With the holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. When you finally start to panic and think “what do I get my baby for Christmas”? Well, what does a baby really want? There are websites full of thousands of options! How do you choose? What do they need? What’s the hottest trend? Let’s talk about baby’s and Christmas, shall we?
When my son had his first Christmas he was 10 months old. I scoured Black Friday sales for wooden toys and activity tables and the hottest sensory-stimulating trinkets. When Christmas morning finally came, he had absolutely no interest in any of it. He got the most excited over a piece of tissue paper and played with that for over an hour. I was so disappointed! I had failed as a parent and as “Santa” to make my child happy on Christmas. And then I had an epiphany…a Grinch who Stole Christmas type epiphany…
“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe, Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”, Maybe my 10-month old doesn’t need the hottest Fischer price doodads. What he needed was …. wait for it…. Me!
Since that first year, my husband and I have adopted a seriously minimalist attitude towards Christmas. And I want both my children to share in this. Christmas is about giving to others, especially those in need. Not about spending hoards of money on Amazon.
So in that spirit. Here are my top 5 gift ideas for your baby or child
- Give your baby hugs and plenty of them. Humans need physical contact to survive. Children even more so need to know and feel that they are loved and cherished.
- Read to them often and with gusto! Make all the silly voices, do all the ridiculous actions. You baby will eat it up! It’s never too early to start reading to your baby! They learn how speech works from the sound you make, they learn how to express themselves from the tone changes in your voice and they get a giggle out of the over-exaggerated gestures. And who doesn’t love a good baby giggle?
- Sing to your baby. Even if you think (on know) you’re a horrible singer, do it anyway. The song doesn’t matter; what matters is that you made the effort. The first song my husband sang to our son when he was 3 days old was O’ Canada. He was so sleep-deprived that was the best he could come up with and my son loved it!
- Make music with your baby. Bang on pots and pans, make rattles and shakers out of Tupperware and beans, rice or pasta, whatever you’ve got. Let them explore rhythm and sound and learn to move their bodies, practice their finger dexterity. Find some jingle bells and pull off your best rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Make it fun!
- Give them the gift of charity. Teach them early that not everyone is as fortunate as others. Donate a gift or money to a local charity in need. I suggest the Food Bank of Waterloo Region or the Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. Find an organization that speaks to you and your family. Teach your children early the true meaning of Christmas.
Hopefully, this list helps you to make your family’s celebrations a little merrier and a lot more fun.
Love and Happy Holidays
Maggie Hilton RN, BScN, is a Registered Nurse with 8 years of experience in Childbirth Nursing and 6 years of experience as a Childbirth Educator in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Maggie is a part time instructor at Conestoga College where she teaches maternity nursing courses to Nurses looking to further their careers in the maternal-child field. She is also Co-owner of Balancing from Birth to Baby, a Prenatal Education Company in Kitchener. She has a great passion for childbirth education, especially in regards to pain management during labour. Maggie is the mother of two young children, one of whom was born at home and one of whom was born in hospital.