Whether your little one is a few weeks old or a toddler, there are various ways you can make your first Christmas magical.
0 - 3 months
- Create homemade footprint cards using non toxic, washable paint or baby friendly ink. You could transform your little ones feet into 'Mistletoes' by using green paint/ink or you could create reindeers or penguins using brown or black paint respectively and adding a little more detail with additional paint and googly eyes
- Make a handprint bauble using a simple salt dough recipe - the dough will be homemade so you'll know exactly what's in it and if you glaze with a thin layer of glue after baking it should last for years to come
- Christmas photoshoot - whether you're comfortable taking photos yourself or book in with a professional, you could get some wonderfully festive images with your little one dressed up in a selection of Christmas outfits. Would you turn them into an elf or would they be the perfect present found under the tree?
3 - 6 months
- Your little one might be grasping toys and sitting so you could play some Christmas music and let them join in on the fun by shaking a baby friendly rattle
- Create a Christmas sensory basket with a selection of Christmas items that your baby can touch and feel to engage with new texture. You could include a Santa hat, pinecones, bells, garland and more, just remember to ensure you're supervising while your little one is discovering the items as they're likely to be trying to put everything in their mouths!
- Dependent on your baby's temperament and routine you might want to take them to meet Santa for the first time. As they'll still be sleeping a fair amount in the day it might be suitable to choose an experience outside of peak times which doesn't take too much time and where you can gradually introduce your little one to Father Christmas
6 - 9 Months
- There's a wide range of festive stories available so why not make a den for you and your little one and enjoy a Christmas classic like The Snowman or introduce them to a modern favourite like Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
- Wrap up warm and venture on a winter walk - a number of parks and cities up and down the country have light displays and events or maybe you've got streets near you where home owners adorn their houses in fairy lights and Christmas decorations
- Dependent upon where your baby is with their weaning journey you might choose to introduce flavours which you associate with the festive period - mashed potato and sprouts, turkey and cranberry and so forth
9 - 12 months
- If you've got a build up on ice in the freezer now could be the time to remove it and pop it in a tray for your little one to paint with some food colouring. Your little one might be interested in the temperature and texture of the ice so be sure to supervise and ensure their hands don't get too cold
- Your little one is likely to be interested in moving more at this stage but they might enjoy helping you decorate some biscuits with icing they can spoon on and sprinkles they can shake over the top. It's an activity that is sure to be messy but could be the start of an annual tradition
- Whether your little one is sitting, crawling or walking they're likely to enjoy some time at a Christmas market or fair - there'll be various scents, sounds and sights for them to see and experience, from the smell of hotdogs and waffles to the sounds of the fairground
12 months +
- Your little one is likely to be seeking more independence at this age so why not create some salt dough decorations and sit with them to decorate them with washable, child friendly paints. You could use them to decorate presents, give them as gifts or keep them for your tree
- Get the whole family involved in making fingerprint reindeer family cards where you each print your thumb in brown ink or paint and decorate with antlers, eyes and a nose. Over the years you'll see how the baby reindeers gradually get bigger and you'll also be able to document any new additions to the family in this way
- As your baby becomes a toddler you might consider more organised activities to take them to - from Christmas themed messy play events to performances and Santa experiences. Always consider the age guidelines given by event organisers and be prepared for queues with ways to entertain your little one as their patience may not be as predictable as you'd like!