Your baby’s first Christmas is both a wonderful milestone and a daunting day as you hope that everything will be perfect for your baby, including the photos, memories, presents and everything else that comes with this special time of the year. This can all seem a little overwhelming – but fear not – our mothercare mums (Jo, Hannah, Karen, Nicole, Megan, Zoe and Susie) have shared their top tips and festive traditions to help you make your baby’s first Christmas as magical and relaxing as possible!
enjoy the little moments… and take ‘some’ photos
Karen, author of My Winter and Jonah blog, explains that she wanted to remember this special moment forever, so it was important to record Jonah’s first Christmas every which way she could. “I filmed and took photos throughout the day but didn’t find it very relaxing because I thought that every moment needed to be captured on camera. It doesn’t. To give yourself a bit of a break, I would suggest planning ahead and think about the moments in the day that matter most to you, whether it’s opening Santa’s stocking or tucking into sprouts for the first time, limit your camera time and enjoy the moments without seeing them through a lens.”
However, don’t completely abandon your camera! Nicole, author of The Littlest Darlings blog, recalls Iris’ first Christmas being a bundle of happy emotions due to postnatal hormones running through her body. She felt so content seeing both her babies on Christmas day together that she didn't even pick up the camera. “I regret not snapping more on Iris’ first Christmas so make sure to get your camera out!”
quality over quantity
Hannah, author of Hannah and the Mini Beasts blog, remembers everybody enjoying spoiling Noah for his first Christmas but apart from his favourite present – a toy hoover from mothercare – she can hardly remember what he got! Hannah was so worried that he wouldn’t have enough that she admits she overspent and suggests that for your baby’s first Christmas you focus on choosing keepsake gifts.
Megan, author of Little Miss Tiggy blog, decided not to buy for the sake of buying and chose keepsake gifts instead, such as items which had the words ‘baby’s first Christmas’ written on them. “The keepsake gifts, including a Christmas bauble with her name on it, mean that one day Tiggy can look back on the photographs and items and know that she was very much a part of our family Christmas even if she did sleep for most of the morning and missed the presents being opened!”
Nicole agrees that you don’t need to spend lots of money on presents nor buy hundreds of presents as you’re likely to unwrap your own wrapping! “My favourite part of the run-up to Christmas is the Christmas Eve box as it doesn't cost a lot and I love putting it together - Christmas pyjamas, a book, a Christmas teddy, an outfit for the next day, a Christmas DVD, a mince pie, a carrot, Santa’s magic key etc... it’s just so lovely to have that the night before and it’s adaptable for all ages really.”
Zoe, from Mum & Liss Blog, recommends a blend of practical and sentimental gifts for a baby’s first Christmas: “With it being Belle’s first Christmas we have gone with the more practical and sentimental gifts for her. Mothercare have some really lovely first Christmas gifts in at the minute, including a beautiful personalised towel, my first Christmas bauble and a my first Christmas bear.”
stagger gift opening
Jo, author of Not a Frumpy Mum blog, explains that opening presents in a short space of time can be quite overwhelming for babies (and older children too) so it is important to stagger this. “Personally, I also think the effect of some of the gifts is lost. So instead, we drip feed opening the presents during the day, always starting with the stocking being opened in bed, and we’re quite often still opening them on Boxing Day.”
don’t worry about the routine
For Noah’s first Christmas, Hannah tried to keep him in his usual routines for meals and nap times but it proved utterly impossible. She recommends not to fret over sticking to the routine as a stroll with the baby is all that’s needed if you feel stressed. “When Noah did get a little grizzly around lunchtime we popped on some shoes and took him out for an afternoon stroll and left mum to crack on with lunch. By the time we got back Noah was fast asleep and I was calmer and able to enjoy the rest of the day!”
Jo is a huge a believer in routines for children but even at Christmas the routine often goes out the window with family visits and trips out. “Admittedly, it can take a few days to get back into the usual routine but I think the memories made and the fun times had are more than worth it.”
It’s also worth taking a leaf out of Karen’s book and remembering not to expect too much from your little ones. She points out that for Jonah’s first Christmas, he still needed to nap during the main event. “I completely forgot that Jonah had a routine and couldn’t just slip into my idea of Christmas day. He was asleep again by the time we had helped him unwrap Santa’s gifts!”
buy that cute christmas outfit
Jo recommends not holding back and buying that silly Christmas outfit for your baby’s first Christmas. “I didn’t with my eldest as I thought I was too cool for babies in Santa outfits and I really regret it. Poor George had a variety of comedy Christmas costumes and the photos make me smile every time I look back at them.”
Susie, author of This Is Me Now, is looking forward to dressing her little man in one of mothercare’s my first Christmas sleepsuits for the night before Santa arrives: “I love the print of the polar bear outfit, and the grey starry night one is the one I’ll probably put him in on Christmas Eve.”
Speaking of which...
christmas eve traditions
Christmas Eve traditions make that special time of year even more festive, especially when it’s your baby’s first Christmas. Everyone has their own, but Zoe loves to get cosy and wrap presents the night before the big day: “We don’t tend to wrap the presents until Christmas Eve. We usually wrap them together once the kids are in bed; have a Chinese takeaway and watch a Christmas film with a drink in hand. I love collecting all of their presents over the months and then getting them all out on Christmas Eve to see what we’ve bought.”
Susie has her own family Christmas Eve traditions: “Christmas Eve is one of my favourite days of the year. As a child we’d set out a mince pie and sherry for Father Christmas and of course a carrot for Rudolph! So obviously we do this on Christmas Eve like most families. We’re also lucky to live near a street with great Christmas lights and so for the last few years on Christmas Eve we have gone for a walk to look at them. We then come home, have a hot chocolate and get into our PJs and put the goodies out for Santa and Rudolph. It feels like our own little Christmas Eve family tradition.”
enjoy the day
On the big day itself, Susie recommends going for a little stroll after to lunch to get some much-needed fresh air before getting back to the fun and games: “Then we’ll nip out for a short walk to walk off the Christmas Dinner. And now that Miss Belle is a bit older she loves playing games. Little Man always tries to join in, and eat them! So we will spend the afternoon playing with any new games and toys in front of the woodburner.”
Finally, Megan highlights that above all you should remember to just enjoy the day. “Things often don’t go to plan with little ones, especially babies who sleep for most of Christmas Day, but it really isn’t the end of the world. There were plenty of wonderful memories made despite this and Tiggy was very much a part of her Christmas even if she didn’t realise it.”
So as you hang your tinsel and mull over the festive tips from our mothercare mums, why not let us know how you'll be celebrating this season. And if the stockings aren't quite full yet, take a look at our gift guide for baby’s first Christmas - it's about as present-packed as Santa's sleigh!