Dec 5, 2014

Making Baby's First Christmas Magical: 10 Tips and Traditions

Last year was a Christmas I will never forget. It was the twins first Christmas and it was magical. Simply magical. We didn't do anything fancy. We didn't buy tons of gifts. But it was perfect for our family and set the tone for Christmases to come.

 

 

Your baby's first Christmas is a chance to really discuss what YOUR family holidays will look like. You and your spouse both came into your marriage and parenthood with your own set of holiday ideas and traditions. Some of the traditions may work for your family, but some of them won't. Last year, Casey and I got to decide what our traditions would look like. We both had things we grew up with that we wanted to incorporate for our family and could pick and choose what we kept. We also got to start new family traditions that neither of us grew up with. This year, we have another baby celebrating his first Christmas and so once again we are really discussing what we want a Crazy Cass Christmas to look like.

The thing to remember about traditions is that these are OUR traditions. You won't see decorating a gingerbread house or holiday crafts on our list because that's not our thing as a family. Maybe someday I'll have crafty kids and we'll make ornaments and string garland. Not this year. Not this family. Traditions can't be forced. They have to work for your family and be special to your family. I have a few traditions that work for us to share, but I really encourage you to put the baby(ies) to bed and have a heart to heart with your spouse about what Christmas looks like.

 

Advent

I grew up with Advent being a focus of the season. We started the season with the hanging of the greens at church. We went to the church advent festival. At home, we (some years) lit an advent wreath. We always had chocolate advent calendars. It was a season of preparation for the coming of Christ.

I really want my kids to have that same experience of the season and Casey agrees. This year we are doing a devotional each night called The Advent Book. It is a great book for toddlers through adults and walks through the Christ story one day at a time. We also have an advent calendar. It isn't a chocolate calendar with opening doors, but it will do! I made one using paper bags and twine that has trinkets like balls and jingle bells, pretzels, Annie's crackers, lollipops, and stickers. I have to admit, I haven't actually put anything in most of the bags yet - I'm filling as we go!

The Advent Book and the Calendar Bag for the day.
Our Advent Calendar.
It isn't chocolate but it's pretty great!
 

Come back next week for a full post on Crazy Cass Advent including an advent calendar tutorial a full review of The Advent Book.

 

Holiday Card

I'm passionate about our Christmas cards. I love designing them. I love mailing them. I love getting them. Every year, I keep a Christmas card and they go onto the wall. I love looking back through the tale of our marriage and life in Christmas cards and can't wait to continue this tradition with the boys. I haven't mailed our 2014 cards quite yet, but after they are mailed I promise to share our card here with all of y'all. Until then, here is last year's card. This year we get to feature all three little Casses!

Front.
Back.

Christmas Train

I grew up with a train going around the tree making stops at Snow Village. Throughout our marriage, Casey and I collected a few Snow Village pieces and inherited a few from my mom, but never bought a train. Well, this year we have our first train for the boys to enjoy. It isn't as fancy as the Lionel I grew up with (which is now at my brothers house and I can't wait to take the boys to see it!) but our train is perfect for where our family is. We have a Geotrax Train visiting the Little People North Pole Village. Perfection.

An added bonus of our train and village? Having toys for the boys under the tree has (so far) meant that they have no interest in trying to pull the ornaments off the tree. Ornaments are boring compared to a choo choo they can play with. I only had to say "look instead of touch" or "touch with one finger" a few times the first day.

 

Ornaments

We (luckily) have three ornament collections going and plan to continue them so when our boys are bigger and ready to decorate their own trees they each have ornaments to start them off. We inherited the beginning of an ornament collection from Casey's parents and bought the rest of the Gorham Silver Snowflakes to fill in the missing years and now buy a new snowflake each year. We also collect Swarovski Crystal Snowflakes in both clear and gold crystal. If we ever decide to have a fourth child we will need to find another type of snowflake to add to the formal snowflake tree! This year, we didn't hang any of the crystal ornaments but we will continue buying them during these years with small hands.

A Gorham Silver Snowflake on our 2014 tree.

Baking

I love to bake, but right now with three kids under two I rarely get to. This year isn't my baking year. I hope in a few years to bake with my boys and see my kitchen covered in flour, sugar, icing, and sprinkles. I look forward to seeing their joy and teaching them how to bake (with some fun measurement math mixed in). I think it is important to recognize your limitations with traditions. While this is a tradition I love, in this season of life it isn't going to happen. And that's okay! Traditions don't all have to start during baby's first Christmas. When this starts happening again, I have to make Casey's very favorite Thumbprint Cookies and Depression Cookies using his mom's recipes. (Maybe adapted to be dairy free though.)

Santa Pictures

Last year, we took our first Santa picture. The story is pretty hilarious (and I promise to share it when I share our 2014 (still to be taken) Santa picture) and the picture is adorable. We have our Santa picture hanging on the wall this year and I look forward to adding new pictures every year!

Jammies

Every year on Christmas Eve, I got one gift to open. Every year it was Christmas jammies. This way my parents knew I would be wearing decent non-stained jammies for Christmas morning photos. This is a tradition that must continue! Last year the twins got adorable jammies for their first Christmas and I have no doubt we will buy jammies every year.

Dinosaurs in Christmas Hats. Perfect Jammies!

Christmas Eve

For Casey and I, determining our Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning traditions was the most difficult. On all of the other topics our feelings and traditions could blend. For Christmas Eve, that just didn't work.

I grew up attending the midnight service at church every Christmas Eve after a lazy family dinner at home. Casey's family did family gifts on Christmas Eve. In fact, once his brothers got married and had their own families his family did their Christmas get together on Christmas Eve. Because family is a priority, we spend Christmas Eve at Casey's parents' house. Pre-kids we could leave in time to make the midnight candlelight service at church but you can't go to a midnight service with babies.

This year, we are going to attend an afternoon family service before heading to see Nano and Papa. It's a balance of both Christmas Eve traditions and both Christmas priorities: Christ and family!

Christmas Morning

We don't know our Christmas morning traditions yet. We know that we want to be at home. We know we will do Santa. We know Santa leaves at least a few of the gifts unwrapped. Beyond that, we're still figuring it out. I would love to hear your Christmas morning traditions! Do you unwrap gifts one at a time? Do you all just tear into them? Do you do stockings first? Do you have a special Christmas breakfast?

Christ Focused

Above all, we strive to make Crazy Cass Christmas Christ focused. He is the reason. He is our purpose. He is above all else. In everything we do, especially during this season, we need Christ at the center.

 

 

This post is part of the #Countdown2XMas blogger series. For more posts in the series check here!

 

7 comments:

  1. What a fun post! We are not Christian but still celebrate Christmas in our own ways. It's been interesting trying to find a way to blend S' traditions and my traditions. We've kept his "big dinner" on Christmas Day tradition and my tradition of brunch after opening presents. I have wanted to include baking or making chocolates to our family tradition and I think this year we may just be able to do that! Since we got married we also have a tradition of making one new ornament each year. Last year we made V's handprints. This year I'm excited to have him make another one! The traditions are still evolving and I'm sure they will continue to do so depending on if/how our family grows. But it's a fun process! Thank you for sharing yours!

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  2. I love your idea of a year in review for Christmas cards! We just do the typical family pictures.

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  3. SO fun! Looks like memories in the making, for sure. The best moments in life! Stopping by from Countdown2Xmas.

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  4. Great post, well done! I've learnt some new things today.

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  5. I love all of your traditions! It'll be my son's second Christmas so we are trying to start some fun ones that he'll enjoy. I really like your train and Christmas village set. I'm sure my son would love that.

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  6. Can't wait to see the advent calendar tutorial. It is so cute! I love your Christmas card and my daughter would LOVE that train and little people set. So cute!

    Shambray
    http://www.shambray.com

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  7. Traditions are so important and I know my own kids enjoy telling their friends about the special things we do each Christmas. Your kiddos will have wonderful stories to tell their friends too!

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