What grandparents need to know before their grandchild’s first holiday
Are you excited about the upcoming holidays with your new grandbaby? Have you already started (or finished!) your shopping? Have you booked your flights? Started worrying about how to keep the baby away from the tree?
There is nothing quite like watching a new person experiencing the magic and wonder of our holiday traditions. The table overflowing with food, the lit candles on the menorah, the bulging stockings hanging from the mantle: each scene is better with a baby in it. I once saw a family who made a sleeping newborn the centerpiece on their Thanksgiving table!
But as we all know, there’s a lot more to happy holiday gatherings than adding a baby to coo over. New grandparents have more to think about than what gifts to give. Lucky for you, we’ve got lots of tips and ideas for you!
One of the hardest parts of the holidays for many grandparents is the realization that they may not get to spend it with their grandbaby. It may just be a matter of distance or finances. It may be that the other grandparents get priority. It may be that parents want to celebrate with just their small new family. The key to avoiding disappointment is to talk to the parents early on (like right now!) and share your hopes, find out what their vision is, and see how you can compromise if necessary.
Alternating years, celebrating on a different date, or designating a different holiday as the time you spend together are all ways to keep the peace. Whatever you do, don’t make the parents feel as if they are disappointing you. The juggling they have to do to keep all the grandparents happy is hard enough without adding guilt to the mixture.
If you are lucky enough to spend a holiday with that precious new grandchild, keep in mind that holiday visits rarely unfold as imagined. That candlelit dinner with the family gathered around it may be accompanied by the screams of a colicky baby. Parents may be exhausted and snappy. YOU may be exhausted and snappy!
Also, whether they are a newborn or nearly a year old, your grandbaby is not likely to enjoy this holiday season as much as future ones. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the holiday special, however. For some fun ways to include your new grandbaby in your celebration, read this blog post about baby's first Christmas, and this one for baby's first Hanukkah. If you are looking for gift ideas, we’ve got our favorite gifts for babies here.
Before you buy anything, though, read this post about giving too many gifts. Too many grandparents ignore parent requests to scale back, not realizing that it’s about far more than too much stuff. There are some compelling reasons to limit your gift giving. I’ll be surprised if you can read this post and still want to overindulge!
No matter what your grandbaby’s age, however, you do need to think about holiday safety. From batteries that can be swallowed to crawling babies underfoot in the kitchen, there are extra hazards around holiday visits that we can prevent with a little preparation. Here’s a blog post from last year—I’ll be updating it soon, but you can read it now if you want to get a jump on holiday safety!
We’ll be sharing more holiday content in the months to come, including our Grandparent’s Guide to Happy Holidays, which goes on sale later this week. (Subscribers to our email list will get a special deal starting tomorrow, so if you’re not on the list, sign up now!)
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