Holiday decorations with a tree and presents in front of a fireplaceHoliday decorations with a tree and presents in front of a fireplace

6 Tips for a Merry & Mellow First Christmas

For many of us, Christmas is the heart of the holiday season, and we look forward to all the things that make it merry and bright. Bring on the decorations, big family meals, holiday parties, Christmas cookies, and beautifully wrapped presents! Yet all those big expectations can also make Christmas pretty stressful — especially if it’s your little one’s first. 

We’re here to help with some tips! Starting with this little bit of wisdom: your child probably won’t remember their very first Christmas, so it’s really about you getting to spend it with them — and having as much stress-free fun as possible.  

A close up of a calendar featuring a bright red bow and a red box around the 24th date with copy reading "My folks here for Christmas"

1. Make a plan and share it with your family

If you have a partner, you’re probably already practiced at balancing time between families during the holidays. Adding a new baby makes it a little more complex because everyone will want to share this magical day with them. Having a plan can help.

Let your family know how you’d like to handle Christmas as early as possible (in fact, prior to Thanksgiving wouldn’t be a terrible idea!) so there are no surprises or hurt feelings. In the days before Christmas, be sure to talk through the timing of your celebration: sticking to your baby’s routines for eating and sleeping will make it less stressful for them and, ultimately, for everybunny celebrating.

A baby wearing a red shirt and a Santa hat is seated on the floor with a Christmas tree behind them

2. Start your own Christmas tradition 

For your first Christmas with this new little family member, why not start a new tradition? It can be something at home, like putting one new ornament on the tree for the baby. Bonus if it jingles or rattles: your kiddo will love the whole sensory experience of the tree and its sparkling lights.

There are also lots of fun field trips to take. Your baby won’t be able to fully participate just yet, but one day they will. You can take a walk down the street with the most lights and decorations, stroll the Christmas displays at the arboretum, or drop a little holiday joy in one of your local toy drive boxes.

Looking for something snuggly and low-key? We recommend matching pajamas, a Christmas movie, and a bowl of Bunny Grahams for the older kids and crew. (Leave some for Santa!)

A beautiful table setting with white and gold decorations

3. Keep Christmas dinner simple

We all have our favorite Christmas dishes — the ones we look forward to all year ‘round, the ones our family loves. Making all of them while caring for an infant could be challenging, so consider taking it easy this year.

  • Are there dishes that you can make ahead and freeze so there’s less to do on the day of?
  • Can you ask your friends and family to bring a few dishes? People really do love to help, especially if it gives them a chance to see that baby!
  • Can you take it easy this year? Maybe think about simplifying Christmas dinner to your favorite main dish and only a few sides. (For inspiration, check out our Loaded Baked Potato Mac & Cheese or Baked Bacon Mac & Cheese.)

Bonus tip: Store up your cooking energy and keep the meals in between those big Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners extra simple. Need some inspo? There are so many 30-minute meals that start with yummy Annie’s mac and cheese.

A person holding a gift wrapped in a red ribbon

4. Wrap up one special gift for your kiddo

Your baby won’t remember what you give them for Christmas, so there’s really no need to wrap up a bunch of presents. Pick one gift that you’ll enjoy giving them. This first holiday is a great time to give your little one something super useful, sweet and commemorative, or decorative, like a picture or mobile for the nursery.

It can be a little hard to keep your family from going overboard with the gifts, especially if this is your first child. Consider putting together a wish list of things you need and donating the things that you don’t need.

Christmas stockings hanging on a fireplace with green garland and string lights

5. Don’t skip the stocking

Even though your baby is too young for all the traditional sweets and stocking stuffers, you can give them goodies made just for them, like teething rings, soothies, board books, and bath toys.

Don’t forget to fill your own stocking, Santa! Annie’s snack packs make quality stocking stuffers.

A woman smiling holding a baby decorating a Christmas tree

6. Make time to just hang out

The whole holiday season is so exciting and busy, it can be really easy to plan up all your time and overdo it. Our best advice for tackling Christmas is to plan some down time. Take a day off from all the festivities and  just hang out with your sweet little one — watch the snow fall, take in the twinkly lights, and cozy up with some Christmas stories.