How to make baby’s first Christmas magical

Whether you have a newborn or they’re nearing their first year, there’s just something wonderful about experiencing Christmas with your baby for the first time. They might not remember the occasion, but you will… and if you follow our top tips, you won’t have to go overboard to make treasured memories.

Ladybird team
A photo of a young baby in a Santa hat being held up by their father
Image: Getty

1. Tailor your Christmas to suit your family

As we all know Christmas can be a busy time of the year, and unfortunately, that doesn’t always fit with baby’s needs. Late-night present wrapping and hearty mid-afternoon meals can play havoc with your baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule. Not to mention your own festive cheer! But celebrating your baby’s first Christmas offers the opportunity to shake things up. Try shifting Christmas dinner to accommodate baby’s nap. Or (get ready to breathe a sigh of relief) park the turkey entirely and enjoy a quick-fix lunch. Taking the pressure off will make Christmas day feel much easier. And that goes for the entire festive period: babies are unpredictable, so ease up on all the scheduling, go with their flow, and try out some new family traditions.

2. Create a Christmas storybook advent calendar

It’s never too early to start reading with your little one – they will enjoy listening to your voice, and what better time to introduce books than in the run-up to Christmas? Make it extra fun and (this can be done with minimal effort) create your own Christmas storybook advent calendar. All you need to do is collect 24 Christmas-themed books or stories – these can be ones you already have at home – and wrap them up. Give them a number from one to 24, or leave them unnumbered and pick one at random throughout advent. Then unwrap with your baby and enjoy a festive storytime surprise every night in December! 

3. Crank up the Christmas music

Babies love music – and best of all they can’t voice their opinions on your music taste just yet – so don’t shy away from belting out your favourite festive tunes. From Christmas carols at church to funny songs at baby rhyme time sessions to the old classics on your Christmas playlist. Your baby will enjoy hearing you sing – and who knows, you could be instrumental in shaping their future musical tastes…

4. Personalise your Christmas cards

The family Christmas card is a tradition often associated with the US, but if you’re going to be sending cards anyway, why not give them your own personal touch? Choose a photo you love or go the whole hog and organise a full festive family shoot, sending copies to your nearest and dearest. This is a nice way for family members living far away to receive an up-to-date photo they can keep. Plus, we’re sure your little one won’t be embarrassed at all when they look back at them in their teens…

Story inspiration

5. Mark those special moments with creative gifts

There are lots of Christmassy crafts you can try with your baby. You could attempt to cast their feet or hands in salt dough, use festive red or green paint to make foot or handprints, or – for something less messy – use a photo service to create a personalised Christmas tree ornament. These keepsakes are wonderful for capturing a moment in your baby’s life, giving you memories to treasure every Christmas. They also make wonderful gifts for other family members!

6. Give your baby some memorable gifts of their own

Babies don’t need huge amounts of stuff – especially as they’re not really going to understand what’s going on – so make this the year of small, personal presents. A coin from their birth year, a keepsake created from their first pair of shoes, a favourite book inscribed with a special message, a photo album that details their first year – gifts you’ll love giving, and things they will cherish in the future.

7. Write them a first Christmas letter

For another memorable (and economic) gift idea, invite family and close friends to join you in writing a special letter to your baby on the occasion of their first Christmas. Ask them to include information about themselves, as well as a message about their hopes for your baby’s future. Collect the letters together in a special book, and in years to come, you’ll have a priceless Christmas present to give your child.

8. Mix-and-match on Christmas Eve

Kick-start the family festivities by investing in some matching Christmas-inspired nightwear. You’ll easily be able to find themed pyjamas for every member of the family, and not only is it a good way to get into the spirit of things, but it’s also a lovely way to start documenting your Christmases as a family. Have fun choosing your matching outfits and perfecting the family selfie, because in years to come you’ll love looking back on your mix-and-match Christmas Eve photos.

9. Create a first Christmas photo album

Keep snapping photos throughout the Christmas period and set yourself the task of printing out your favourites in the New Year – in between nappy changes, of course. Looking back on those happy days will be a great way to alleviate the January blues, and you’ll enjoy putting together an album of photos – instead of just leaving them on your phone – to commemorate your baby’s first Christmas. You could even make it an annual tradition, and spend future Christmases looking back at memories from last year.

Ladybird Christmas gift guide

Find gift inspiration and ideas for children with our book selection for the holiday season.

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