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How to Make the Holiday Season Extra Special With Baby

I had an epiphany recently—and it’s completely changed my seasonal outlook and altogether attitude...

huggies diapers and wipes

Here it is: As a mom/blogger/human, I have been way too preoccupied with the idea of capturing the “perfect” parenting moments on camera... And it’s having negative effects on my family. Instead of stopping to enjoy the little things that actually create memories, I’m busy obsessing over having photographic evidence of our lives.

The reality hit me as we were decorating our Christmas tree a few weeks ago. I was so worked up about getting the best shot that a favorite holiday tradition suddenly became a chore—and not just for me. “Put that ornament down. Pick this one up. Pose here. Smile. No, smile normal…” My toddler picked up on the stressed-out vibe and instantly transformed into a ticking time bomb. And then, of course, his tantrum triggered Baby Sister’s meltdown; and, well, from there it was just one big cranky snowball effect… A happy memory turned sour—all in the name of an Instagram post.

And so I’ve made a few changes (early New Year’s resolutions, if you will!) to help me live in the moment with my children—especially during this hectic holiday season.

The ultimate goal is to feel less stress and more joy. I want to make the most of this fleeting time. My babies will only be babies once—so I’ve got to put down the iPhone and soak it all in. Here’s how I’m making this month extra special with and for my family.

I’m Keeping It Real
As a mom I’m always going to want lots of photographs of my children. But instead of focusing on making everything picture-perfect, I’m going to try to capture our actual reality—as messy and crazy and un-pretty as that may be. And if that means I’ll be makeup-free in every social-media post, so be it. If my toddler insists on wearing the same dirty, raggedy shirt in every photo—well, that’s just fine—at least he’ll be smiling. And if my infant is seen picking her nose in every last holiday shot—well, then I guess I’ll be compelled to remember history the way it actually happened. No more forcing a moment at the expense of our happiness.

penelope picking her nose
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I’m Keeping It Comfortable
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I’ve also mainly been dressing her in lots of cozy knits and cute Christmas pajamas this month. They might not be as fancy as a tutu and a matching headband, but her sweet smile is the only accessory I need.

I’m Keeping (Some of) Our Traditions Alive
I know I’m not the only mom who feels like they have to pack the month of December with all sorts of special trips and parties and plans and treats and traditions. We have to make gingerbread houses and bake cookies and watch movies and do crafts and see the lights and go shopping and wait in line to visit Santa—One. Million. Times. It’s all very exciting, but between school, work, and everything else, our lives have become way too over-scheduled. It’s taking the spontaneity and joy out of the season.

grant and pen snuggling

Case in point: I panicked on Nov. 30 because I realized I didn’t have an advent calendar… I woke up in a cold sweat the other night when I remembered that I forgot to move the Elf on the Shelf... I had to pay extra to rush the shipping on our annual holiday cards… There’s just too much to do and so much to keep track of.

And that’s why I’m editing out some of the nonessential activities and traditions. I want to “curate” my family’s holiday experience to make it less frenzied and more festive. The Elf on the Shelf has caused me way too much stress—next year, he’s gotta go! (My kids are young enough that they won’t care or even remember.) We’ve done most of our shopping online and we’re limiting the number of play dates and parties and plans we commit to this year. I’d rather use my time and energy doing the things we really want to do together… In short: More is not always more (whether you’re talking about holiday plans or family photographs!)

To sum it all up: I’m going to make this holiday extra special for Baby (and all my loved ones, for that matter) simply by being there and being present—which I’ve finally realized are two very different things.

This post is sponsored by Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers.

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