How To Survive The Holidays With A Toddler

Life With Piper

Life With Piper - We all know that navigating pregnancy and parenting for the first time isn't easy. Join Emily as she shares tips, advice, laughs and reviews along her journey of raising her daughter, Piper. "Life with Piper" is all about her pregnancy, postpartum and parenting and all of the products and tips she loved (and didn't love) along the way.

The songs have begun on the radio, we started drinking out of red cups and malls are decked out in holiday cheer, the holiday season has arrived! It sounds cliché, but I genuinely love the holidays. I am the youngest of a large family, and Christmas always had special traditions and memories that I hold so close to my heart. I am excited to pass on and create new traditions of our own as the holidays begin. This year will be special because as Piper gets closer to 2, she understands a little more and gets excited about seeing decorations, lights, holiday characters and more. She still doesn’t “get it” per se, but she is excited and that’s enough for me!

Admittedly, I write this blog post as a rookie parent of a toddler and only have experiences of family and friends to draw upon. Don’t forget a few unattainable Pinterest goals to strive towards (hello intricate handprint crafts that are “so easy!”).

Shopping: This year, I am so thankful that I don’t have to worry about lining up at 6 in the morning at a toy store only to purchase a toy that is over priced and not worth the hype (remember Tickle Me Elmo?). Having an almost-two-year-old, she will be pleased as punch that Christmas is a holiday- period. She doesn’t have an intricate list of must-haves, and will likely be happy with one new puzzle. If you have other kids or a large family to shop for my advice is shop early and shop local. There are so many exclusive shopping nights, holiday bazaars, and mom-to-mom sales that take place well in advance and are a great way to check some items off your list. Take advantage of these events before stores become crowded with last minute shoppers. Did you know that Cheeky Monkey will even wrap your presents for you?

Santa Pictures: Ahh, pictures with Santa. Always a fun event isn’t it? So much planning goes into the perfect outfit, perfect matching accessories, perfect holiday shoes and more only to have your toddler wipe their sticky fingers all over said outfit, pull out the hair clip (taking a chunk of hair with it), and have their nose dripping like a faucet. Now take said toddler and sit them on a strange man’s lap and expect them to smile like the little cherub they are. NOPE. Not going to happen. If you can manage your toddler to even look at Santa without tears, you are winning. My rookie advice? Embrace the crying Santa pictures! They make for amazing memories to look back on as the years go by. Like a badge of honour; every parent has that one crying Santa picture. A tip I learned was to back the kids into Santa, sit them in his lap without them realizing, wave and jingle their favourite toy in hope for a smile before realizing where they are sitting. Depending on your child, this could work like a charm. This year, we are priming Piper with lots of talk about Santa, talking in his deep voice, showing pictures of him and more in hopes that could ease any nerves when she sees him. Fingers crossed.

Family Gatherings: It’s coming; the large brunch, dinner or family event that will have Aunt Betty pinching your toddler's cheeks and telling them how big they have grown. This is what makes the holidays so special and with a new toddler in tow, it could make for some (ah-hem) interesting interactions. Cue your toddler staring awkwardly at a relative, telling them about an irrelevant fact while you uncomfortably translate their little language. This year, my plan is to bring crayons and a colouring book in hopes that my little cherub will sit quietly and colour while adults catch up. (I can hear the parents of multiple children cackling as they read this, dreaming big here!)

Travelling: Our extended family lives away from London, so air travel is nothing new for us, but as Piper gets older, a new challenge to traveling seems to arise each trip.  My must haves for any kind of travel include lots of snacks, extra change of clothes, a book or two (small, light ones), stickers and colouring activities. Depending on the length of flight or car trip you have, as well as your comfort level, you could bring along a tablet or smart phone if moods get a little hairy. Flight delays, road closures, lost luggage can all still happen and with a toddler you want to feel prepared for these things.

Christmas Tree: Last year, Piper had just started walking and was not very concerned with the tree being up in our living room. This year, it could be a whole new “redecorating” event every day.  My plan this year is to decorate the top 75% of my tree with a decorative touch, leaving the bottom 25% for her to decorate as she wishes.  There is no sense of me blocking her from decorating it, as I know it will just happen. Some families have a “fancy” tree and a “kids” tree, which could also work depending on the space available in your home. Other ideas I have seen have been to cut out a large tree made of felt, hang it on the wall, and decorate with felt ornaments. Leave the tree at the child’s height and let them do the decorating!

Happy Holidays to all and I hope that whatever event you have in the coming weeks go smoothly and you can remember them for many years to come. And please keep your fingers crossed for me this holiday season, the rookie parent, trying to figure it all out, too!

- Emily, Life With Piper

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