Why am I writing about baby’s first Christmas in February? Firstly, it’s because I’m woefully behind on all of the great blogs I had in mind for you! Secondly, I LOVE CHRISTMAS – it’s my favourite time of year (in fact, I’m going through Christmas withdrawal as I type this). Lastly, I am a firm believer of the adage of “better late than never” so, I proceed with writing this blog for any other Mummies and Daddies who want to plan for Christmases to come! December will be here before you know it right?
When it comes to baby’s first Christmas – there’s always a lot of pressure for new parents. You want it to be perfect, and you want to do it “just right”. Mummy has her traditions, Daddy has his traditions and you have to find a happy mix of the two to pass on to the next generation. There is also another pressure – to start NEW traditions – ways that your family will celebrate Christmas year to year. Some of these fun traditions may be things that honestly, baby couldn’t care less about (like baking Christmas cookies) – however, they are things that in the future will be something that your child will LOVE doing. If it’s important to you – it will end up being important to your child so have fun with choose traditions and make them a reflection of your family.
I did TONS of research on things to do for Baby’s First Christmas. I also tried to incorporate things that would be great traditions for years to come. There are so many traditions to choose from – making ornaments, choosing a fresh tree every year, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories, the “Elf on a Shelf” etc.
These are some of the ones that I chose to do for Cheeks’ First Christmas and plan to do for Christmases to come.
1. Yearly Ornament. I had a great time with doing a handprint ornament with Cheeks’ and a couple of her friends (okay really it was with Mummy’s friends who have daughters the same age as Cheeks but we are determined that they are going to be the next generation of friends in true Caymanian fashion!) We got glass ornaments, child safe glue and some glitter and went to town! It took us a few tries to get the handprints but a few smudgy handprints later, we all have an ornament to treasure. Each year I will try to find some cool way for us to make, decorate, or choose an ornament so that our tree can eventually be filled with ornaments of Christmas memories.
2. Pictures with Santa. At least until it’s not important to Cheeks anymore. She did so great with her Santa pics (honestly, I was hoping for the tearful shot, but I’ll take the cute doll look any day!) and you can find some great places on island to get them done reasonably. Camana Bay is a favourite spot, but we lucked out and got ours through Creations at Little Darlings.
3. Christmas Pyjamas. They have such cute pyjamas year, after year – why not get a special set JUST for Christmas?? Save them year after year and you can pass them on to the next generation. Personally, I think it would make a cool Christmas quilt that you can then gift to your child when they are an adult.
4. Christmas Story. We read the original Christmas story, of Jesus’ birth and sang some Christmas Choruses as well. This was a tradition in my family and something that I really want to pass down to Cheeks. Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and while we love and enjoy EVERYTHING about Christmas, we always take the time to reflect on the best Christmas gift ever received.
5. Christmas Eve Box. A friend of mine clued me into this one. A box filled with your Christmas pyjamas, snacks, a Christmas book and a Christmas movie to enjoy on Christmas Eve. I didn’t go all out with Cheeks’ box this year – just pyjamas and a book. But when she’s older, there’s going to be a lot of fun attached to this one! What I like about this one as well is that it gives parents some down time from all of the Christmas Day preparations. You take a couple hours on Christmas Eve to SPEND TIME with your kids rather than running around trying to make Christmas Day happen. As your children get older the time spent will be treasured so much more than the physical gift that was received.
6. Gift Limit. Both my husband and I initially said we would do a single gift each for Cheeks…but then there were so many cute things to choose from that we couldn’t control ourselves. We limited it to the old Victorian tradition of “Something you want. Something you need. Something to wear. Something to read.” (Keeping in mind that for a baby/toddler – they don’t really “want” anything so it’s more of something that Mummy and Daddy WANT you to want!). It’s so hard to not get caught up in the commercialized version of Christmas, so keep in mind to keep a balance – so that your children will learn to love Christmas not only for the gifts but for the magic of the season as well!
6. One Gift on Christmas Eve. This is one that is from my husband’s childhood and Cheeks had a great time ripping the paper off that gift. Not to mention it was great practice for the big finale the next day!
7. Christmas “Outfits”. Since Cheeks is still a baby, I think I can go a little “out there” with her little outfits (plus it’s her first Christmas – come on!). This year she had her Christmas church dress, her opening presents outfit and two Christmas outfits for the Christmas Day (babies aren’t known for being tidy). She won’t have 4 outfits for Christmas again next year, but a nice Christmas Dress and a Christmas-y outfit for family dinner will definitely be the norm for years to come.
8. Christmas Day Church Service. Taking the time on Christmas Day (away from the cooking and the cleaning) to go and share in the celebration of the Reason for the Season. Not all churches in Cayman hold services on Christmas Day but the Webster Memorial Church in Bodden Town does as well as a few others smaller churches on island.
9. Remaining Gifts on Christmas Day night. This one seems like torture, but believe it or not, it’s a tradition from my family. A traditional Christmas Day was you went to church, you changed into a Christmas-y casual outfit, you spent the entire day enjoying Christmas food and spending time with your family, opening your Christmas presents with the extended family and then we ended the night with fireworks. As a child, yes, it was torture to know you had presents you had to wait to open, but looking back it was a pretty cool tradition that I decided to carry over with Cheeks.
10. Christmas Lights. The tenth and final tradition. There can be no Cayman Christmas without going to look at the lights! Especially the ones by Mr. Rex Crighton’s house and Ms. Maxine and Maureen Bodden’s home. Cheeks had such a good time – her eyes were wide as saucers and she just took it all in and pointed to everything her little eyes could see. I want to see the magic of Christmas lights through her eyes every year.
Some of these traditions might appeal to you and others may not. The traditions around any holiday should be specific and unique to your family! Most importantly, use these traditions to make MEMORIES because that’s what makes the beauty of Christmas last in our hearts all year round!