by Leah Eagle
The holiday season is here and Thanksgiving will be here before you know. (It's November 24!)
If this is your baby's first Thanksgiving, you have lots to be thankful for this year. Thanksgiving is also an opportunity for your family to make new holiday memories.
Whether you have a newborn or an almost one-year-old, there are lots of ways to make the most out of your holiday. From crafting, taking photos, yummy food and a post-lunch nap, make sure to slow down and enjoy the day.
If you can, plan to spend Thanksgiving morning at home. Enjoy breakfast and relax while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (starts at 9 a.m. ET) before heading out to visit family or before family arrives at your house.
Don’t stress about things being perfect. We know things don’t always go as planned. Your baby may be fussy, you may have not gotten any sleep the night before, family members may critique your parenting. Just try to relax and enjoy the day.
Here’s are 10 ways to celebrate your baby’s first Thanksgiving:
1. Take a family photo
This is a special day for your family, so you're going to want to capture the memories. Snap a family selfie or have a family member take a photo for you so you can remember the day for years to come. (You could also use it as your Christmas card picture!) The mild weather, fall leaves and seasonal baby clothes make for great pictures. Your little one will certainly be too young to remember, so it will give them something to look back on when they get older. Make it a tradition each year so you can see how your baby (and family) changes and grows.
2. Record video of your baby
Take a few minutes to capture a video of your baby on Thanksgiving. With smartphones, it’s no effort at all to press the record button and capture some memories of your baby’s reactions during the day, having their first bites of big food or napping with their grandparents. You can also put together a photo collage or video reel to share on social media.
3. Make a special holiday craft
This can be done on Thanksgiving Day or even before. Whether you have a tiny baby or an almost one-year-old, there are several easy and cute crafts you can make and save for years to come. Pumpkin thumbprints are quick and easy- just put a small amount of orange paint on your baby’s finger and stamp it onto paper. Give it a stem and you’ve got a small keepsake. Other ideas are handprint or footprint turkeys, which are always adorable. Any Thanksgiving craft you make will be fun, but using their little hands and feet will help you remember how tiny they once were. Older siblings can join in on this too!
4. Bring the family together
Thanksgiving is all about togetherness, so your baby may be meeting some of their relatives for the first time, or your family may be traveling to visit family. If you can’t visit in person, FaceTime or Skype so you can still see each other on the special day. If you are traveling with your baby, make sure you take all the essentials your baby will need. Diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, burp cloths, bibs, extra clothes, pajamas, and blankets.
5. Choose a special outfit
There are so many options for cute Thanksgiving outfits if you want to dress your baby in something holiday-themed. Whether it’s something fancy, or just a onesie, you’re sure to find something you love. You can also get a cute first Thanksgiving bib for them to wear while they enjoy their meal. After taking pictures or having lunch, you can change your baby into some Thanksgiving pajamas for their afternoon nap.
6. Let your baby try some new foods
If your baby is ready, Thanksgiving is a great time to introduce some new tastes and textures. Be sure to have someone snap photos of your baby taking their first bites of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. If you have not yet introduced table foods, Thanksgiving lunch or dinner with your baby will still feel special– just snap some photos of them seated at the table in their high chair or your arms, or make them their own place setting to enjoy their food.
7. Share a special book
There are loads of adorable Thanksgiving picture books out there, some just for babies. Amazon has tons of options, and you could also check your local bookstore. From Baby’s First Thanksgiving, You’re my Little Pumpkin Pie to one of my kids favorites: Llama Llama Gives Thanks, find one that you and your baby will enjoy reading together.
8. Establish a new tradition
Thanksgiving is all about being grateful and giving thanks. Traditions all begin somewhere, and this is an opportunity to create one that your family will do year after year. While you may be practicing some traditions you’ve done for years, this will be your baby’s first time seeing it all and it’s a great time to start some new traditions of your own. You could take a post-meal walk together or go to a park. As your kids get older, have them say or write down one thing they’re grateful for and put it in a special place. You can also incorporate them into traditions your family has had for years. Donating to a charity in your child's name is also a tradition you can start that can grow with your child.
9. Make time for a nap.
A Thanksgiving Day nap is a great way to relax after all of the excitement and eating a big meal. Your baby will definitely still need their nap, so your or a loved one could join them for an afternoon siesta. Try to stick to your baby’s regular sleep routines when visiting with family members so they can stay close to their regular schedule.
10. Relax and enjoy the day!
No matter how you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, take some time to soak in every moment of your baby’s first Thanksgiving. These memories will last forever!