and you will be able to look back and marvel at how your little one goes from being the same size as the turkey, all the way to being big enough to carve the bird himself.

4

That First Taste Of Stove Top

Depending on your child’s age, they might be old enough to have their first sampling of some Thanksgiving delicacies. Shoot a little video of them taking their very first bite of stuffing or turkey, or their face upon tasting Grandma’s special chipped beef salad. Then be sure to reward them with a big bowl of Cool Whip they can put their face into. (Safety note: As with any new foods, if you aren’t yet aware of your child’s allergy status, be careful what you let them try!)

5

Establish A New Tradition

Traditions all start somewhere, and this is an opportunity to establish something special your family does every year. Maybe you take a walk together through the woods or a park before or after the meal. Maybe you measure and mark everyone’s height on the door facing. Maybe you write down one thing you’re grateful for and put it in special jar. (Baby can leave a handprint or make a scribble.) Whatever you do, make it about family, and time together.

6

Tiny Hand Turkeys, Anyone?

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If you’re a crafty kind of fam, now is a great time to bust out the construction paper and glue. Every year, you can try a different craft. (Or do the same one.) Bonus: they can all can be saved and used as decorations for the next year! Trust me, way better than an inflatable pilgrim in your front yard. A Little Pinch of Perfect has a very cute design for a handprint turkey, FYI.

7

Dress Your Child Like Dinner

Baby dressed as turkey.Walmart.com

OK, this is perhaps a bit over the top, but I can’t resist. However, if dressing your child like the actual meal feels a bit wrong, well, you could always go for dressing your baby like the meal in happier times? There are loads of hilarious turkey costumes, from this plush adorableness for toddlers, to this more understated crocheted version for infants.

8

Gift Baby With A Special Thanksgiving-themed Keepsake

Maybe you’d like to surprise your little one with a special Turkey Day toy? Well, then might I suggest this super sweet felt pumpkin pie? Or this plush doll and bag set? Or turkey finger puppets?

9

Find Your T-Giving Family Jam

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Why not pick a special song that your family sings or listens to together every Thanksgiving? It can be silly or sweet, whatever feels right. (I promise “The Turkey Trot” by Little Eva will get everybody moving.) Or you can go for a song just for kids. Or something by Billy Joel. Or BTS. (Might I suggest “Butter” for a true Thanksgiving theme?) The song itself doesn’t matter, really. What matters is that it’s something that you always sing before pie, or listen to when you’re making the pie, or whenever feels right. The idea is to establish the tune as your special family Thanksgiving song, in honor of your new family.

10

Give Something Back

Yes, your kid is too small to understand the idea of charity. But if it’s something you do every year, you establish not only a tradition, but a lifelong association of Thanksgiving as being a time to not only be grateful, but a time to give back. Maybe you can do a family Fun Run for a local fundraiser. Or visit someone who is homebound, and unable to get out to see family or friends. Or maybe you drop off some groceries at a local food bank. Whatever it is, make it about family, time together, and helping those in need.