Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mommy's First Christmas?

One of my favorite photographs of my daughter was taken during her first Christmas. I realized many years later that the first Christmas for babies never really impresses the infant too highly, so I accepted the notion that it is really a time to celebrate parenthood.

Baby's first Christmas is a time to make memories. The photograph I mentioned is very fresh in my mind all these years later. She was 4 months old and wearing a striped sleeper. It was between 2 and 3 a.m. and she had just had her middle of the night bottle. The problem was always that she thought 2 a.m. was morning and she never wanted to go back to sleep after waking me in the wee hours like that.

That particular night (early morning rather!) I decided not to try putting her back to sleep because it rarely worked. I turned the Christmas tree lights on and put the baby on the floor under the tree for a picture. It turned out great! She is staring up at the lights and they are reflected in her eyes. It is my favorite "first Christmas" memory but the baby wasn't impressed and has no memories of that special early morning, of course.

Take some time during the first holiday season of your baby's life to build some memories and celebrate the new life and joy the little one has brought to you. Don't forget to buy or make a "baby's first Christmas" ornament for the tree and then make it a tradition to put it on the tree again each year to follow.

Take many pictures. This would include things such as the parents and siblings with baby near the tree; the baby with a wrapped package; or perhaps at a church service. Another photo opportunity is to get a picture taken with Santa Claus. I have a collection of that sort of picture from babyhood until my daughter would no longer allow such a thing (Santa is for LITTLE kids, Mom!) and it would make a great holiday decoration for a crafty person to put those Santa pictures into some kind of display or collage.

Don't forget to get plenty of pictures and videos of the baby with various family members at any holiday gatherings that you attend. These will become priceless treasures from the moment you capture those images.

Since the baby will be under 12 months old, this would be an excellent time to start a journal if you don't already have one. Whether it is your own journal or a gift you will someday be giving the child, writing about that first Christmas will secure the feelings and memories that the baby won't be able to recall. Write down the thoughts you have concerning this special event. How did siblings, cousins, or grandparents celebrate with the baby? What gifts were given, and by whom?

Also write down the various moods the baby had. Was there a certain calmness when carols were playing on the stereo, or was the whole excitement of the holiday season a bit overwhelming and caused crying? Did he seem to be entranced by tree lights or was she old enough to try a little bit of a soft sugar cookie? Write it all down and protect those wonderful memories!