Enjoying the Holiday Parties with Your Baby
Whether you’re back at home with your extended family or celebrating with friends in Hong Kong, find out how you can join in the festivities with your little one in tow.
What could be more heartwarming than a Christmas morning with your newborn baby snuggled up in your arms? And what’s more exciting than ringing in the New Year with the newest little addition to your family?
Babies are always the life of any party, with friends and family wanting to hold and cuddle your little one and pass the baby around for all to enjoy and celebrate.
As long as your baby is healthy and happy, there’s no reason not to include them in the festivities surrounding the winter holidays. But there is a right way to include your little one in a party, and about a thousand wrong ways. Let’s get a few of the most important points spelled out right.
Things to remember...
The most crucial thing to remember is that for a baby, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are just another day and night when they want to be fed as usual, be changed promptly when sporting a dirty diaper, be held and rocked as needed, and to sleep when tired. Routine is crucial for an infant and breaking their routine just because you say it’s time to party doesn’t make for a great start to the new year. Unfortunately, if your baby hates loud noises, needs to sleep a certain length of time and in certain conditions, or has any other issues that simply preclude being around lots of people and lots of commotion (a weakened immune system, for example), then the party might be over before it starts this year. Sorry.
The second note to hammer home before we get to some of the positive points (remember, this is a time to celebrate!) is that an experienced childcare provider needs to be present and also totally sober. New Year’s Eve especially means booze, and often lots of it. That’s great for all the responsible adults enjoying the party, but at least one of those adults had better be enjoying no more than a single glass of celebratory champagne.
If a parent of any baby present at a party is not the designated caregiver on call, then another experienced, sensible and sober adult must be specifically designated as the babysitter ahead of time. Don’t ever assume someone will just “take care of it”; don’t rely on that favorite aunt or loving grandfather or anyone else unless they have been specifically tasked with taking care of your little one! You need to have everything a caregiver might need laid out before a party starts, from milk or formula, diapers, clothing changes, etc. and you need to have discussed your child’s needs in detail. If you want to enjoy your party, plan for all the baby-related things that could ruin it ahead of time!
There - now we’ve dealt with the more unpleasant topics. Let’s talk about how to party with that baby!
Keep hands clean
Many babies enjoy motion, music, laughter and attention. If yours is one of those, then they can dive right into the celebrations; just make sure people wash their hands before holding your child. And when your baby is being held by lots of people in a short period of time, you should take the added step of washing their little hands, too. Use a quality wipe or have someone help you gently scrub those paws with mild soap and water every half hour or so, because every time your baby’s little fingers go in that little mouth, they might be ingesting germs that were lurking on shared platters of appetizers, toilet seats, cigars, and so on. But as long as you’re keeping your baby clean and as long as he or she is happy, party on.
Create a quiet room
If your baby is more sensitive to noise and commotion, then arrange for a more sensible party atmosphere. One great way to do this is to designate a room as a space for a more restrained celebration. Let the good times roll throughout the house, but explain that in this one area, all are welcome, but not at the same time. In this quieter, calmer room, people can rotate a few at a time rather than having the baby surrounded by all the action. Everyone who wants to enjoy Junior can do so, and Junior need not be subjected to the full force of a holiday bash. You can keep separate, smaller plates of snacks in this room, offer a tray of nonalcoholic beverages, play music you know your child likes, and so on.
Celebrate a little early
When the time draws near to ring in the New Year, remember that your newborn really couldn’t care less about what the calendar says. If your baby is on a schedule, you have already overcome one of the greatest challenges new parents face. Don’t screw it up just to be awake when the clock strikes midnight! Instead consider seeing if your friends and family would be amenable to simply “moving” the New Year earlier. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds: just pretend you’re in a different time zone and start the New Year a few hours early (AKA go to bed at the usual time, but after a bit more partying than usual). You can even find a celebration occurring at midnight in another part of the world on TV or online and celebrate along with those folks. (For example, Sydney is 3 hours ahead of Hong Kong, while Fiji and New Zealand are 5 hours ahead.) You’ll find most people will love this idea, especially as your older guests will likely be glad to have an early evening anyway, and the younger folks can always shuttle off to another party and celebrate two New Year’s Eve midnights in the same evening!
About the Author
Steven John is a writer living in Glendale, California. He and his wife Kristin, an elementary school teacher, were joined by their son Benjamin in October of 2013. In addition to writing for several websites and journals, Steven published his first novel Three A.M., in 2012. His second book is due to hit shelves in the fall of 2014. When not writing or spending time with his family, Steven tries to squeeze in some mountain climbing.
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