Your gift arrived a little early this year: your newborn baby, home just in time for the holidays! From the end of November to the end of December, no matter what holidays you celebrate and observe, you are probably in a festive mood. You probably even imagined what it would be like to share the magic of the season with your kids one day, and now the time has come!
However, with the reality of late night wakings, diaper changes, and feeding schedules, maybe the season doesn't seem quite so amazing. Don't worry: the magic will come. Just maybe not for a year or two. In the meantime, here is how to survive, and enjoy, the holidays with your new baby.
Don't Expect to Open a Ton of Gifts
Remember when you were a kid, and racing to open presents on the big day? You were a little bit older then! Children under ages two or three aren't so thrilled with all the stuff that can accompany many of our holiday celebrations. To them, sitting down with a pile to open may actually be downright overstimulating.
With babies and toddlers, expect to open one or maybe two gifts at a time, and then give them a break: to either enjoy what they got, or maybe even take a little nap! Take your time. The excitement will happen someday, just not this year (or even probably the next).
Decide What to Do About Travel
Are you used to hitting up two, three, or even four different houses in one day for parties and family traditions? Or traveling across the country (check out our tips for Flying with Baby)? It's still possible to travel with your baby, but this is the season to decide what feels best for your family.
Maybe you are going stir-crazy at home, and can't wait to get out and have some "normal" feeling experiences with your family. Great! Go for the parties! On the other hand, you may feel like you are barely functioning, and the thought of going to someone else's house for a gathering, no matter how familiar, feels completely overwhelming. It's ok to sit out some parties or stay home instead of travling!
Take It Slow
Lights displays, Santa sightings, holiday concerts, gift shopping and wrapping, treat baking and decorating: there are so many fun ways to enjoy the season. Just not maybe this year. Just remember, it is always ok to take it slow. The many traditions and memories you have from childhood: they took years to build and grow! It's ok to take time and slowly add in fun family traditions year-by-year instead of feeling like you have to do all of them that first year.
Your baby will appreciate calm parents. They will also appreciate you seeing the world from their all still very brand new view point. To them, it's not about all the festivities, it's just about being close to the ones they love and trust most. Oh, and sleeping and eating too.