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Expectations For Baby’s First Christmas

I had a vision in my mind of what my baby’s first Christmas would be like. She would be a few days away from her first birthday, so this would be her first experience with a big bundle of gifts all for her. I imagined the magic of the lit Christmas tree, the joy of the snow falling outside, and the joy in my daughter’s face as she experienced her first major holiday.

Can You Guess What Really Happened?

My daughter was excited by the first gift and spent most of her time playing with the wrapping paper and ribbons. My husband and I tried to dissuade her from the wrapping paper and compel her toward her next gift under the tree – after all, she had a huge pile of gifts from us and other family members- but she spent quite some time with that paper as my husband and I sat there impatiently until she was ready to rip open her next gift.

Gift number two resulted in a similar reaction from my daughter. She didn’t care so much about the toy but instead was happy with the wrapping paper. Her interest waned, however, and soon she wanted to toddle off and do something else. My husband and I weren’t ready to accept the end to the “magic,” however, so we brought out another gift from under the tree and prompted her to open it.

It was either the third or fourth gift when she melted down. She started pushing the gifts away and crying. My husband and I were amazed that any baby would not want to get a gaggle of gifts, and we were so intent on having the beautiful first Christmas with our baby that it never occurred to us that the whole process might be incredibly overwhelming for a baby who really doesn’t know what is going on. Sure, babies like getting new toys, but when you look at the bigger picture with the flashy Christmas lights, the wrapping paper all over the room, and two parents looming over the baby expectantly. It’s no wonder my baby melted down; this was unlike anything she had experienced before and we kept pushing her to experience it.

Some Advice for Baby’s First Christmas

If this is going to be your baby’s first Christmas, please allow me to give you a little bit of advice. Don’t expect too much from your baby. You may have a vision in your mind of Yuletide perfection, but you never really know if your baby is going to want to sleep instead of opening gifts, or want to play with wrapping paper while ignoring the gifts you painstakingly selected, or if your baby is going to get so overwhelmed that a meltdown is inevitable.

So while you’re probably envisioning a magical Christmas morning, do try to control your expectations for baby’s first Christmas. I suggest you keep an extra close eye on your baby for signs of being overwhelmed and be willing to back off the gifts and let your baby take a break. Don’t push your baby to celebrate when your baby doesn’t even really understand the concept of celebrating yet at all.

Merry Christmas!


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