If the best gift possible – your new baby -- arrived just weeks before Christmas, you’re probably too tired to even think about holiday festivities. But you needn’t let the excitement sap your spirit. Instead, you and your newborn can celebrate her first Noel in one of these three ways that won’t wear you out.
1. Baby’s first tree. Okay, so maybe you won’t be trekking into the wilderness to cut a fresh tree this year. Baby’s first Christmas tree can still be special, and this one won’t break the bank or your back.
Choose an artificial, table-top tree and decorate with baby items. Brightly colored rattles, binkies, and teething rings give a festive touch and can be put to good use later. Top it off with a diaper angel. To make, take a cloth diaper, stuff with a small handful of cotton balls for the head, gather cloth together beneath the head, and tie with a festive bow of green and red curled ribbon. Using a yellow pipe cleaner for the halo, shape a four- to five-inch piece into a circle and poke the remaining straight section through top of diaper fabric, securing to angel.
Once the celebration is over this year, the tiny tree can be the basis for a lifelong family tradition. Put the tree up every year and, as your child grows, let her decide how to decorate it.
2. Wrapped in swaddling clothes. If your church holds a Christmas program or indoor live nativity, volunteer to provide the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,” along with Mary and Joseph. A real baby adds depth to your church family’s celebration and will make a memorable experience for your family, too, with little effort required on your part.
Not quite up to going out? Recreate the scene of that very first Christmas on a smaller scale, of course, in your very own home. If possible, have a friend video record or photograph your portrayal to add to baby’s scrapbook.
Keep the spiritual meaning alive every year by making the family nativity a Christmas tradition. Bring the family together at the beginning of the holiday season and watch the video together to set the tone for your holiday celebrations.
3. Enjoy the eve. Spending Christmas Eve together at home allows you to focus on the quieter aspects of the holiday and what really matters. Hang a stocking with care and fill it with an ornament for each member of the family. Put the family stocking at the top of next year’s list of must-do traditions by surprising everyone with an ornament that reflects something you’ve done together during the previous year.
Before heading off to bed, share the Christmas story by candlelight. As Dad reads the story and Mom nurses baby, you’ll experience a special closeness and joy that you’ll want to repeat again and again.
So, if the usual holiday havoc has you thinking your newly expanded family will have to put the celebration on hold, think again. And make your newborn’s first Noel one you’ll all want to remember for years to come.