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As a new parent, each and every day holds an exciting (albeit usually exhausting) experience. From the first time your baby clasps onto your finger, to their very first Christmas, each day adds to the wonder of being a mom or dad. With all the ups and downs of being a new parent, how can you plan a holiday season that is memorable, yet runs as smoothly as possible?

Here are some tips from real moms who have been where you are now.

Planning Your First Holiday As A Parent
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1. Intimate vs traditional

As a new parent, you may feel pressure to go to several Christmas get togethers with family and show off the new baby. For some people this is no big deal but for many it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if the celebrations are all day long or involve travel.

It’s well within your rights to want to spend your first holidays as a new family alone. Many new families make this decision, but is it the right one for you and your family? If you plan to go this route, be prepared to explain to the grandparents why you’re choosing to exclude them from your holiday plans this year.

Also keep in mind that this holiday is special for others in your family, too. It’s not just about you and your feelings. If you’re planning to spend a holiday alone with your new family, consider spending a few days before the actual holiday with both sets of grandparents to satisfy their wishes. And remember, life is never guaranteed. Everyone may be here for Christmas this year, but you never know if any of us are guaranteed to be here next year. May sound harsh – but it’s true. If you don’t go to Christmas this year and a loved one passes away next year, will you harbor that guilt for the rest of your life? Something to consider.

2. Religious differences

Even if you’re already married, cultural and religious differences can often come into play for the very first time when the baby’s first holiday is near. If you and your spouse are clearly on the same page, this is much easier. However, if you believe differently, have a sit-down conversation about what compromises you’re both willing to make.

If you’re aware that your family and spouse’s family have differences in cultural and religious beliefs, consider incorporating both traditions into the holiday as much as you can and maybe even make some new traditions along the way.

3. Banish guilt

You are now a parent. And, as a parent, you make the decisions as to what is considered best for your child. That means once you make a decision, relinquish any guilt from that decision.

Maybe you decided to cut down on the amount of time you spend at your Christmas gatherings, or maybe you’re doing something different altogether or spending the holidays alone with just your little family. Maybe you’ve opted into gift cards for everyone instead of presents. Or you’ve decided instead of spending time cooking something you’re just going to bring rolls or pre-cut veggies to the family gathering. And all of this is totally up to you. Do what feels right to you for your new family.

If people are truly upset that you are marching to your own drum, it may just be something they need to deal with and not you. As long as you’re being respectful and not intentionally hurting anyone with your actions you’re totally fine and we encourage you to continue to keep your focus on the bigger picture.

Remember that every member of your family that has children has dealt with family guilt when they attempt to start their own holiday traditions. Ask others for advice. You’ll ease your guilt and gain support at the same time.

4. Relieve the stress

Your new baby is too young to care whether you hung the garland correctly, burned the ham, or forgot the Christmas lights. Stop stressing over the small details and just enjoy your first holiday as a parent.

Many new parents feel as if they must do everything themselves in order to appear put together. But you’ll enjoy your holiday more if you ask for help!

Chances are that your parents needed the help of their parents in your early childhood. And they may just be waiting for you to ask them for help so they can blissfully step in.

5. Keep Up Your Positivity

This is a new era in your life. Becoming a mom isn’t just biological it’s also psychological. You’re now the matriarch of your little family and while it can be fun and exhilarating, it can also be exhausting and emotional.

To keep your positivity in check you may want to consider plugging into God every day. Are you struggling as a new mom just to even find quiet time for God? You’re not alone mama! We invite you to read our article Finding Time for God While Raising Your Babies.

You may also want to consider reading these 42 Positive Affirmations for Mom and even print them out and keep them near you.

Clearly, your first holiday season as a parent is important.

But if it’s laden with stress, it’s also important to take a step back, analyze the situation, and tame the source of your stress. This is a time for joy, love, and family. And, most importantly, it’s a time for snuggling with your little peanut!

Enjoy this holiday season as a new parent. After all, you only get to experience this once in a lifetime.

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