As a new parent, you probably have high expectations for your baby’s first Christmas. While postcards and movies make this special time seem effortless and fun, it will likely be more of a chore than a memorable experience. The best thing you can do is lower your expectations a little and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the upcoming holiday season. Here are four tips to help you do just that:
1. Limit Travel if You Can
Traveling with a newborn can be an exhausting experience. Limiting travel during the holidays can lessen the stress on you and while limiting everyone’s exposure to germs, which is important during your baby’s first few months of life.
If you must hit the road (or the airways), be sure to prepare accordingly. Send gift packages ahead of time, so you don’t have to deal with them en-route, and get yourself a travel baby bottle sterilizer to make preparing bottles on the go much easier.
2. Limit Your Baby’s Gifts
Newborns don’t care about, nor do they need, a truckload of toys. It’s your baby’s first Christmas, and the one thing you can guarantee is that they won’t remember a bit of it. All the fuss and hubbub are more for your benefit than bub’s, so let yourself off the hook for a ton of expensive toys.
If you must make a big fuss over your baby’s gifts, or if family and friends are asking what they can get, choose toys and clothing that will suit them when they’re older. That way, your child will get a chance to truly appreciate them.
3. Set Boundaries with Extended Family
The funny thing about having a new baby is it changes relationships within the extended family. Spending time with said family at Christmas only magnifies these changes.
You may find yourself needing to say “no” for the first time ever to well-meaning family members and friends who want to make plans on your behalf or offer unsolicited advice. Setting boundaries with others, however, is the only way to have a stress-free baby’s first Christmas.
One of the more important boundaries you’ll want to enforce is not touching or passing the baby around. This is essential to avoid spreading germs. A baby’s underdeveloped immune system can’t take it, so put your foot down when others want to touch, cuddle, hold, and kiss your new bundle of joy.
4. Expect to Be Emotional
Whether you’re missing a traditional family get-together or are holed up in a separate room with a fussy baby, you can expect to feel lonely, isolated, and sad at some point during the holidays. A new baby requires a lot of attention, which can distract from normal holiday festivities for new parents.
The good news is, these feelings pass quickly as your little one grows and becomes more self-sufficient. Your child’s immune system will get stronger, and you won’t need to worry so much about exposure to germs. Just remember, it’s normal to feel this way, especially during the holidays with family and friends so near.
Whether you set high expectations or others tell you how your baby’s first Christmas should be, expecting too much can leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed. Ultimately, your baby’s first Christmas will probably not live up to any preconceived notions you may have. It can still be a great time, though, if you prepare in advance and don’t get invested in it being movie-magic perfection.