The joy of welcoming a baby only grows sweeter as you get to experience all the firsts, like celebrating baby’s first Christmas as a family. It’s a time to pass on some of your favorite traditions from Mom’s side and Dad’s side, and start some new ones as a family.
Our team at Add-A-Pearl values tradition and conversations about Christmas uncovered some wonderful family Christmas traditions we just couldn’t wait to share.
So here are a just a few -- 10 Christmas gift and tradition ideas for your growing family from some of our favorite idea-makers and retailers to help you make your new little one’s first holiday extra-special:
1. Give back
It’s so easy for Christmas to become all about getting stuff, when really we want to teach our children that it’s the season of giving. While a baby or newborn is too little to volunteer at a community Christmas meal or help at the local food bank, there are countless charities that need support. (Image courtesy Operation Warm.)
You could make a donation in your child’s name, like providing coats to children struck by disaster through Operation Warm or buy a goat, sheep, or cow for a needy child and his family overseas through World Vision -- the animal will provide sustenance for the family and future income, and you can make the purchase in your child’s honor. (Image courtesy World Vision.)
Just remember to record the charitable giving in your Baby Book so that your little one can see in later years all the good that he or she inspired during the holidays!
2. Count down the days with an Advent Calendar
Before you know it, waiting for Christmas will be an exciting time for your little one. The long-held tradition of Advent calendars is a charming way to help children understand how many more sleeps till Christmas. While there are cartoon character or pop star Advent calendars galore in the big stores, we love the Christmas story-focused charm of California’s Divine Chocolate’s Advent Calendar. (Image courtesy Divine Chocolate.)
Behind each window is a delectable, fair trade milk chocolate heart and a portion of the Christmas story, plus five percent of sales will help the women cocoa farmers in Ghana. Bonus: For baby’s first few Christmases, Mom and Dad get to enjoy the chocolate! (You can buy these online.)
3. Trim the tree with personalized ornaments
Start this year with a baby’s first Christmas ornament and each year you can add a new Christmas ornament to your child’s collection that represents something they accomplished during that year - these cute ornaments by Personal Creations.com have thousands of possibilities. It won’t be long before dance classes, school spelling bees, and sports will be highlights for your child! (Image courtesy PersonalCreations.com)
4. Jolly Old St. Nick
In many cultures around the world, good little children receive a visit from St. Nicholas on December 6th, who leaves treats in their shoes (or lumps of coal for naughty children!). You don’t have to be Dutch to love St. Nick - or Vander Veen’s The Dutch Store’s wonderful chocolate letters, coins, and other treats that make good gifts from St. Nick or in the Christmas stocking.
If your baby is going to leave out shoes for St. Nicholas to fill, we love these soft-soled baby shoes by Robeez. You could combine the St. Nick tradition with a Robeez one, and give your growing boy or girl a new pair of shoes each year! Robeez has sizes for kids up to 6-years-old. (Image courtesy Robeez.)
5. Hang the stockings
Some families will choose a special stocking just for baby’s first Christmas, while others will get one to treasure and use year after year. Whether you want to buy one personalized for your baby or a kit to create a stocking made with love, Merry Stockings of New Hampshire has an incredible stocking selection ranging from wool, velvet, or needlepoint stockings to Christmas character options or more modern stockings. (Image courtesy Merry Stockings.)
6. Christmas theme decorations
Is your family going to decorate for Christmas with traditional holly and ivy, beautiful nativity sets for little hands to help put in place, or Nutcrackers to stand sentry until the big day? Whatever your décor preferences may be, you’ll find lots of decorating inspiration at The Christmas Palace (all of which you can order online). Make decorating the house a holiday tradition with your family, complete with Chhristmas carols, hot apple cider, and lots of love and laughter. (Image courtesy "The Christmas Palace".)
7. Family gifts
The possibilities are endless! Some families draw names and some give to everyone while others give only handcrafted items. (Image courtesy Bellaluna Toys.)
Many of us love the idea of giving like the three gifts of the Wise Men; not gold, frankincense, and myrrh for children - but three gifts: something the children want (and what little one wouldn’t love a Bellaluna Waldorf doll or the amazing wooden toys by Melissa & Doug), something they need, and something to wear. (Image courtesy Melissa & Doug.)
However your family decides to give, we have to share this eco-friendly idea for gift wrapping that - bonus! - is quick and easy for tired new parents: Stylish, reusable cloth gift bags by VZ Wraps. They’re super cute, will last for years to come, and they’re made in the USA from organic cotton and mostly made from recyclable materials.
8. Christmas cards they'll cherish
We don’t often think of mailing Christmas greetings now in this age of email and virtual greetings. But since it’s baby’s first Christmas, here’s a wonderful way to commemorate the moment with an easy keepsake card that is also an ornament: Customized photo ornament holiday cards by Minted. Aren’t they gorgeous? Perfect for extended friends and family - and especially the grandparents! (Image courtesy Minted.com)
9. Open one special gift on Christmas Eve
Many families let their children open one gift on Christmas eve. Some of our Add-A-Pearl families makes that gift one that includes a special pair of Christmas “jammies” (we love Carter’s baby’s first holiday onesies and sleepers or these Pottery Barn Kids Elf on the Shelf pajamas for older siblings - or cozy sleepwear for the whole family by Hanna Andersson!) and a new storybook to read together as you wait for Santa and his reindeer. And as your family grows you might want to add in a classic Christmas movie and snacks! (Image courtesy Pottery Barn Kids.)
10. A gift that grows with your child
The Add-A-Pearl tradition is a wonderful heirloom gift that you can start when your little one is a baby. Over the years, as she grows, you add pearls to her necklace to commemorate all the wonderful milestones and special occasions.
We’ve heard from some mothers who wistfully long to start an Add-A-Pearl necklace, but have only been blessed with boys. If your baby is a boy and you have no nieces or goddaughters to start a necklace for, you could start a necklace for your son’s future bride. Buy pearls for all of his milestones, documenting each of them over the years. What a gift that would be for a future daughter-in-law!
Ready to continue the Add-A-Pearl tradition that has delighted little girls since 1854?