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Tips and Tricks for Baby’s First Christmas

From outfits to ornaments and stockings to photoshoots, here’s how to do baby’s first Christmas right.

Over the first year of baby’s life, you’ll document a lot of major moments—but when it comes to making memories, there’s nothing quite like the holidays. And Christmas? Well, that tops the list.

But you don’t have to spend a lot on presents to make the holiday special. Baby’s too little to get giddy about gifts—he’s much more likely to be smitten with the cardboard box the item came in than the toy or treat itself. Instead, focus on the little things—like baby’s first Christmas ornament, first Christmas outfit and first Christmas stocking—to make sure your holiday happiness lives on—in your heart, and in your photos!

In this article:
Tips for baby’s first Christmas
Baby’s first Christmas ornament
Baby’s first Christmas outfit
Baby’s first Christmas stocking
Baby’s first Christmas photos
Baby’s first Christmas traditions

Tips for Baby’s First Christmas

Don’t dig into your holiday decorations just yet—the tree and the tinsel can wait. When it comes to baby’s first Christmas, you’ll want to get her stockings, ornaments, outfits and photos squared away first. Here’s how to get started.

Start early. If you want to DIY or personalize any holiday items—and let’s face it, you probably do—you need to allow time for that to happen. Same goes for a photoshoot for baby’s first Christmas card. If you're planning to have baby star in your official family holiday card, give yourself a couple of months' (at least) prep time. You'll need time to hire a photographer if you're doing something fancy. And if you're the photographer, you'll still need time for the cards to be processed (without having to spend an exorbitant expediting fee).

Stock up on spares. Make sure baby has an outfit or two that will work for that last-minute holiday party invite or family potluck—or if a spit-up explosion requires a quick costume change. A couple of extra holiday onesies or sleepers should do the trick.

Accessorize. Whether it’s Santa hats, reindeer antlers or elf boots, now’s the time to dress up baby. Trust us, by the time they grow into toddlers, they’ll be too squirmy for that stuff!

Take lots of casual photos. You’ll want to commemorate baby’s first Christmas in more ways than just the formal family portrait, and casual, candid pics are the perfect way to capture the holiday spirit.

Save the nostalgic stuff. Make a photo album and keepsake box to stash and store some of your favorite memories from baby’s first Christmas. You’ll be happy you did later—and so will your little one.

Baby’s First Christmas Ornament

The tree may not go up for a while, but it’s time to order (or make) baby’s first Christmas ornament now, so it has plenty of time to arrive before the holiday. You’ll of course want to consider what’ll make for the cutest ornament, but also keep in mind your budget, the materials used—it’s a keepsake, so you want it to be sturdy enough to hold up through years of holiday wear-and-tear—and whether you want it personalized. There are plenty of options available, but here are some sure bets:

Photo: Courtesy of Lenox

This classic rocking horse makes for a beautiful, gender-neutral keepsake as baby’s first Christmas ornament. Made of ivory china and dressed in holiday reds and greens, it can be personalized with a name up to 10 characters long, and the year.

Buy it: Lenox Rocking Horse Personalized Baby’s First Christmas Ornament, $40, Lenox.com

Photo: Courtesy of Tag You're It Jewelry/Etsy

This super-cute personalized onesie is sure to stand out from the rest of your Christmas decorations. Elegant and understated, it features a crisp, aluminum onesie cutout design with customized text featuring baby’s name, weight, birth date and time of birth, and hangs from a holiday-hued velvet ribbon.

Buy it Tag You’re It Personalized Baby’s First Christmas Ornament, $28, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy of Eighteen25

There’s nothing like looking back on those little handprints and footprints years later, when baby’s all grown up! Make those memories now with these adorable DIY handprint and footprint designs. Whether you transform the print into a reindeer, Santa or a snowman, baby’s first Christmas ornament will be a treasured keepsake for years to come.

DIY it: DIY Personalized Baby’s First Christmas Ornament, Eighteen25.com

Baby’s First Christmas Outfit

’Tis the season to dress baby up in the most adorable holiday outfits! Figuring out baby’s first Christmas outfit doesn’t have to be hard, but there are a few things to consider. Other than being impossibly cute, make sure it’s comfortable and easy to get on and off. After all, you want baby to look and feel good in her Christmas finery so you both can have a good time. A few other top tips to keep in mind:

Dress for success. Know what your holiday calendar looks like, and buy accordingly. Some shindigs may call for frills and lace (or tiny jackets and ties), while others may mean that a comfy holiday-hued romper or sleeper will do just fine.

Fit is key. Make sure the outfit you’re buying fits baby now—he’s growing fast, but this is a wear-once kind of deal, so there’s no need for him to “grow into it.”

Keep it Instagram-worthy. Wherever you are this season, someone will be snapping photos—so cuteness definitely counts!

Baby girl first Christmas outfit

Whether you’re looking for a frilly festive look for your little one or something more understated to match your style, there are plenty of infant holiday outfits to choose from. Here are three decidedly adorable baby girl first Christmas outfits for your holiday shopping pleasure.

Photo: Courtesy Monica + Andy

Baby will cozy up for her first Christmas in this soft and sweet baby romper. The adorable kimono style takes the stress out of getting baby dressed so everyone can enjoy the holiday festivities.

Buy it: Sweet Baby B Romper Fir Ever, $26, MonicaAndAndy.com

Photo: Courtesy Carter's

What’s not to love about this classic plaid Christmas outfit? It’s a party dress throwback that’ll remind you of your own Christmases past. The cozy plaid dress is a two-piece set and comes with a bodysuit and dress.

Buy it: Carter's Baby Girls' Bodysuit and Dress Set, $28, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy of Glosun

If you’re over the old-school red and green options, this bright, graphic update on the classic Christmas outfit is perfect for baby. It comes with a “my first Christmas” onesie paired with reindeer print pants and a poppy pink trim to make baby stand out from the rest of the elves.

Buy it: Glosun Reindeer Baby Girl First Christmas Outfit, $13, Amazon.com

Baby boy first Christmas outfit

These days, there are plenty of options for that perfect baby boy first Christmas outfit, whether you’re all about the miniature jacket and tie, or you’d rather let your little elf crawl around in his finest Christmas onesie. Here’s what tops our list of adorable baby boy first Christmas outfits:

Photo: Courtesy of Custom Styles Boutique/Etsy

This lumberjack-inspired Christmas outfit fits just right for your little man. It features a personalized onesie, red and black plaid pants and a matching cap, so baby will be more dashing than Dasher when he hits that Christmas party.

Buy it: Custom Styles Boutique Baby Boy First Christmas Outfit, $49, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy of Pudcoco

Forget Elf on the Shelf. These days, it’s all about Santa on baby pants. This “Santa Is My Homeboy” onesie and pants set is cozy, comfy and colorful—the perfect (budget-friendly!) go-to for a low-key holiday shindig.

Buy it: PudCoCo Santa Is My Homeboy Baby Boy First Christmas Outfit, $5, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Mud Pie

This collared one-piece is a classic baby boy first Christmas outfit for your little one. The sharp-looking onesie is also super-comfy, with cotton long sleeves and snap closures on the legs. The “tie” and faux chest pocket add the perfect finishing touches.

Buy it: 3 in 1 Collared One Piece by Mud Pie, $40, Babysakes.com

Baby’s first Christmas pajamas

Bedtime doesn’t have to put a stop to the holiday fun. With these rockin’ options for baby’s first Christmas pajamas, the good times are just getting started. Don’t forget to take some pictures before putting baby down to sleep—these party-worthy PJs are too cute not to commemorate.

Photo: Courtesy of Carter's

This striped unisex PJ set is a sweet option for baby’s first Christmas pajamas: It features a soft, 100-percent cotton onesie and easy-on pants, complete with a grinning reindeer on the bum to salute you as baby merrily crawls away.

Buy it: Carter’s Reindeer Striped Pajamas, $17, Carters.com

Photo: Courtesy of Dinky Dreamcloud/Etsy

Even if baby has been keeping you up all night, we’re betting she’ll still end up on Santa’s good list. Might as well put it in writing with this completely customized onesie, which promises baby a spot right up top on Santa’s list in bold, blocky text.

Buy it: Dinky Dreamcloud Personalized Santa’s List Onesie, $17, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy Paper Cape

For a storybook Christmas look, you’ll want to nab these classic red pajamas with white piping. They're made from 100 percent hand-harvested pima cotton, which is not only mind-blowingly soft but also extra-durable and won't pill over time.

Buy it: Red Pajama Footie, $49, PaperCape.com

Photo: Toraway

Even the littlest of elves will be comfy and cozy in this cotton reindeer-print sleep sack, available in pink or navy. It comes complete with a matching cap and mittens—exactly what you’d expect in a newborn baby’s first Christmas pajamas made for a long winter’s nap.

Buy it: Reindeer Print Sleep Sack, $7, Amazon.com

Baby’s First Christmas Stocking

Whether you open them on Christmas eve or the morning after, stocking stuffers are a fun Christmas tradition for the whole family. Make sure baby’s first Christmas stocking is ready to go so he can join in on the fun. Personalized, classic or DIY, there’s a stocking selection here for every kid!

Photo: Courtesy of L.L. Bean

These velvet classics from L.L. Bean are perfect for baby’s first Christmas stocking. Available in traditional red, holiday green and two different kinds of Christmas plaid, they can be customized with baby’s name—and thanks to their oversized measurements, they’re large enough to accommodate all of baby’s holiday goodies.

Buy it: L.L. Bean Velvet Christmas Stockings, $30, LLBean.com

Photo: Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Want to mix things up this year? These playful knit Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn are sure to add some color and cuteness to your mantle. Plus, they can be personalized so there’s no mistake which belongs to whom.

Buy it: Pottery Barn Knit Stockings, $35, PotteryBarn.com

Photo: Courtesy of Pretty Prudent

Feeling crafty? A homemade stocking, like this amazing patchwork baby onesie idea from Pretty Prudent, will add an unique touch to baby’s first Christmas. All you need are some extra onesies, a little fabric paint and some sewing skills. Not a pro with a sewing machine? No worries. There are plenty of cute DIY kits that make it super-easy, like this felt stocking kit from Etsy.

DIY it: Patchwork Baby Onesie Christmas Stocking, PrettyPrudent.com

Baby’s First Christmas Photos

Baby’s first Christmas photos will be treasured memories for years to come—and may even set a precedent for future holiday photo traditions. Whether you’re hiring a professional photographer for an in-house photoshoot or aiming more for a DIY affair, here are some ideas on how to make baby’s first Christmas photos stand out.

Photo: Courtesy of My Suzie Cute/Etsy

Matching family pajamas
Gather the whole gang for a festive photo around the tree—and make sure they’re all wearing matching Christmas pajamas! These striped red PJs look great on everyone—especially baby.

Photo: Courtesy of Z Create Design

Holiday photo props Photo props can make for a memorable Christmas photo and help establish a photo tradition for years to come. Shop for props and stash them with the rest of the Christmas goodies to make sure you can do it all again next year.

Buy it: Red & Green “Merry Christmas” Holiday Card Photo Prop, $48, ZCreateDesign.com

Cookie thief photo shoot
You may have left those cookies out for Santa, but they’ll be all gone by the time he shimmies down the chimney with your tiny cookie thief in the house! This precious pose for baby’s first Christmas photos can be pulled off in a bunch of different ways, but we especially like this one featuring a snuggly, sleepy thief.

Photo: iStock

Using twinkling holiday lights as a backdrop is a simple yet stunning way to shoot baby’s first Christmas photos. You can do this at the photo studio or set it up yourself for a more homey effect.

DIY it: Simple DIY tips from BabyRabies.com

Baby’s First Christmas Activities

You only get one chance to celebrate baby’s first Christmas—so why not add a little holiday magic? Here are a few ideas for baby’s first Christmas activities that’ll ensure your little one will have fond holiday-hued memories for years to come.

Photo: Courtesy of Paper Culture

Design a personalized ornament
What could be cuter than a portrait-ornament of baby’s sweet face hanging on your tree? Customize baby’s first Christmas keepsake by adding your own photo and text to a paper ornament. These festive decorations from PaperCulture come in a set of 12, with five holiday motifs to choose from, including a snowflake, snowman and Santa’s belly, so they can also double as holiday cards for close family and friends. The best part? Not only are the ornaments printed on recycled paper, the company plants a tree for every product purchased.
Buy it: Snowflake ornaments, $25, PaperCulture.com

Photo: Courtesy of Capstone Young Readers

Customize baby's Christmas story
Insert a photo (or your phone screen) into the back of Baby Face Christmas, a board book by Michael Dahl, and baby becomes the star of the story. Read the rhyming text together, flip through the pages and watch as baby magically turns into a snowman, elf, reindeer and even Santa.

Buy it: Baby Face Christmas, $8, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy of While He Was Napping/Etsy

Create a holiday countdown jar
Instead of the typical advent calendar, make an activity-based countdown jar. On 24 strips of red and green paper, write out special activities to do with baby, like reading a Christmas-themed book, shopping for Christmas pajamas or taking a walk in the snow. Then toss them all into a jar and pull one out to do each day. By Christmas Eve, you’ll have made an entire month’s worth of fun memories for baby’s first Christmas, rather than just one or two days. Need inspiration? Download this kit from Etsy, which comes with 30 pre-stamped strips as well as 16 blank ones for you to add your own ideas.

Buy it: Christmas Countdown Activity Jar, $10, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy of Personal Creations

Make a Christmas time capsule
Buy a keepsake box (we like this monogrammed one from PersonalCreations) in which you can place mementos from baby’s first Christmas (think: the holiday card you sent out, wrapping paper or bows from her first gift, photos from the day, the outfit she wore and the note left for Santa). Then mark the box with the year and store it somewhere safe until you’re ready to revisit those memories in a decade (if not sooner).

Buy it: Baby’s Precious Memories Box, $50, PersonalCreations.com

Photo: Courtesy of Amscan

Decorate baby’s nursery
Don’t just deck the halls—deck out baby’s nursery too! String up some white twinkle lights, add a tiny tree with sparkly ornaments or hang paper snowflakes from the ceiling. There are lots of festive, wintery items to pick from, like these swirly snowflakes. Just make sure any decor is safely out of baby’s reach.

Buy it: Amscan Snowflake Swirl Decorations, $5, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy The Grandparent Gift Co.

Preserve baby’s handprints
Want a creative way to remember how tiny baby was at his first Christmas? Turn his hands into an ornament with this cute handprint keepsake kit. It comes with everything you need to capture and display the prints and personalize the ornament. This would also make a special gift for Grandma and Grandpa, so you may want to stock up on an extra kit or two.
Buy it: Baby’s First Christmas Handprint Ornament, $15, MyBabyPie.com

Photo: Courtesy of Talk to Santa

Send a personal message from Santa
Introduce baby to the man in red with a personalized video message from the North Pole. Head to TalktoSanta.com to upload your details and within 48 hours, the elves will send baby a three- to five-minute long greeting from Santa, which you can download, share on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and save to re-watch for years to come.

Photo: Facebook

Set up a shared photo album
The holidays will go by in a flash, and you won’t want to miss any of those first-time memories—from baby gleefully playing with wrapping paper to reaching for Grandma’s gingerbread cookies. And thanks to Facebook's Scrapbook feature, you won’t have to. This social-sharing baby album lets you and your partner contribute photos and control the privacy settings to be more specific than the photos that you're tagged in.

Start a tradition

Traditions are what truly make the holidays memorable. Whether you return to something you did as a child or create something new, start off baby’s first Christmas with a tradition you’ll both love. Consider some (or all!) of these ideas from fellow Bumpies:

“We are doing a Christmas Eve box. Inside will be new pajamas, The Night Before Christmas book, cookie mix to make cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.” —Jane M.

“We would like to start a tradition of going downtown to see the tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. There is live music, shopping and, of course, Santa.” —Melanie C.

“We plan on going for a walk at midnight on Christmas Eve to look for Santa, and then staying in our pajamas all day on Christmas and spending time as a family.” —Emily O.

“We’re looking forward to continuing my parents’ tradition of hiding the big Santa gift somewhere other than under the tree. It was always the most fun trying to locate your big gift.” —Nicole L.

“We take an ugly sweater photo with our dogs every year and this year we plan to add the baby as well.” —Cheryl S.

“Every Christmas we buy a live potted Christmas tree. After Christmas is over, we plant the tree in our backyard along the privacy fence. We carve the kids’ initials and the year into the trunk of the tree.” —Audrey L.

Updated November 2018

PHOTO: Crystal Marie Sing