The Holidays are here, and with it, ample opportunities to infuse your family life with meaning. If this is your first major holiday season with a baby in tow, however, it’s all new and maybe a bit overwhelming. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of shopping and entertaining that we miss those precious family moments, or to put too much pressure on every moment to be a new tradition.
Here are a few simple ways that your family can bask in the magic of Christmas without letting the holiday be a source of stress for you or baby:
For Every Day Out, Plan Several Days at Home
While the schedule is more hectic during the holidays, I try to have a few normal routine days for every day that’s off kilter. If you’re doing Christmas shopping all day and baby misses her nap or she’s up late with the family lighting the Hanukkah candle, make sure the next day you lay low and give them every opportunity to get back on track. The trick isn’t to avoid all the festivities in favour of keeping baby happy, but to make sure you’re helping him recover well after a day of merriment.
Pass On Traditions and Make Your Own
Starting a family of your own will surely bring about reflection on what traditions you want to continue from your own childhood. It’s normal to be shaped by your upbringing, but make sure you’re a team with your partner and together you decide what new traditions you’ll create with your child and which ones you’ll continue or conclude from your own background.
Part of the reason the holidays are so meaningful is that these rhythms are practiced year after year, but that doesn’t mean you need to continue everything from your past. It’s also a moment to begin writing the pages of your little family’s history, so feel free to start new and meaningful traditions. Opening a gift on Christmas eve, attending Christmas eve services, and eating a charcuterie board on Christmas day were all new and fun traditions we took up once we started our own family, but we held onto putting up the tree on December 1st, watching Rudolph and Frosty, and a big Christmas morning brunch from our childhoods!
Unplug and Plug In
With the Holidays comes rest from work and time together, so be sure to unplug from your devices and screens in favour of plugging into your family. Let technology serve you by Facetiming faraway relatives or watching a Christmas movie together, instead of serving technology by routinely checking social media or email. Most readers, like me, grew up in a much less connected time and I can’t help but wonder if that helped us make strong and lasting memories. There was a simplicity to growing up without smartphones or tablets, and if there is any holiday that summons nostalgia, it’s Christmas. Recreate those simpler days this holiday season by putting away your phone and getting out a board game, by turning off Netflix and building a snowman, and by disconnecting your tablets in favour of reconnecting with your family.
Keeping the days simple, affordable, and fun is always a top priority with our kids. Their best memories are sure to be time spend with those they love, which never had to cost money. These summers will fly by before we know it, so let’s enjoy them with our little ones and make them count!
Emily is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of three little ones. When she’s not traveling the world with her family, Montreal is home, where you can find her exploring the local markets, making a mess in her kitchen, and brewing a cup of tea. Find her on Instagram (@emmorrice) and check out her lifestyle blog, Our Nest In The City, where she documents it all.