6 Ways to Make Family Memories this Holiday Season

As magical and exciting as the holidays can be, they can be equally, if not more, stressful and anxiety-ridden, especially when you throw pregnancy or a new baby into the mix. As a parent of three young ones and having done the holidays while pregnant twice and with a newborn once, here are some things that I have found helpful in making the holidays more fun and less miserable.

Go for Simplicity

My first tip is that simplicity is the best route to go. The other day, I asked our children about their favorite things we do around the holidays, and they listed many other things before they ever listed gifts. 

Your holiday can have gifts, but there is no need to go all out. Sometimes, the best gifts are the memories we make together. When I think about simplicity, I also think about everything we “have” to do this holiday season. 

Here is the secret: if it is not a complete yes, you are allowed to bow out and say “no.” I am serious. Pick the things that mean the most to you and your family, and let the rest go. The things we do during the holidays should bring the whole family joy, not just the children.

Take a Break

If you are nursing, take advantage of the quiet time you can get. If it is nap time, find an empty room and snuggle your baby, maybe even take a nap with them. 

Are you super pregnant? Bow out a little early so that you don’t exhaust yourself. You have every excuse to slow down and take a break, so do it.

Nobody expects you to be at full capacity with a pregnant belly or a new baby in your arms. Enjoy your tiny and adorable excuse to take a break whenever necessary.

Take Care of Yourself

Seriously, do it. The highest rates of mastitis occur during the holiday season because parents are missing nursing sessions. Trust me, you do not want mastitis. 

Feed the baby when the baby needs to be fed. Pump when you need to pump. You must also keep up with your food and water intake. Food is a bit easier with all the delicious goodies, but don’t forget your water bottle wherever you go. Even if it is cold, your body needs adequate water to produce milk and keep you hydrated. 

Listen to your needs. As I said above, taking a break or bowing out early is perfectly okay. You are an essential piece of the holiday magic, too.

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Utilize Baby-Wearing

Baby wear all day! I am serious. Baby-wearing can be a lifesaver if you want to bake your favorite cookies or participate in some holiday crafts and activities. Hands-free, the perfect place for a baby to sleep, and it encourages neck control (the equivalent to tummy time), baby wearing might just be one of my favorite things I learned to do as a young parent.

If you need help, you can find tons of resources on how to use your baby carrier. There are also super simple carriers that only require a buckle.

Take Pictures and Videos

I know you said you would never be that parent, but please be that parent. Memories from my last holiday being pregnant or my child’s first holiday season are ones we all love looking back on. Not only do they bring smiles to my partner and my faces, but they also make our kids happy. A framed grandbaby picture can also make for the most straightforward yet most special grandparent gifts.

Let It Go

This holiday season, just let things be how they are going to be. While decorating our tree this year, the kids broke over five ornaments. I decided it would be better if we all laughed it off; they were reminded to be gentle, and we moved on. This way of approaching the situation led to beautiful memories for us. After all, the experience is more important than the ornament. 

If your toddler wants to make cookies and do it “all by myself” and then proceeds to spill flour everywhere, take a deep breath and remind them that accidents happen. Then, you two can finish baking and clean up the mess together. 

Maybe your baby is bawling during your idea of the perfect family photo. Snap it anyway! The worst photos make for some of the best memories.

Allowing things to unfold how they are meant to can lead to a less stressful holiday season. After all, doing anything with kids is bound to be a little bit of a mess at times.

So whether you fill your holiday season to the brim this year or take a more simplistic approach, make sure that whatever you and your family choose to do feels good for everyone. My best holiday memories with my kids took very little energy and money on my part and have now become traditions we all look forward to every year.

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