6 Ways to Make Baby’s First Christmas Last

Ah, the joys of Christmas! The twinkling lights, the perfectly placed stockings, Uncle Bob’s bad jokes, the mistletoe and magic. The holidays are a busy, yet simple time in our lives when we stop to reflect on those who matter most. When there is a new baby in the house, we are even more in touch with the true meaning of Christmas.

Here are 6 ideas to make the meaning and memories last a lifetime.

1. Say CHEESE! If ever there is a time to spend a few extra dollars on Photography and Christmas cards, it is now. Let’s agree on this subject: there is nothing cuter (and I mean nothing) than a baby in a stocking! A close second is baby in a Santa outfit, oh, but baby in Santa’s arms is adorable too, and baby under the mistletoe…you get the drift! Roll out the red Christmas carpet for your little one and announce to the world: It’s “Baby’s First Christmas!” I remember one (or two) doting grandmas who told me I would never forget my children’s first Christmases, and I must say, I have not…and I have the PICTURES to prove it.

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2. Trim the tree with Ultrasound Ornaments for years to come. An original Grandparent Gift Co. idea, our customers have enjoyed our ultrasound frames and keepsakes for over a decade. Hang the priceless snapshot of your holiday angel on the tree each year and always remember the moment when you saw baby for the very first time. Grandparent Gift Co. Ultrasound Ornaments come in a variety of shapes and sizes and make the perfect gift at the holidays or anytime of year.

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3. Deck the Halls! While baby can’t quite  make it to the naughty list with dirty diaper and late night cries, it is hard for Santa to know just what to give baby for Christmas. My son was just 3 months old on his first Christmas, so I took the opportunity to give him items he could cherish for many holidays to come. First of all, a stocking. I searched far and wide for the perfect stocking as I knew it would be hung by the chimney with care for decades to come.

In my pursuit for the perfect stocking, I found a Christmas quilt to match with somersaulting Santas and embroidered with his name, my son loves to dig in the holiday boxes each year until he can get his hands on his own special quilt. Now at age 11, he still enjoys snuggling up with it, a tradition that will certainly be passed on to his own family one day.

For his first Christmas, I also purchased a personalized “Cookies for Santa” plate and daily nativity wall calendar, both of which are still family favorites year after year. Before baby grows up and starts making long wish lists for Santa, take the opportunity to invest in items that will become part of your unique holiday family traditions.

Starting a holiday collection for baby or family, is also a wonderful First Christmas purchase. I buy a new Christmas book each year, and now have a collection we love to sit down and read each and every year. Two of my children have collections, one of snow globes and another of nutcrackers..something special like this would be perfect to start to commemorate their first Christmas.

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4. One of the best ways to preserve baby’s first Christmas is to stop the hands of time. While it is, of course, impossible to stop the clock, a handprint ornament from the Grandparent Gift Co. is a timeless edition to your holiday keepsakes.

The “Child’s First Christmas” ornament and “Grandchild’s First Christmas” ornament are Grandparent Gift Co. exclusives, each featuring 3.5×5 antique gold frame, gold stamp pad, green grosgrain ribbon, instructions, plus unforgettable keepsake poem written on the back. Parents, grandparents and your growing child alike will adore trimming the tree with this first Christmas handprint ornament year-after-year. My son loves to compare his hand-size each December as he hangs his first handprint on the tree. What an incredible reminder of how fast they grow!

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Other baby keepsakes can also be added to the tree as ornaments, such as a tiny baby shoe, crocheted bootie, engraved silver spoon or hospital bracelet tucked inside a glass ornament.

5. Fa! La! La! Fun! The first Christmas is your opportunity to begin building traditions you only wish your own parents could have thought of. In the age of digital media, the possibilities are endless as you create your own unique holiday story. Some unique fa-la-la FUN ideas are:

1) take a photo of your child every year in front of a wipe-off board or chalkboard that lists why he/she has been naughty or nice this year (the first few Christmases, mom or dad will need to write, but can you imagine how humorous these will become as time goes on!)

2) starting with baby’s first Christmas, (you know, when you spent a little extra money on photography and Christmas cards?…Just making sure you were paying attention at the beginning of the blog), start a coffee table book of yearly Christmas cards and professional family photos. It may look empty for the first year or two, but soon you will be amazed at just how many “Christmas cards you write”!

3) In an effort to take the handwork out of creating her own Christmas timeline, Grandparent Gift Co. founder, Teri Harrison, made it easy for all of us to celebrate the holidays through pictures! The Holiday Family Timeline creates a visual story of your family’s growth over the years and preserves the magic of the holiday season through pictures. It holds ten 4×6 horizontal photos and has a space on the back for inscribing your favorite memories. Save it for yourself, give it as a gift…or both!

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6. Lastly, may you find a place of peace this Christmas. While the demands of parenting and grand-parenting  can be exhausting, be sure to take time out of the hustle and bustle to just snuggle with your little bundle of joy, for isn’t that what the FIRST CHRISTMAS is all about?

Grandparent’s Guide to Handprinting Activities

A Grand-HAND in Time by Nikki Clemens A grandparent’s guide to fun and easy hand-printing activities  No matter how big or how small, no matter how youthful or how aged, hands are as unique as the people they belong to. Nothing is sweeter than seeing a newborn baby’s hands for the first time—ten fingers all perfectly formed and ready to take hold of life. Hands are an extension of human nature itself, whether it is a pair of little hands playing pat-a-cake, a high-five on the ball field, a mom waving to her child on the school bus or grandma’s hands planting flowers in the garden. We use our hands to work, play, communicate and express… handshakes, hugs, pats and high-fives!

Handprints are the perfect way to preserve a moment, celebrate a milestone or create a unique gift. A child’s handprint is the iconic image of both youth and joy, and a “stamp” in time that remains even as a child grows. In honor of the adoring ten fingers upon your hands, here are ten fun and easy handprint activities to share with your grandchild: 1. Holiday Hands You have undoubtedly seen or helped create the iconic Thanksgiving Day turkey hand, either drawn or painted with each finger serving as a brightly colored feather.

It’s time to think beyond the turkey! There are dozens of ideas for every holiday imaginable. A little paper and a little washable paint can lead to a lot of smiles! Here are a few ideas to last the whole year through!

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2. Handprint Placemat What better way to serve up your grandchild’s favorite food than on a personalized placemat? Take an oversized piece of construction paper and let your grandchild’s imagination run wild! Help him/her stamp the page with handprints, add photographs and hand-drawn pictures. Once the masterpiece is created, visit your local business supply store or copy center to have the placemat laminated for a keepsake that will last far longer than the food on your grandchild’s plate!

3. Keepsake Ornament to Celebrate the Newest Family Member

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  The Grandparent Gift Co. is proud to offer this keepsake Christmas ornament to celebrate baby’s first holiday season. Complete baby handprint ornament kit features 3.5×5 antique gold frame, gold stamp pad, green grosgrain ribbon, instructions, plus unforgettable keepsake poem written on the back.

4. Have a Hand in History Hand-printing projects aren’t just for the grandkids! Create a timeless treasure for your children and grandchildren to cherish. Purchase a canvas at a local craft store, dip your hands in some paint and create a masterpiece! Use special quotes, dates, and memories to personalize your one-of-a-kind canvas. Some ideas to accompany your hands (or your and grandpa’s hands side-by-side): “These hands will never let you go” “My hands may age with time, but my love for you lives on forever” “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” Lamentations 3:41 “We joined hands 40 years ago, and never let go” (grandpa and grandma) “Four hands, two hearts, one love”(grandpa and grandma) You can also use handprints of you and a grandchild (grandchildren) side-by-side: “Who takes the child by the hand takes the grandmother (nana, nonna, etc) by the heart!” “You may hold my hand for but a short while, but you will always hold my heart.” “You hold my heart in the palm of your hand.” “Best grandkids, hands down!”

5. Bake Thumbprint Cookies Although cookies may not last as long as artwork, thumbprint cookies are a great way to personalize your baking experience with your grandchild!

  RECIPE FOR THUMBPRINT COOKIES: Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, whites and yolks separated and reserved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups finely chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup jam

Preparation: Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar. Add egg yolks (reserving egg whites for later) and extract. Mix out 1 cup of flour and add salt to it. Gradually add to butter mixture. Add other cup of flour gradually. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight. Also make sure reserved egg whites are covered and refrigerated, too. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Very lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Set counter for the rolling process by setting out low-sided bowl with lightly beaten and reserved egg whites and another low-sided bowl for the nuts. Roll dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls. Then roll each ball into egg white and then nuts. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Press thumb into each cookie before baking. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Move to wire racks for cooling. Press centers again with thumb. When cookies are almost cool, fill centers with jam or icing.

6. A Gift for Grandpa!

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The Grandparent Gift Co. makes gift-giving easy!  This 5 x 7 double tabletop frame has a space for your grandchild’s handprint and the perfect photo with grandpa! Now available personalized! Whether Papa, Pops or Grandpa, he will smile and give his grandchild a high five every time he sees this unique gift.

7. Grandma’s Wall of Fame Single handprints displayed in frames in a family room or study can be a timeless tradition at grandma’s house! Pick a time each year, albeit your grandchild’s birthday, Christmas, first day of school, etc. and build a wall of handprints! Be sure they are dated so you can see how much your grandchildren have grown! If you have a basement or garage wall that needs some grandparent loving, let your grandchildren take over with handprints and messages to you.

  8. Create a Stepping Stone

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  Stepping stones are a great way to add love to your garden or patio. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a mosaic stepping stone like the one pictured above: Purchase mosaic tiles in desired colors from a craft store and purchase concrete mix like “Quikrete”, a just-add-water powdered mixture, from a hardware store. 1. Follow the concrete mixture directions and stir in a bucket until it has the consistency of cake batter. 2. Slowly pour the mixture into a platter bottom or pie tin. Shake the mold to remove all air bubbles and let the concrete sit for approximately one hour. 3. Help your grandchild press his/her hand into the cement mixture. Have a wet cloth nearby to remove excess cement. 4. Let your grandchild place the mosaic tiles in the desired position, pressing slightly to secure. 5. Once your grandchild is happy with the design, let the stone cure for a couple of days before removing the mold. 6. Enjoy your grandchild’s stepping stone for years to come.

9. A Family Tree

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  Invite the entire family to get involved in the hand-printing fun by creating a family tree! To create this timeless treasure, there are endless possibilities —construction paper cut-out hands, painted hands on canvas, quotes, dates, family names, birthdates…Make your family tree as genuine and unique as your family itself.

10.  Crafty Cut-Outs What a fun and unique way to show off hands, no matter how big or how small! Visit your local craft store and have your grandchild pick out his or her favorite pattern on paper or fabric. Next, trace and cut out hand shapes Put your fabric handprints on a blanket, quilt, apron, tree shirt or t-shirts.Put your paper cut outs in a frame, scrapbook or photo album for lasting keepsakes.