I've now had not one but TWO holiday babies. One born in November and one in December. It's a busy season around here! Every time people hear that I have holiday babies, I see a look of equal parts excitement and trepidation flash across their face. “Wow, what a wonderful season for your family!” they exclaim. “But so much going on in one month. Are you…um…kind of losing it?”
No, not really. I mean the first time around it all hit HARD. Two years ago we had just moved into our new home and had a baby (in addition to our then-toddler) and adopted a puppy and the holidays were happening and I almost lost my dang mind. But this time around, I have a pretty good handle on how to manage holiday babies without letting other people's expectations dictate how my season goes.
How to Have a Happy Season with Holiday Babies
Just say no. At our house, Santa doesn't wrap any of the presents that he leaves out on Christmas morning. Because he's a busy dude. I've heard that this can cause a little debate between husbands and wives who may have grown up with different traditions, but around here Santa takes his marching orders from mom. And mom knows how to say no…to this and every other totally unnecessary time expenditure.
Be prepared. That is the outside of our house. It's looked that way since just after Thanksgiving. And I've been buying, wrapping, and quietly stashing away presents since August. I know that October through December tends to be a hectic time (especially with holiday babies on board) so I do my very best to brace myself.
Go with the flow. A lot of parents would freak out if their kid peed through his carefully-curated outfit and then shoved green frosting all over his face right before the beloved Santa pics. In our case, it made for one of my favorite Santa Claus shots EVER.
Get help. I pay a maid to come tidy up the house for us. And after I had each of my holiday babies, Oma and Opa bent over backwards to make food for us and do everything possible to smooth the transition back home. It takes a village. When it comes to Christmas cards, I pay the extra money to have TinyPrints or Shutterfly stamp and mail them to our friends and family directly so it's one less thing I have to do. And I'm definitely not above taking store-bought cookies to a holiday potluck. Whenever it's feasible to delegate something, go ahead and do it. You'll thank yourself later.
Gear up. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Baby gear is one of the best investments a new parent can make for the sake of their own mental health. Find a bouncer, a bassinet and a travel crib that your baby LOVES. The hands-free time is absolutely worth it. We're still working with Fisher-Price and Minion is obsessed with our Fisher-Price Comfort Curve Bouncer (he loves the soothing vibrations and the entertaining rattles he can stare at) and Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper (he loves the rocking and I love that I don't have to sit there pushing it nonstop). If we were traveling this season, I'd definitely be bringing the sleeper along with us to have a place to set him safely.
What are your tips for surviving holiday babies?