The first 12 months of your baby’s life are full of firsts—from developmental milestones like smiling, babbling or crawling, to first experiences and holidays. While your little one isn’t really going to understand who Santa is or why there is so much excitement, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go big for their first Christmas—plus, it’s just as much for you as it is for them!
Here are a dozen fun ways to commemorate your little one’s first Christmas:
1. Immortalize a handprint or footprint
Baby hands and feet are just plain adorable and are the perfect decoration for a holiday craft. Make a salt dough ornament (you just need flour, salt and water) out of their teeny hands or feet or create a masterpiece with paint (we like this mistletoes craft). Either way, every year you can hang this piece on the tree or above the mantle and be amazed at how small your kid once was.
2. Mark their height
Measure your baby’s height with a piece of string or ribbon (we recommend red, green or gold to keep with the festive spirit). Then roll it up and tuck it into an empty, clear ornament (add some glitter for good measure). Attach a tag marking the date and each year, compare that first Christmas measurement to your kid’s current height and show them how much they’ve grown.
3. Don matching pyjamas
Nobody can deny how cute Christmas pyjamas are these days. Find a set you like and order a pair for the whole family. Don’t forget to snap some photos!
4. Take a slice of the tree
If you get a real Christmas tree every year, once the festivities are over, cut a chunk off the bottom before you throw it out. Paint the round to mark the year and note on the front in stencil that it’s baby’s first Xmas. It’s the perfect decoration for next year’s tree—and the one after that, too.
5. Buy a special book
Start building that Christmas library early! Inscribe a special note for your child inside the cover of one of your favourite holiday books—talk about what Santa got them that year, how they loved their first taste of cranberry sauce, etc. Revisit that first-Christmas magic every year when you crack open that classic book (you can’t go wrong with ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas).
6. Give something soft and cozy
Warm and snuggly is the name of the game at Christmastime. If you have the ability—or have a family member who is handy with knitting needles—make a special holiday blanket you can bring out every year. Follow tradition number five and use it to snuggle under while you read a book. If you’re not so crafty, you can find lots of knit blankets and quilts on Etsy or at local craft shows.
7. Snap an annual photo
If there is a special chair or spot in your home, maybe by the fireplace, take a festive photo of your baby there—then plan to recreate it each year so you have a themed series to compare your tot’s year-to-year growth. Alternatively, head to the mall and meet up with Santa for a photo (virtually or in person). It can be fun to see your child’s different reactions to Old Saint Nick each year.
8. Capture a photo you can only do once
If the idea of an annual photo isn’t quite up your alley, opt for the type of pic you can only accomplish with a small baby. Maybe you put your newborn in a wrapped gift box with a big bow on their back, or place them sleeping in a cozy basket under the tree or have them happily hopping in their Jolly Jumper wearing a Santa hat.
9. Pop on some small slippers
Keep those tiny toes warm in a pair of adorable little slippers. For baby’s first Christmas, they can be functional, but once they’ve outgrown them, tie the little booties together with a note commemorating the date. Then hang them on your tree as a decoration.
10. Buy a personalized ornament
Etsy is full of options for ornaments you can tailor to your little one. You can go simple and just put their name and the year or go a little fancier and add their photo and even their birth weight and height.
11. Make a cookie plate
The jolly man in red can’t leave your house without munching on a few cookies first. Create a special dish to bring out every year for serving these sweet treats. Many local pottery shops can help you put your baby’s hand or footprints on a plate in the shape of Rudolph or a Christmas tree. Or find a DIY kit at a craft store to paint your own original creation.
12. Hang a custom stocking
The littlest babes won’t be able to empty their stockings yet, but this is another way to kick off a lifetime of special December 25ths. Many stores offer personalization for stockings where they will embroider a name across the top or you can find stockings where your child’s name becomes the pattern printed right on the fabric.