Baby’s first holiday season is a special time that will only happen once in their lifetime. So amid sleep deprivation, fussy babies needing to be held throughout the day, the 45 minute nap monster, and perhaps still recovering from delivery, just how do you enjoy the holiday season with a newborn? Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve used, and plan to try, to get the most out of my fleeting time with my newborn, and enjoy this special time of year as much as possible.
Food Preparation: So much of the holiday season is surrounded by one central theme; FOOD! Make your life easier by ordering store bought when possible. If it’s not in the budget, or you prefer homemade, take shortcuts like buying pre-diced onions, celery and carrots, common cooking staples of the season. Buy bagged and chopped lettuce, use boxed stuffing, or use pumpkin pie mix instead of making your pie completely from scratch. I also consistently use store bought pie crusts. Pastry crusts are not something that can be rushed and tried to squeeze in when baby is calm for 5 minutes. Taking and using these little shortcuts saves a few minutes here and there, but it all adds up, and saves your energy for the important things, like playing with your baby!
Hostess With the Mostess: If you’re typically the hostess for the holiday gatherings, politely decline this year, if at all possible. No matter how many times family and friends tell you that they will do everything and all you have to do is just open up your home, you know that there will always be pre-cleanup and post-cleanup duty that will be left to you and your partner. We’ve decided to skip hosting this year and instead are driving a ways out to my sister’s house for turkey day, but the drive will be worth it knowing that I don’t have to worry about playing the hostess.
Plan Accordingly For Baby’s Needs & Routine: If you’re traveling, set aside an extra few hours just for pre-planning! Make a list of items you will need to pack and think about ways to travel light. Can you rent a carseat, baby tub or a pack and play where you’re going? If items like diapers, formula, and even wipes can be purchased where you’re going, just pack a few of each in your diaper bag and don’t bother taking enough for your whole stay. Travel as light as possible is the key! What items are must-haves that you absolutely can’t forget? For us it’s our sound machine and plenty of swaddling blankets. Make a plan so you don’t forget those in the rush of getting out the door (I write big reminder notes and leave them by my keys)! Taking just a bit of time up-front to plan will save you time, frustration and even some tears!
Gift Giving: Shop online when and where possible, and buy duplicate gifts. I have 13 nieces and nephews and many of them are very close in age and developmental stage, so this year instead of trying to thoughtfully pick out each individual gift like I normally do, I am buying the same gift for some nieces and nephews where appropriate. If you have a large extended family that you usually buy for, consider this year drawing names, a fun family tradition we have had for years. Each year at Thanksgiving the adults all put their name in a hat and we each pick one person to buy a gift for. This tradition saves time and money!
Combine Birth Announcements With Holiday Cards: These are 2 traditions that typically take quite a bit of time and energy, so this year since our baby was born closer to the holidays, we are combining birth announcements and holiday cards into one! This saves time because we don’t have to take 2 sets of pictures, and I don’t have to address and mail out two separate items, and it obviously saves money. Most importantly though it saves my energy.
Remind Yourself To Enjoy Your Baby: This sounds so silly and obvious, but if I am not intentional about setting time aside to stop and slow down, I can quickly lose myself in trying to make the holidays perfect in every detail. But I try to remind myself that it’s not the details that make a holiday perfect, but having the time to enjoy them with those I love the most.