Christmas is the most exciting time of year when you have young children. Last Christmas, J was just 4 months old, but we couldn’t wait to share such a special time together. This year he will be 16 months old – much more aware, but still with no idea what Christmas is! Lots of the Christmas traditions you see people enjoying are suitable for slightly older children, but there are lots of ways you can lay down traditions to be enjoyed for many years to come. Try some of these ideas, suitable for babies and very young children:
1. Advent Treats
Many of your babies will not even be weaned by 1st December and, even if they are, you may not want to start each day with a face full of chocolate! There are lot of alternative advent calendars available now, containing other things besides chocolate. My Mum has bought this one for J this year:
Another idea is to wrap up a couple of Christmassy gifts for them to enjoy throughout December. These are the sort of presents that I would rather not give on Christmas Day, as it doesn’t leave a lot of time to enjoy them before needed to pack them away until next year! Last year, we bought J a decoration to hang on the tree, a Christmas onesie to wear at all his Christmas parties, and a Christmas storybook. We will continue this tradition this year, to help build some excitement in the lead up to the big day.
Last year we bought The Christmas Bear:
This year we have bought Mr Noisy and the Silent Night:
2. Enjoy Some Carolling
Everyone loves Christmas music – even those who pretend not to! The simple melodies and joyful words make them perfect for singing to little ones, as a welcome change from your usual repertoire of nursery rhymes. Be sure to fill your house with Christmas songs, and sing all the classics to your kids as the weeks go by. Check out these Top 10 Christmas Songs For Kids, if you need some inspiration.
Christmas markets, town centres and parks often have carol singers at this time of year. Don’t be in a hurry to rush past them! Stop and let your baby enjoy the dulcet tones of community groups, crooning through all your favourites. It’ll fill you with festive spirit, and your child will be amazed that they know the words to the songs you’ve been singing all month!
3. Dress Up In Christmas Clothes
OK, so Christmas jumpers have seen a massive revival in recent years, but fashions will move on and your kids won’t want to be seen in a flashing Santa jumper by the time they’re 10 years old. So you may as well get your fix with cute kiddy outfits while they’re too young to object!
The range of baby and toddler available is huge. Mothercare is full of variety, and is very inexpensive. Last year, J wore this present onesie:
This year, we have bought him this reindeer jumper:
The Little White Company do some beautiful pieces if you are feeling flush! They are lovely quality, and look really special. This snowman romper sold out last year, so grab it quick:
These little reindeer pyjamas are gorgeous for Christmas Eve:
4. Host A Christmas Party
This is the perfect time of year to get all your NCT girls together for a much-needed catch-up. Try some of these ideas to make it extra festive:
- Suggest a Secret Santa for the babies. Elfster will match up present givers with receivers, sending you a top secret email to tell you who to buy for. Set a price limit, and enjoy seeing all the little faces as they open their presents (I’m kidding – they won’t care about anything but the wrapping paper, but this is still a nice way for the adults to celebrate together!)
- Allocate different food/drink for everyone to bring – and don’t forget to include the little ones if they are weaned. Make sure everyone sticks to the Christmas theme.
- Have a go at some simple games! Try pinning the nose on Rudolph, wrapping kids up in tinsel, and a scavenger hunt using baubles from the Christmas tree.
- Try this playlist for a festive soundtrack:
5. Go Hunting For Christmas Lights
Christmas lights are completely fascinating to babies and young children! J was only a very young baby last year, but he couldn’t take his eyes away from the magical sights. This year he is obsessed with stars, and loves nothing more than spotting all the light-up stars everywhere.
- Take a walk through your neighbourhood just after dark, to see the houses that have really gone to town with decorations
- Visit your local garden centre. For some reason, they seem to be THE place for Christmas lights – often with lovely grottos and secret passages to explore (for free!)
- Hang some fairy lights in your baby’s bedroom, to give it a special touch of Christmas sparkle
6. Go To See A Christmas Show
There are more and more theatre experiences suitable for little children now, and it’s a great way to introduce them to the world of live performance. Look out for local productions of The Snowman, which is such a magical spectacle. Look for shows with age suggestions of ‘under-_’, to ensure that your baby will be welcome and catered to. They are often short performances, with lots of interaction and sensory elements to enjoy. Kids are never too young to enjoy theatre, and a Christmas show will show them a little taster of what the big day is all about!
We have found that Christmas now is all about establishing new traditions that we want our children to enjoy for years to come. We have combined memories of our own childhood Christmases, to come up with a celebration that suits us perfectly. That is really the key to celebrating this time of year. It needs to be filled with things that make you feel warm and fuzzy, which evoke great memories, and which allow you to create great memories!
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