Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Too Young for Christmas?



There has been lots of talk swarming the blogosphere lately about new babies and their first Christmas. Should you buy them toys? They won't remember it, so why do it? Should you limit the number of gifts they receive? Should you get them a rattle and call it good?

A sweet girl named Bethany e-mailed me and asked for some advice on the subject since this is both Levi and her babies first Christmas. So this post is for her, and any of you other new Mom's who are fretting over your babies first Christmas, and what, (if anything) to buy for them.

Here are my thoughts.

Many a people have told me that Levi will be 6 months old on Christmas, that he won't remember the day, the presents, so basically, buy something small (like a rattle) and call it good. Hmmm. That's not gonna happen.

Here's why:

* Babies LOVE to play. They love toys. They love to stare at things. The excitement in their eyes when they see something new and fun simply can't be matched. Levi recognizes his toys and he knows when he gets something new. I can see it on his face. Just because they are a few months old, doesn't mean that they don't want things to stare at, knaw on, and explore with. The look on my face when I see something sparkly and fantastical (like diamonds), is the same kind of face we're talking about here, ladies.

* Think yourself back to the Christmas before last. What did you get? Do you remember? Probably not. I am 26 years old and I sure can't remember what I got every year for Christmas. So does that mean no one should think of me or buy me a special gift since I will likely forget about it in a few years? Why of course not, lovies. Whitney needs her presents! Same thing with babies. We don't buy people things so they will remember it forever. We do it for the moment. To see the look of appreciation and joy on their face. Babies have the same expressions, they just can't voice their excitement!

* Live in the moment. Again, it's not about remembering gifts. It's about right now. Having a magical Christmas for the young and the old. I want Levi to look back on his very first Christmas one day, and see the thought that Husby and I put into making it special for him. The gifts that we have chosen and purchased for him are ones that will take him a few years into his childhood - things he will enjoy now and later. Take time to think out your gifts and get them ones that will last.

* Do your children have toys? Yes. No matter how old they are, I'm sure they have a fair amount of toys. Did you buy these toys on a holiday? Probably not. You likely bought them because you thought your child would enjoy playing with it. So....why not stop buying toys for a few months leading up to Christmas and save them up the big day? Whether it be a teething ring or a Baby Einstein DVD, save it for Christmas so they have some things to open.

* Make affordable purchases when buying for your child. Don't go over the top on something that they can't enjoy right now, or with something that you can't afford. Buy a few books, some small hand toys, stuffed animals or blocks for them to have to open on that special day. Be wise and don't break the bank. If you can't afford something, rethink it and go a different route. The smallest of toys are the biggest joys in their little eyes. (I rhymed! I should have thrown "for little boys" in there somewhere.)

* One of the greatest reasons for buying your children gifts on Christmas, especially if they are new babies, is that IT'S YOUR FIRST YEAR PLAYING SANTA CLAUS!!! Seriously, does it get any more exciting than that?! When I was a child, I was in love with Santa. He was this mystical, jolly old man who knew exactly what I wanted every year. As a parent now, there is still something so magical about Santa. I like to believe he is real. (No seriously. He's real. Just ask Husby.) I can not wait to bring some of that magic and excitement to Levi and our future children.

With Levi, we set a budget for his first Christmas and found three gifts that fit inside that budget. So, from us, he will receive those three toys. I knew what "big" present (and by big, I simply mean the most expensive of the 3) I wanted him to have (which will be from "Santa"), so we purchased that first and found two cheaper, smaller toys for him. We set a budget with everyone else in our family, so squeezing little Levi in there was not a big deal.

Now, keep in mind these are my thoughts concerning Christmas and a baby. I've been asked, so I wanted to respond. If you think I'm a crazy, well, that's fine. I'm definitely not saying, "go hog wild and spend your life savings on your child". Be responsible with your budget, funds, and your purchases. But in the mean time, remember that it's your babies first Christmas...and a few toys won't hurt anyone.

If anything, watching those babies gaze at and play with their new toys will make everyone's Christmas a little more merry.

30 comments:

  1. I come from the school of "she's too little to remember so why bother" but this post really got me thinking. And I think you're right! Thanks, Whitney.

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  2. You're so smart, Whitney! And I totally agree. That's why hen I have my little bebe (2010), me and my hubby are definately going to make sure he/she has presents under the tree!! Yay I can't wait :)

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  3. I totally agree. For my firstborn's first Christmas we went all out. We don't spend a lot of money on our kids for toys througout the year so Christmas and birthdays is our chance to make up for it! Heck, my one and a half year old won't remember this Christmas, but she will have an abundance of gifts under the tree purely because I know she'll enjoy them!

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  4. We started our own holiday tradition when our son Joshua was born (he's now 13) and continued it with his sister! As believers in Christ we didn't want to take away the true meaning of the holiday by over emphasizing gifts/things so we decided on three gifts and a stocking. To symbolize the three wisemen came to see baby Jesus! The stocking, is my bonus, LOL! It has been a wonderful thing in our home. Blessings!
    Jennifer

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  5. I agree with you, and I think that it's all about budgeting for something and planning for it, and it'll work. And even if they don't remember it, it's fun, and they enjoy the toys when they get them! :)

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  6. Last year was my daughter's first Christmas. She was only 3 weeks old but we still bought her gifts! Not a ton, but enough. Our families and friends also bought her some gifts as well. I'm sure she will appreciate all the pictures when she is older and is glad we didn't neglect her just because she was too young. Great post!

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  7. I dont understand why people need to ask advice about this.

    It didnt matter to me that my son wouldnt remember his first xmas...*I* would! And when he is 30 and is looking through his photo albums he will see all of the photos of his first xmas and how much his parents made every holiday special for him and our family.

    Who wouldnt want xmas to be special for thier children regardless of their age?!

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  8. Great thoughts! I just wanted to share my cousin-in-law's flash of brilliance, though. When his son was a baby he enjoyed 1) tearing open presents and 2) pots and pans. So, that year, the majority of what he received was the contents of their pot cabinet, and he LOVED it. Tearing wrapping paper AND banging pots and pans. Great day.

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  9. couldn't agree more, gal! very well said.

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  10. I love gifts. Diamonds are my favorite :). Stop by and I'll have one for you. Gift, not diamond!

    Christmas is such a magical time of year, and my wish is that my children will remember the time we spent together, and the feelings they had picking out the perfect gift for someone else.

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  11. You're right on. I've had all sorts of fun being Santa since the Christmas my first was just 2 months old. :)

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  12. My baby is only 2 months old and has every baby toy under the sun as she is my third girl so we're not buying her even more "stuff". Christmas to us isn't about stuff and how much we can accumulate. It's about togetherness and family and ultimately about our Savior.

    So no, our baby isn't getting anything but a ton of love.

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  13. Well said! No matter the age, that little person is part of your family. Would you sit around and open gifts in front of someone without giving them a gift of their own? Certainly not! And I'm right there with you about the cost-effectiveness. At this age especially, you can really get some bang for your buck! I went all out for Beanie this year - just like I will every year. Cause I'm his momma. And its what momma's do. :)

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  14. The same could be said each year. My son is two and is just now beginning to really "get" the whole Christmas thing. Still he wouldn't notice if mom and dad (a.k.a. Santa) skimped on gifts, but we won't. For one I find pleasure in giving my child gifts (not a ridiculous amount just some good gifts), and two I think it's selfish when parents say "they don't know who's giving them the gifts - I'll let their grandparents do it". So yes, my little man will be receiving some great gifts for Christmas even if two weeks (or even two hours) later he doesn't have a clue where they came from.

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  15. so true! you just got me a lil more excited for this Christmas. My lil guy will be 4 1/2 months old and I can't imagine not letting him in on the experience. Most of my memories of Christmas' from childhood are only b/c i watched the video when i was older and in turn those videos were my memory…does that make sense? If you video your little ones that 'won't remember' they can watch it when they're older and see how excited their parents were for them!

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  16. i say enjoy enjoy enjoy!!! we bought for our first who was also 6 months his first christmas. its fun for us and i looked forward to it forever! I say have so much fun and spoil that baby :)

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  17. Well said!

    I will say that most of my experienced mommy friends have said that their kiddos were more interested in the wrapping paper and boxes though! :)

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  18. I have 12-year-old twin boys, Brady and Drew (as well as a 6 year old Daughter, Ella-Kate) and the motto in our house is "If you don't believe, you don't receive"....yes, even for our 12-year-olds! I am not fooling myself, I know that they are not "in the dark" about the Jolly Old Elf, but the magic of the holidays can be there for as long as you choose it to be, so we will always stick with our traditions of Santa always using different wrapping paper (because, you know, he's from the north pole!), cookies, milk and carrots for the reindeer. Good For You Whitney!!

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  19. I don't have any kids, but I totally agree with you. Babies need to be stimulated by things that are interesting to them. And what could be more interesting to a baby than toys for them to stare at, chew on, etc. wrapped up inside some bright shiny paper? I'm sure Levi will have a great first Christmas.

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  20. Love it. Hubby and I had this debate when our son was born. He was only3 1/2 months old at Christmas. I won and Jake had a nice simple first Christmas :P

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  21. Cub got a mattress pad and a rattle last year and he was just fine with that. He was two months old so his eyes didn't exactly "light up" :), but, for us, it's more about the experience of the day than the gifts, although the giving of a few gifts is symbolic and sweet! I really want to emphasize with Cub that Christmas isn't about gifts or Santa (we probably won't teach him about Santa--not to be downers, but he'll hear plenty about him from other people!), but about the birth of Christ, traditions, and family. I think some gifts are a good thing, but I want him to be just as thrilled with Christmas morning when the gifts are few than when the gifts are plenty. I think teaching our kiddos to be content with a little is really the greatest gift we can give them. They will learn to be content adults, you know? I like diamonds as much as the next girl, but I like admiring them from afar just as much as I like owning them. I want Cub to learn the same thing. In the end, stuff is still stuff ... but knowing God and loving our families is what matters. It might sound trite and I know people try to do both (materialism and contentment), but in the end, you tend to end up on one side or the other. I just hope we can teach Cub to hang out on the side of contentment!!

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  22. Oh, of course we are emphasizing Christ above all else on Christmas, just as was emphasized with me as a child. I knew who Santa was, but knew he was no match for God. That was embedded into my little brain. (And will be embedded in Levi's too). Levi will always know and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, just as my I did growing up. Gift giving is simply a part of the day - a part of the tradition. This post is just about that (because I was asked for advice) - do you give a baby presents? Levi is definitely not getting much from his me and D this year simply because of our budget, but he is getting things. Gift giving on Christmas is symbolic of Christs birth and the celebrtion, and honestly more satisfying than receiving. And of course we are teaching Levi to be content with what he has. That is why we aren't going crazy buying everything under the sun. Again, this is simply about will I or will I not buy him some presents. Gifts certainly do not encompass or define our Christmas, it is merely a part of the celebration.

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  23. I'm feeling kinda' guilty....always have. My daughter (who's almost 3 now) was due on December 9th, but didn't arrive until December 20th, we didn't get home from the hospital until December 23rd and we hadn't bought her a gift!!! For her FIRST CHRISTMAS. We were so busy getting everything ready for her that it totally slipped our minds, then by the time we got home from the hospital and thought about it, it was too late! My poor kid. Luckily I have a huge family that spoiled her. ;-)

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  24. Great post! I, like you, feel like Christmas is all about being in the moment. I can't wait for Cam's first Christmas. We aren't breaking the bank either, but we are definitely buying him some gifts. They will be the only gifts under our tree since we aren't buying each other anything!

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  25. Even though both grandsons may enjoy the wrapping paper as much as anything, I'm anxious to see their little faces light up when they open the presents at Grammy's! I can hardly wait!!!

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  26. I completely agree. :) Besides, even if they don't remember, there are photos!

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  27. I'm a fan of the one big gift from santa and a few smaller ones from parents. I think the idea of santa embodies the magic of Christmas, because there' definitely something magical in the story of Chris'ts birth. Plus, I totally saw santa fly past my window as a child, so I know he's out there :)

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  28. Newbie to your blog...great post! I have a 20 mo old boy and we are SO excited to start our traditions for Christmas with him. We did it last year too...even though everyone said that he wouldn't remember. But we did it anyway.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  29. great post Whitney!! And I completely agree!

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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