Be Prepared for Baby’s First Christmas
Or : “How to be prepared for Baby’s first Christmas for a closet Christmas Grinch”
Did I seriously just dive down the black hole that is googling ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ ??? YIKES. I am that person who hates with a passion hearing carols playing in the Warehouse months out from the day. I mean, seriously. It’s almost as if Mister Burns is hanging out watching people start to frantically spend, thinking ‘exxxx-cellennnnnnt’ as we line his pockets. But here I am, thinking about Christmas in OCTOBER, people.
For most of my adult life, Christmases have become about planning and cooking a delicious meal together with my family. Sleep ins and champagne brunch have become the run of the mill.
But now that it’s bubba’s first real Christmas, I’ve been thinking about what childhood traditions I’d like her to have. I want it to be much more for her than the commercialised trash fest it has become for so many. Here are a few of my ideas, gleaned from friends, family members and various Pinterest posts read at 1am when I can’t sleep:
- Give a gift to a child in need. Last year I started by donating unneeded baby gifts to the Salvation Army tree at Kmart. This year I have signed up for the Wellington Shoebox Christmas. I do this in memory of my Nan, who I helped wrap presents for the donation when I was a child.
- Carols… We aren’t a particularly religious family, but I was a choir girl growing up and it just isn’t Christmas to me without singing. And I mean REAL singing. At a carol service, with harmonies.
- A special family tradition on Christmas Eve. A friend always watches a Christmas movie with her now teenagers. Other families I know open one present on Christmas eve. I like the idea of opening a new pair of pjays and snuggling down together to watch the Christmas movie with treats that we ONLY have this one night a year. I’ve read about hot chocolates for those in the Northern Hemisphere. So maybe as she grows up we’ll figure this out. Chocolate and fruit fondue maybe? (Our current adult version is a glass or two of Baileys!)
- Keep presents sensible. I have heard the “something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need” bandied about Facebook recently, and it seems a fabulous way to stop yourself from getting carried away. As children, we always got pyjamas, and a calendar or diary for the new year. My cousins got their new pair of togs for the coming year, and jandals for the summer. Awfully sensible if you ask me! Now the division of Mum and Dad vs Santa is different in every family. But, in ours, our one ‘big’ present always came from parents, and Santa just gave the smaller things – so that other children didn’t wonder why Santa didn’t think they were good enough for that new bike!
- Giving and receiving together. This may be freakish, but from when we were very young, we all sat around together (after waiting until the 7am golden hour) and took turns to give and open each and every present. We still do this now, and it verges on the ridiculous how long it takes! But for us, this is celebrating the ‘togetherness’ that Christmas is about – not just mindlessly ripping paper in a self-absorbed fashion.
- Afternoon activities. Rather than falling into a food coma until it’s time for leftovers, we like to play a game of backyard cricket, go for a family walk, or get in the pool. Activities that are, again, about making the most of being together.
So, whether you agree or disagree with my ideas, take a few moments to think about how you’ll keep Christmas manageable and fun this year. Yes, I’m speaking from the ultimate position of naive optimism here – I’m sure things will become very different once my wee one is old enough to see the ads, feel the peer pressure and begin writing lists for Santa. But keeping things ‘real’ at Christmas is going to be my priority, and hopefully by keeping this in mind we can create special memories of togetherness for the years to come.