Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and when you’ve got a babe in arms, it’s that much better. There’s nothing quite like snuggling a new baby during the holidays—or exploring Christmas magic with a newly mobile one. When baby is young, it’s the perfect time to start new family traditions. Here are some fun, festive ideas to make this season with your little one as merry and bright as can be.

1. Show off your family Christmas jammies.
Fact: It’s not Christmas until the whole family has donned matching Christmas jammies and snapped some silly photos for posterity (or to post on Insta). If you’ve never taken a ride on the matching jammies bandwagon, now that you have a baby, this is your moment. Dressing your wee one up in a Christmas-themed onesie is fun, but doing it with your husband and older kids will be even better.We love the cozy pajama options from Burt’s Bees, available in sizes from baby to big kid to adult.

photo: Tom Palmer

2. Decorate a gingerbread house.
To minimize the mess and maximize the fun, keep decorating simple with white frosting and tiny sprinkles. Assemble the house first; then let baby explore the textures (and taste!) of the frosting and develop fine motor skills by adding candy creations.

3. Turn on a favorite flick.
Make it a family tradition to cozy up for the same Christmas movies every year. Childhood favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman are sure to be a hit, but don’t hesitate to turn on the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas. There’s no such thing as “too young” when it comes to Christmas movies.

Another Christmas day comes to an end.

photo: Jamie McCaffrey via Flickr

4. Open an advent calendar.
There’s nothing that builds the anticipation of Christmas Day quite as much as an advent calendar. Bring baby in on the fun of a holiday countdown with a chocolate-free, baby-friendly version. One to try: This pop-up style calendar by Eric Carle that allows baby to add a new decoration to the display each day.

5. Take a Christmas lights tour.
Whether you stroll through a particularly festive neighborhood, cruise down a drive-through display, or visit a holiday-themed event at a local botanical garden, your child will love watching the twinkling lights and you’ll love watching the wonder in baby’s eyes as they take in all the sparkly magic for the first time.

photo: Morgan via Flickr

6. Start an ornament collection.
Commemorate your little one’s first Christmas—and start a special holiday tradition—by gifting baby a keepsake ornament each year. For this first year, choose an ornament that is personalized with baby’s name and birthdate. In the following years, choose an ornament that reflects your little one’s stage of development or interest for that year to make the memories even more special as you look back over the collection from year to year. And, when baby is all grown up and ready to start a Christmas of their own (we know; they’re never going to leave you, but just in case…), you can send them off with a collection of ornaments that will bring back fond childhood memories. 

7. Turn up the holiday tunes.
It’s no secret that babies love music or that Christmas music > any other kind of music. Creating a music playlist of holiday tunes will keep baby happy all season long…through those long treks to Grandma’s house or navigating the mall parking lot.

photo: Christy Lynne Photography

8. Read Christmas stories.
Story time with baby is a highlight all year long, but it’s even more memorable around the holidays. Cozying up on the couch with your child and a special Christmas-themed story is the stuff that traditions are made of. Keep a collection of books—old classics and new favorites—within reach for guaranteed precious moments.

9. Attend a community Christmas event.
Coming together with the people in your community, from oldest to youngest, to share good cheer is one of the best parts of the season. Whether you prefer a town tree-lighting, a Christmas Eve service or an open-house event with a shared meal and planned activities, baby will love taking in all the friendly faces, colorful decor and Christmas tunes.

photo: Jill111 via Pixabay

10. Design a holiday card.
Christmas just isn’t complete without sending out a family Christmas card. Before baby arrived, you could get away with a set of boxed cards. But with baby on the scene, it’s time for a personalized photo card. Dress baby up in a Santa hat or their holiday best, snap a few photos (or, go all out and make it an annual family photo shoot with a pro), then share the beautiful results with friends and family. Find more holiday card inspo here: 9 Adorable (& Hilarious) Ideas for Baby’s Holiday Card

photo: David Fulmer via Flickr

11. Take a trip to see Santa.
This tradition has got an expiration date—maybe ten years if baby turns out to have an active imagination (or good sense of humor). So don’t let the holidays pass you by without planning baby’s first visit with the big guy himself. Even if your child goes into total meltdown mode, the first meeting with St. Nick is guaranteed to be an iconic moment. (Just google “Santa’s lap photos” for evidence.)

featured photo: adibalea via Pixabay 

—Suzanna Palmer

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