Parenting

11 Stress-Free Tips to Make Baby's First Holiday a Success

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Like first birthdays, first holidays aren’t as much about the kids as they are about the parents. This prime memory making time is your reward for all those hard months of pregnancy, a wild delivery, and the exhausting joy of caring for a newborn. Here are 11 easy ways to make this a special moment you’ll never forget.

1. Keep the party intimate.

Now is not the time to gather the extended family together for a big bash. Chances are your little one will quickly be overwhelmed by the crowd. In fact, if your baby is anything like mine, you’ll eat about two bites of your holiday meal before rushing to attend to his overtired wailing. The following 24 hours of soothe-the-overtired-baby torture is not the way you want to ring in your new year.

2. Schedule the gathering during baby’s best hours.

Why, oh why would you attempt a dinner party with a baby? Everyone is there to see the kid who wants to crawl into bed the moment they arrive. We sent out save-the-dates over a month in advance for our Hanukkah party, knowing that certain family members would need to take time off from work to attend a daytime party.

3. If you’re sick, please don’t come.

Don’t hesitate to issue the warning. Guests, give the gift of health this holiday season and keep your germy self at home. New mommies and daddies will thank you and gladly take a rain check on the slippers and the quality time.

4. Invest in a really good camera.

Our Canon is the gift that keeps on giving. My husband and I agreed that we don’t need a thing. In fact, the only things we want this holiday season are memories to cherish when we’re old.

5. Don’t exhaust yourself cooking.

Have guests bring food. Order pizza. In fact, you could serve Bagel Bites and no one will care. They aren’t there to eat, they’re there to coo over the baby.

6. Pull out the paper plates.

Leave the wedding china in the cabinet and make this a no-fuss, low-mess meal. You’re too busy picking up after the human tornado to be standing over a sink or unloading a dishwasher.

7. Let the guests buy the gifts.

Your gift to them is your baby. Their gifts to the baby are all you’ll need right now. These days you’re bonding over diapers, food, and the necessities of daily living. That’s enough financial stress.

8. Do spend the money on that cute outfit.

Get the “Baby’s First” onesie. Do it.

9. Make use of all those Shutterfly coupons.

I can’t be the only new mom receiving a ton of Shutterfly coupons for free photo books. Secure your memories in print. Now. Not after you change the diaper, or throw in that load of laundry, or make dinner. Now, before the files crash, the memory card gets lost, or you turn around and your baby is graduating from high school.

10. Start sharing traditions and stories now.

Your baby may not understand what you say, but he will pick up on the spirit of the season. That joy and excitement lays the groundwork for the learning that will come down the road.

11. Take time to be grateful.

Above all else, give thanks to God for your gorgeous baby. Take time as husband and wife to be grateful for one another and for your child. Don’t get caught up in the stress of throwing a party or the demand that everything be perfect. Just be joyful. That is what this season is all about.