If you're celebrating your very first winter holiday with a new baby, cute and adorable times are definitely ahead. And whether they are a newborn or a few months old, it's important find some new holiday traditions to start with your baby now, so that your child can always have a fun routine to look forward to. Not to mention, it'll set a standard for your brand new family.
Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are, in a strange way, somewhat similar to weddings — you have a good idea of how it'll all go down, but certain things can be omitted and added to truly make it your own. With your own family, you can exclude the stuff you didn't like from your own childhood, and add in ideas that your partner suggests. There's really no wrong answer as far as what traditions are correct and, obviously, a lot of ideas might fade away through trial and error.
Know what the best thing will be about this very first holiday? Your baby is just so excited to be spending time with you. Little, minor parts of the holiday that you might have disregarded (such as Christmas lights) may spark an innocent wonder in your baby, and you may just form a new appreciation for all things merry and bright.
Here are a few ideas for traditions that your family might want to incorporate around the holidays.
1. Take A Family Photo Together
No, the idea isn't cheesy. In fact, you'll be so lucky that you took an annual snapshot when your "baby" is five or six. Babies really do grow up so quickly — they won't be this small and cuddly for very long. You can incorporate the picture in a greeting card, or simply display it in your home. It'll give you a nostalgia trip in years to come, guaranteed.
2. Create Your Own Yearly DIY Keepsake Ornament
My Dad still has a bunch of construction paper ornaments that I made him back in kindergarten. Lesson learned: Construction paper from the '80s was incredibly well made. These days, it's a bit easier to make an ornament that'll last some time. You can even find ornaments on Etsy if DIY isn't truly your thing. Put your baby's picture on it, write out the year, and watch as your collection continues to grow. Your child will truly appreciate looking back on the years every holiday season.
3. Buy A New Pair Of Holiday Pajamas
My husband's parents still follow this tradition, since everyone loves a pair of fresh, themed PJs. They are inexpensive and can really help set the mood of the big day. Make sure that the PJ set is the official outfit that your child will unwrap presents in, if your gift-giving happens in the morning. They'll definitely learn to be more in the spirit if it's a tradition that started back when they were extremely young. (And, this year? Come on. You were begging for an excuse to buy that red and green onesie.)
4. Write A Letter To Santa
Surely, you'll have to pen it during the first year (and the second, third, and probably fourth and fifth.) But, if you decide to keep the list — or, make a photo copy of it — you're pretty much forming a time capsule of what was popular that year. Of course, as your child grows, it'll also help them work on their writing and comprehension skills. People want to hand in their best work when they're corresponding with the big man in red.
5. Donate A Present To A Child In Need
By putting your baby's name on a gift to the less fortunate, you're showing them that everyone can make a difference. By choosing a name from a work program, or donating to Toys For Tots directly, you and your baby are spreading a ton of holiday cheer. This is also a good tradition to start early to show them that, for your family, the holidays have always been about being kind and lending a hand.
6. Select Your Family Holiday Book Together
Although your baby's choice in literature will probably change throughout the years, picking one book that you read together every Christmas is a wonderful tradition that can really add so much to your holiday. Of course there are a few classics, like How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and The Snowman, that would be great additions to your home and your routine.
7. Consider Writing Your Own Annual Story
You've probably learned a lot about your baby by the time of his or her first winter holiday. If you're the creative type, sit down and use your child for inspiration — write a winter-related story with your baby as the main character. Continue the "series" each year, and make sure to keep them as a set. Your child will love the fact that they're starring in their very own holiday book.
8. Start Up A Yearly Family Neighborhood Drive
Whether it's Christmas lights or Hanukkah lights, one thing is obvious — your neighborhood looks incredible. Children, even babies, learn how to properly react based on your own reactions. By taking a drive and checking out the decor, you'll definitely give off a few positive reactions that'll help them enjoy the holidays even more. It's definitely easy to plan a day to go out and appreciate the world outside.
9. Create A Holiday Video For Long Distance Family
If it's the first holiday your baby is celebrating, there's a chance that everyone will want to celebrate with you. But, keep in mind that holidays as a new mom are pretty tough. In general, you'll want to take it easy this first year. With this in mind, you might want to create a new holiday video that you can easily send to family members that'll showcase your new child. Like a few other suggestions on the list, these will be incredible to keep for years to come. So much will change, and it's just such an amazing keepsake as you and your child get older.
10. Let Your Baby Open Up One Present A Day Early
Some families do this to celebrate the Eve of the holiday, and some don't. If you have a special present that you want to lead off the big day with (or, if you're just too excited to see your baby's adorable expression when the present is opened) this might be a great tradition to start. Just make sure that when your child gets older, they know that not all families choose to celebrate the holiday this way. Kids gossip and compare notes, especially when presents are involved.