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Arlo’s First Christmas: Our New Family Traditions


Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

There’s nothing that I was more excited about than Christmas when I became a parent. It doesn’t even come close to birthdays or even Halloween for me. For years and years I’ve been observing and jotting down traditions and holiday ideas that I couldn’t wait to start once our family grew and I still am in total shock that that moment is here! I’m not gonna lie, I was so excited knowing that since Arlo was born in March, he’d be old enough to be on the move and interactive for his very first Christmas!!!

Today, I’m partnering with Pampers to share a bit about some of the traditions we’re starting and continuing this year, and what they all mean to me. (I’m literally squealing writing this. Ohmygosh!) Arlo is now *real* crawling. YES!! He finally made the jump from scooting to crawling last week! I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to hit that milestone. As a result, we’ve been trying out  Pampers Cruisers which you can see his cute little butt cruising around in here! They’re designed to be more flexible and comfortable for active, crawling babes and to prevent leaks as a result! With all the Christmas decorations out he is definitely making some major moves to investigate all of it so I can say that Arlo has given them a thorough test-drive and can attest to their effectiveness! He’s been especially curious about his very own tree!!!! Ok, speaking of… let’s talk about these traditions.

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family TraditionsBaby's First Christmas - Our New Family TraditionsBaby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

1. His Own Ornament Collection: This one’s inspired by my best friend, Lauren. Every year her parents gave her a new ornament so by the time she had a home of her own, she had a whole collection of ornaments to decorate with. How amazing is that!?! Jeff and I kind of started from scratch with ours, aside from some family ornaments we stole from our parents, but I just love the idea of Arlo getting his first adult tree and being ready with a box full of ornaments he’s collected since his very first Christmas.

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

Where are your pants, Arlo!?

2. His Very Own Tree: Samantha actually inspired this idea. She told me that her and her brother each had their very own mini tree in their room that they decorated each year and I LOVED that. Since we hope to have several children, I love the idea of having a special tree just for each child. I think it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time with just that child, decorating it together, and also a perfect time for them to express their creativity! Of course, I helped dictate Arlo’s tree this year (haha!) but I hope to give him a budget each year to spend on some decorations of his choice, if he’d like. Then, I plan to have him take last year’s  decorations and decorate another tree to donate to a local shelter. So far, he’s loved crawling up to it and exploring all the ornaments.

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

3. Matching Family PJs: GAH! I was always jealous of the families that did matching PJs. I told Jeff that when he married me he was committing to this tradition. Haha! I can’t wait to open a new set of family PJs every Christmas eve and then staying in them all day long on Christmas day.

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

4. Wrapping Our Cabinets: Since Arlo’s become more mobile, he’s become fascinated with cabinets. Opening and shutting them, crawling as fast as possible towards them when we open one to see what’s inside. So I thought this would be the perfect time to bring back a tradition from my childhood! Every Christmas, my mom would wrap up the cabinets with the same ribbon and little ornaments and it just looked so festive. The first time she did it, apparently my brother said “But, how are we going to use the cabinets!?” Ha! He thought they were tied shut!! While our cabinets aren’t a color I’d ever pick right now (LOL), I’m embracing it and still going for it because it’s one of my favorite traditions!

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

5. A Growing Christmas Village: You all saw the colorful Christmas village we created this year and I’m excited to continue adding a new house or two each year. Once Arlo is old enough, I’d love to get him in on the act of decorating them too. I hope to have one of those insanely huge collections some day!!!

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

6. Santa Sacks: This is something I had never heard of, but is apparently pretty common in countries outside the US! In addition to or instead of putting out a stocking, you leave a big ol’ sack for Santa to fill with presents. I just think this is SO magical!!!! We’ll definitely be doing stockings too, but little A will have his very own Santa sack this year.

Baby's First Christmas - Our New Family Traditions

Photos by Jeff Mindell

I had to stop myself when I was out shopping for Christmas decor. I was all… “Should we start a snow globe collection!? A nutcracker one!? Is it too early to get an Elf!?” Hahaha! I’m sure you’ve all gathered that my excitement is through the roof, but it really is. My parents always made Christmas so magical for me and it feels like such a gift that I get to do that for Arlo now, too. I’m the luckiest girl in the world and extra lucky that Jeff is equally as holiday-spirit-filled as me. I can’t WAIT for him to wake up on Christmas and explore all the magic that we have planned for him!!!

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions??


  • Laura

    Wow. You are pure magic. What a match made in heaven between you two parents and little Arlo. Your excitement is contagious and he’s one lucky kiddo to get to be a part of so much love and Christmas spirit. Merry Christmas you sweet sweet family – Here’s hoping this is me when kiddie time comes around xoxo

    • Kelly

      You are too kind, Laura! Thank you so much for the sweet words. We feel like the lucky ones!! Merry Christmas to you too!!

  • Alexandra

    Arlo is just the cutest baby I’ve ever seen and those Christmas pjs are killlllling me. Merry Christmas to you and your adorable family!

  • Mia

    Ditto to Alexandra – the pjs are killing me! SO CUTE. I am loving watching you get to go through all of this with baby A!

  • sarah!

    you are simply the best! 🎄❤️

  • Kristina B

    OMG I LOVE him in the little hat!
    We did the ornament thing when I was growing too. I have a whole box of ornaments that were collected for me growing up buuuuuuuut they stay in a box because I have a white tree that I like putting my own ornaments on so I guess that just means TWO TREES NEXT YEAR.

    • Kelly

      I will take any excuse for two trees. Hence why he has one in his room… haha! The more the merrier!!

  • Norma Rivera

    Arlo is definitely a start! He’s so adorable and you guys know how to portrait those special moments with him. I love the idea of the tradition of an ornament every year. My son is a month older than Arlo and I want him to start a collection of one nutcracker every year. From our home to yours have a very Merry Christmas!!🎄🎁

    • Kelly

      I love the idea of a nutcracker collection!! My family had one and I always loved lining them all up on the mantel!! Merry Christmas to you!!

  • Ashley

    Love all of these!!! ❤️ Growing up we had so many traditions! I still do all of them with my husband and will continue them when we have kiddos of our own one day. My two favorites are:
    1. Each kid got a new Christmas book on Christmas morning. My parents wrote the date in the inside and a sweet message about the year. At 31 I still have all my books and it’s so cool to read the notes from my parents from all the way back in 1986. They continue to give me a book as an adult and I just love it so much. I saw a post this year that used the Christmas books as part of an advent calendar and you get to unwrap a different book every day in December ( perfect for someone like me who already has a ton of books to start with their kids and makes something old seem new and exciting each year).
    2. Each kid had a different tradition. I received a nutcracker every year, my sister a snow globe and my brother a new train or train track piece for his train collection. It was so fun to see our own decorations around the house growing up each year and when we grew up we each had a collection to take with us ❤️
    Merry Christmas to you all. What a wonderful Christmas this is ❤️

    • Kelly

      OMG I am 100% doing the book tradition!!! I LOVE THAT!!! And yes!! I saw Anna (In Honor of Design) post about doing the book advent calendar!! So amazing.

      And also, love that each kid got something different!! MAN your family did Christmas RIGHT!! Thank you for the inspiration!! Merry Christmas!

      • Kristy

        My parents give me a book on my birthday every year with a note written inside. It means so much to me to have all (30+) of them

  • Christy

    You are such a great mom! Arlo (and your future kids) are sooooo lucky to have parents like you and Jeff.

    Christmas is such a magical time, I was born in the Philippines and we start seeing Christmas trees and music in July! My mom and I always made gingerbread houses together and now that she’s gone, I am extra vigilant about keeping that tradition alive with my kids. It’s insanity but I know it’s worth the memories. I also watch Charlie Brown Christmas and Love Actually every year. Then we get one of those ornaments of family figures with our names and the year. I’m also having the kids pick an ornament each year so we do the same thing! Oh and I shoot the Christmas card each year with themes and such.

    Merry Christmas!!!

    • Kelly

      Love that you kept the tradition alive!! And love the family ornaments!! AHHH! You guys are making me want to add 20 more traditions to my list! Haha!

  • Lucie

    It’s a really nice article. I like all your new family traditions ! I wish you, from France, a very happy Christmas.

  • Alyssa

    We made a Christmas bucket list which has been so fun to check off items (gingerbread house, driving around to see lights, sledding, etc)! And we make churros on Christmas morning!

  • Sian

    You are so incredible. I simply adore all of these traditions that you are bringing into not only Arlo’s, but your entire family’s lives, they truly emulate the real magic of Christmas which is just so special. Your genuine happiness is so unbelievably infectious and I love that you have also thought of those less fortunate too. The idea of decorating a tree with the prior years ornaments and donating it to a shelter really warmed my heart. Never stop being you.

    Being in my mid 30’s now, the main tradition that I haven’t ever let go is getting together as a family and watching Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman every Christmas Eve. For as long as I can remember, we have watched it every single year. If you haven’t seen it, I promise you, you will simply adore it. It’s only 26 minutes long, but still gets me everytime. 🙂

  • Lauren @ The Pizza Monster Mama

    I love the Santa Sack idea! I’m totally going to try to do this next year. I’m so excited for new holiday traditions with our baby girl!

  • Sina

    I LOVE this! I love the idea of setting traditions early on. I have started some of my own with my boyfriend, but he is sort of a Grinch, so resists (but that’s ok – I love Christmas enough for the both of us!). Can I ask where you got your Santa Sack from?

  • Esther

    I love Christmas traditions as well! Wonderful ideas you have. I started to gift parents, aunts etc a calendar of my daughter for the next year. It is a calendar to hang on the wall, a bit bigger and U consolidate the best images from the current year and match the images to the seasons. Usually the calendar has a different theme every year to make it even more fun.

  • Lindsay Lamb

    Hi! I love the little Christmas tree. My mom put one in my room every year, and she would put one small gift I could open before we all woke up in the morning. It allowed her to sleep in a little, while satisfying my need to open presents right away.

    The other thing my mom did is that I broke a wooden reindeer because I sat on it. Instead of throwing it out, my mom kept it and retold the story of me sitting on it every year. She laughs every time she puts it out and someone asks how the reindeer broke.

  • Evelyn

    When we had kids we realized not only did it seem wasteful to make an entire Christmas dinner the kids wouldn’t eat, we didn’t want to! So much effort when all we wanted to do was hang out in pjs and eat chocolate! So instead we make pizza! When they get older we plan to have everyone make their own pizzas and have ribbons and whatnot for the prettiest, the tastiest, the most creative. But for now we just make one cheese and pepperoni one in the shape of a christmas tree. (The oldest one is 4, pepperoni is as wild as he’s willing to go)

  • Duck life

    I see you make Christmas very full. I see you very happy

  • Emma

    It’s been fun to see how the blog has changed and evolved over the years. I’ll continue to work on providing solid content for you, launching the podcast (stay tuned for that! It’s ready to roll!), and dive back into video (especially follow-along workouts) since we’ll be back in Tucson for a while. (<— more on all of that to come, since this post is beefy already.)

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