Planning for a Holiday Baby

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A Christmas ornament with a picture of a baby and a red teddy bear.

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Today’s post is from Lauren Hill, the Mama in Mama’s Laundry Talk. We are so much on the same wavelength. I love reading what she writes. Today she shares how she’s preparing for a new baby at the holidays. I can so relate since two FishBabies were born in November. It’s a wonderful time to have a baby, especially when you plan ahead.

I have never had the pleasure of having a “Holiday Baby” – one that comes right around the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holidays. My other three children have birthdays in March and April. Having a baby so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas makes me realize that things are going to be a little different for us this year.

My Baby #4 is due on November 18th, and as you all know that means he/she could arrive a few weeks early, or even into December. Even though it is just July, I’ve given a lot of thought to what our Thanksgiving/Christmas Season may look like this year with a new baby to swoon over. And what I would like for it to look like.

Thinking Ahead

My biggest goal this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season? For it to be simple and peaceful. No running around at the last minute, no fighting crowds and minimal anxiety to “get it all done.”  As with any newborn, I want to cherish this time when they are little and soak it in to my core. Those newborn days are so fleeting and I don’t want to miss them because I’m worried about other things like shopping and baking.

A mom asleep on the couch with a newborn sleeping on her chest.

Setting Goals

So I’ve mapped out my Master Plan of having a peaceful holiday season. Here’s what I’m planning:

All of my Christmas Gifts are going to be purchased by November 1st.

I will tolerate no excuses from myself, as I am determined to have this hefty item checked off of my to-do list by November 1. The thoughts of going  shopping in those post-partum days instead of snuggling with a new little one are not happy thoughts for this Mama. My goal is to have my complete Christmas List made by August 15th and start quickly thereafter to check them off. This list includes everyone we buy for: family, friends, teachers, etc.

All of my Christmas Cards will be signed, addressed and stamped, also by November 1st.

We don’t send nearly as many cards as we used to, so this task shouldn’t take terribly long. Because I bought Christmas Cards at an After-Christmas Sale last year, I’ve already got what I need and can get started any time.

I’m going to stock our freezer with at least 30 meals.

That sounds a little daunting to a very pregnant mom-to-be, but I know what a tremendous blessing it is to walk to the freezer and pull out dinner. Especially when you are in the last days of pregnancy or enjoying a new little one. People are very willing to bring meals to a new mom, but not so eager during the holidays since schedules are always more hectic. So I plan for my freezer to be fully stocked going into the Thanksgiving Season. This includes a couple of quick breads and batches of cookies for us to enjoy since I doubt I’ll be up for much baking.

We are staying home this year.

We typically do quite a bit of in-state traveling during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Being with my family is truly one of the highlights of the Season for me. But this year, my husband and I have decided to stay home. Being in our own home is the ultimate peacefulness to me. Traveling with 4 small children? Not so much. Hopefully some family will visit us!

Remembering The WHY

I’m going to focus on the Real reason of Christmas.

Whether you have a new baby or not during the Christmas Season, it is so easy to lose sight of the Real reason we celebrate this time of year. Between shopping and crowds and all of the hubbub associated with that, it’s easy to believe that gift giving is why we celebrate. My family celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ during the Holiday Season, and I don’t want to dare lose sight of that this year.  He is The Gift I am most grateful for. While I am cherishing the baby days, my prayer is for Him to be ever present on my mind.

Are you having a Holiday Baby? How are you preparing?

Are you utilizing Amazon Prime shipping and ordering only online? Are you skipping the formal Christmas pictures this year? Are you freezer cooking your entire Thanksgiving meal? Have you thought about creating a to-do list?

Share your ideas on preparing for a Holiday Baby.

We can’t wait to hear how you’re planning ahead this year! See you in the comments.

— Lauren Hill is the ‘Mama’ behind Mama’s Laundry Talk. She is so grateful for the opportunity to have a Holiday Baby and cannot wait to meet him or her!

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  1. My first 2 were mid- to late November babies and I’m now hoping that my third will come before Christmas (due Jan. 4). From my experience, your list is spot on! I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my Christmas shopping (And yes, free shipping with Amazon Prime is one of my favorite things, along with WalMart’s free site to store!) Next, I’m gonna attempt a few more freezer meals.

    My current conundrum is whether to wait for the baby to be born and do combination Christmas cards/ birth announcements (free from Shutterfly!) or go ahead and do regular Christmas cards.

  2. I posted a reply above about doing birth announcement/Christmas card combo with premade computer address labels!

    I am also doing the following: We don’t travel for the holidays anyway because my husband is a retail manager. Our family members live 3 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours, 7 1/2 hours, 8 hours, 10 hours (in 2 different directions) away! Some years my parents visit; most years it is just us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (My parents are the only ones on either side of the family that have figured out that DH must absolutely work Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and Dec. 26—every year, everyone else asks us what we are doing and who we are visiting and why don’t we visit them, but never take up our offer to visit us since we cannot go anywhere? “Oh, that’s too bad he can’t just ask for it off!”–argghh–sidenote!!). So at least not traveling will be status quo–I usually do a turkey breast in the crock pot with wild rice and craisins, easy enough to do even with a newborn! Then we also do stuffing, green beans, etc. but that can be modified.

    Because all of the family is scattered throughout the Eastern seaboard, we usually have to mail most of our gifts anyway. We usually see my parents at some point in Dec. (they are the closest — 3 hours) but everyone else usually gets mailed. I normally try to pick up what I can here and there throughout the year and will go ahead and wrap it and deliver it to family members that I feel are responsible enough to remember where it is at Christmas when I see them earlier in the year—a few select individuals are worth just paying postage on later!! We end up filling in what we don’t already have with on-line purchases in Nov. since we have to pay shipping anyway (so when I can score free shipping on line it is better than me buying it at a store and paying to ship it at the PO). So I may start the online stuff earlier this year and just tell people they will have to save it until Christmas and not lose it because we understandably will be preoccupied! I am also going to wrap up and box up what I have gathered that needs to be mailed and have it addressed and ready so all it will take is an off hours run to the machine at the PO–when there is not line–ha, ha!

    We keep things pretty simple even on regular years so I don’t think this will be too much. Our 3 year old gets 3 gifts from Santa (and 500 million from relatives). He gets 3 from Santa since Jesus got three gifts. Last year he got a $40 tricycle, a sippy cup, and a box of books (one of the 3 gifts will always be a basket of books–last year, Santa literally wrapped the books in the barnes and noble box-that was the basket). So this year he has already decided with no input from us that he is getting a big bike and that he will need a helmet — so I guess it will be a bike, a helmet, and a box/basket of books. Keeping things simple helps even on the regular years. I guess I will have to stuff his stocking. Last year the sippy cup took up most of it! I’m thiniking play dough, crayons, again, simple!

  3. My baby is due December 22nd! I’ve been mulling over a lot of this. There will definitely be very little done in terms of holiday cooking! I don’t even know if we’ll be able to travel for Thanksgiving.

    My daughter was born on October 27, and I had ALL of our Christmas stuff done before then, too! It is a big help.

  4. My son was born 4 days before Chistmas – so let me preface with this: If you have family from out of town, please make it clear they have to be willing to help/be self sufficient or please wait. I had to host and take care of 5 additional adults right after a c-section!

    My simple advice? Plan for a quiet holiday. And think about what’s most important to you: your baby, your health and your faith traditions.

  5. My first child was born 2 weeks after Christmas. So while very preggo and preparing for Christmas I decided that fancy wrapping jobs were out of the question….I could hardly put on my own underwear! I put every gift (and I mean every one) in a gift bag. I used every gift bag I had and even bought a few plan ones at the end. It was so much easier to drop things in bags than to try and wrap it all. Now that our second child is due to be here 3 days after Thanksgiving and I’ll be having another c-section, I know that I will be using gift bags again this year!

  6. i’m so glad to read about this! my second is due in november and i’ve been shopping up a storm this summer trying to get everything ready for christmas. i’ve found a lot of really awesome sales, and have almost all of my shopping done. just a few more things to get. i want to have everything bought and wrapped by the first of november, and have the decorations up a little after that. i’m also planning on sending out christmas cards that double as birth announcements. freezer meals are a great idea. i don’t know if i can do as many as 30 (!) but hopefully i can find some time to get at least 10 or so done. plus i have to decorate the nursery and make my oldest a “big girl room.” so much to think about and so little time to get it all done!

  7. I am having a c-section around December 10th. I have 2 other children born in December—16th and 29th and one child born November (15th). Knowing exactly when I (should) be having the baby helps a lot with planning.

    My game plan—-ALL birthday gifts for Nov. and Dec. and ALL Christmas gifts are to be bought by Nov 1st. Dec. birthdays are going to be family only (those who live in the house plus my Mom).

    I plan to keep things as easy as possible.

  8. This is definitely a timely post for me. I’ve been trying to think about what all I need to do in preparation for our 5th child, due 12/31. I most likely won’t have a baby before Christmas, but I certainly won’t be traveling. I also don’t want to do any last minute Christmas shopping. I just thought about the Christmas tree.

  9. My third child was born on Dec. 23. The other day my mother-in-law was listening to her singing Christmas songs and asked her why she liked those songs so much. “Because my birthday is at Christmas!” So far she thinks that is very special. Having a holiday baby can be difficult, but I have very special memories of being in the hospital room listening to the Cambridge Singers caroling the birth of the Christ child, while holding my own sweet babe in my arms. In the midst of the flurry, take time to appreciate the sacredness of your own new child, for they, too, are a gift from God.

  10. Hi Lauren! Love this post.

    My first was born 3 days after Christmas, so that year was filled with family in my home (since we couldn’t travel), doing all of the cooking and cleaning, while I was sprawled out on the couch. My best advice in that situation . . . let them. Let people help you. I tend to want to “control” everything about the Christmas experience, but sitting back and letting others help was such a blessing for me and for them.

  11. Our second baby is due on January 5. My husband’s birthday is two days before Christmas, and I’m really cognizant of the timing. I hope the baby is late to avoid the holiday season. (I know, I won’t be saying that in December!)

    I usually plan my Christmas purchases and tasks way ahead of time, but it’s easy to let time slip away from you. Thanks for this great list. I’m going to put everything in the calendar to get it done way ahead of time.

  12. I think are so many of us that could write a book on this subject. My second child was born scheduled C-section 12/21/07. I pushed for the 21 so I could be released by the 24th. The first year was easy. One kid, each to get things done, had a deadline. It’s been since then that the holidays have been hard. Planning a birthday and hoping that others aren’t scheduled for Christmas parties, mixing the birthday decorations with the Christmas decorations, trying to make a point of making that day special. It’s hard.

    We stayed home that first year obviously, but my Mother in Law planned a shower 5 hrs away when the baby was 7 days old. Don’t do that to your family members. It’s ridiculous. Don’t do that that.

    Stay home. Relax. If you want family invite them, but make it clear that although you want to spend time with them, you can’t be the hostess.

    Hold off on those Christmas cards. Make them New Year’s cards and slip in the baby announcement with them. Great way to save on postage. Sorry; I’m frugal.

  13. Wow…this post hits SO close to home! My first was born via emergency c-section December 13th…12 days before Christmas, and my second, via repeat c-section, November 18th (your due date), six days before Thanksgiving (that year). I was in the hospital 10 weeks before having baby #1, so needless to say, Christmas shopping/planning was not done (by me, at least). My husband did the decorating. I was, however, able to return home the day before I was being induced for a few hours to check things out (after begging doctors…for my own sanity!) Though with my second, it was scheduled, so I knew well in advance that I would have to be very organized, and have things done ahead of schedule. I had all of my shopping done, and all wrapped, by November 1st, like you said. I had many meals frozen and for the ready in the freezer. (I did this in the summer, when I was feeling great!) I had the baby’s room all set by September 1, since I knew it was football season and I wouldn’t see my husband again until delivery day! After delivery, we returned home to a well organized home, with meals aplenty! We usually host Thanksgiving each year, but that year I was driven to and was a guest at my parents house. It was wonderful! It was such a relief to know I didn’t have to brave the holiday rush, as well. Baby and I were cozy at home…and prepared for the holidays!

  14. Great post! My 2nd is due 1/1/11 and while I thought about gifts cards and wrapping totally slipped my mind. If this pregnancy is like my first the third trimester will be much harder on me than the actual first few weeks after birth. So I’m trying to get everything done NOW. My husband will think I’ve really flipped when he sees me searching for the Christmas cards this weekend!

  15. This is so timely and helpful! We are expecting #2 on Christmas Eve this year! I just had a panic moment a few days ago when I realized I should probably start Christmas shopping now. I am thinking we will hold off on Christmas cards and send something out after baby is born as a sort of holiday card/baby announcement.

    1. @Katie T.,

      That’s a really great idea to incorporate a birth announcement and Christmas Card! I’ll have to think about how to work that…

      And it’s more frugal too, considering stamps are a whopping $0.44!!! Yikes!

      Thanks for sharing 🙂


      1. @MamaLaundry, @Katie T., with our holiday babies, we made business cards for them on the computer. They were easy to make at the last minute and slip into the Christmas cards. 😉

    2. @Katie T., I am due Dec. 6 with #2. We use computerized address labels for Christmas cards so my plan was to go through them sometime in Sept and make sure everyone’s addresses are current, etc. I am also going to make sure our 3 year old has a nice Christmas outfit for a photo op. and get the baby a first Christmas onesie or sleeper or something. As soon as we get home from the hospital (like the next day), we are snapping pictures in the outfits, sending them off to make photo cards/birth announcement combos! In past years I have used Walmart and I am pretty sure I could pick them up within a day or 2 of ordering. Last year I did the 100 free photocards on See Here and got them within days too but if anyone is running a similar promotion this year, we may miss out b/c we will obviously have to wait until baby is here to make the cards! So anyway, then we just stick address labels and stamps on the envelopes, seal them up and mail!

      1. @a, to add: a friend of ours did a combo birth announcement/photo card a few years ago. The older sister is named Ava and it said, “Ava’s first gift of the Christmas season..” and showed Ava holding the baby.

  16. oh, the nesting will help you get those freezer meals stocked away if you are anything like I was!

  17. I have been blessed with, not one, but two holiday babies! My first two children (born three years apart) share a birthday, just a few days days before Christmas. I’ve learned to start planning for their birthdays way in advance, and we usually celebrate it the first weekend in December. Even though that month gets busy, our family and friends are still in the holiday spirit and are eager to attend their birthday party. To cut down on costs and not go completely insane, I try to incorporate Christmas into whatever theme their birthdays are for that year. By God’s grace it all works out!

  18. Our 3rd child is due in october and I’m planning to make this Christmas season as stress free as possible. Instead of gifts for others we are doing Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child and I hope to have those completed before baby gets here. I’m going to be doing a few simple homemade things for the kids and planning to have that done before baby gets here as well. Already have 12 meals in the freezer and working on 18 more.

  19. My 2nd child was born Dec 19th. She was a scheduled c-section so I knew that we would not come home from the hospital until Dec 23. I think my goal was to have all of the shopping and wrapping done by the 10th. I think that the only thing that I let “slip through the cracks” that year was the Christmas cards. I didn’t bother to send any and no one complained. We had all of my family over on Christmas day which was a little crazy but my wonderful husband who loves to cook took care of the entire dinner and we ended up with a ton of left-overs to get us through the next couple of weeks.

    Our 3rd child was born on Jan 8th (again, another scheduled c-section) so while Christmas was pretty calm, we worked like crazy to get all of the Christmas decorations down right after Christmas so the house would be back to “normal” before the baby was born.

  20. Our first was due November 17th and born on November 4th and I wasn’t prepared at all. That year was a very laid back year for us. This year, our second is due December 19th and I am hoping he/she will come early as well! We are waiting to find out until the baby is born to find out what we are having. What a great Christmas present right?! I have already started using some of the freezer cooking tips from Fish Mama and have 2 meals in my freezer that I just made last week when I started. I think just starting out, a whole freezer cooking day seems a little overwhelming. What has worked well the past week is making extra at most meals. I have a huge loaf of french bread to make garlic bread to freeze, I have two 8×8 pans of frozen 3 cheese spaghetti, I am making freezer salsa today and I have a bunch of bananas that I am going to chunk up and flash freeze for banana bread and smoothies. I am trying to get myself in the hang of things before this little one gets here. My goal is to go through in the coming weeks and go through what I have in my freezer and deep freezer, make a list of everything since most of it is new and use up what is in there and also use it to make freezer meals. I would so much rather have freezers full of prepared meals rather than frozen chunks of raw meat… I am so thankful to have found this blog! Hopefully I can continue to get things going 🙂

  21. Our 3rd is due December 6th and with two other children ages two and under (crazy, I know), I’m doing just about everything on this list to make sure I’m prepared for the holidays this year.
    I’ve got almost all of my gift list made up and I’ve started buying those things when I see them on sale. November 1st is a great goal. I’ll have to remember that. I’m also planning on doing a grundal of freezer cooking. My goal is to have at least 30 freezer meals. My husband has finally realized as well that we need an extra freezer (I’ve been trying to convince him for forever it seems like), so I’m planning on stocking it full as much as possible.
    My first child was born on December 7th and so this is my second go around with a holiday baby. It really is such a wonderful time of year to have a baby and having everything prepared in advance really helps to have a stress-free holiday.

  22. My honeymoon baby was born Christmas morning, my second one due Christmas eve and born Dec 14th.
    The BEST planning one can do regarding this is PLAN not to have another Holiday baby! 🙂 My son was born May 15th….whew!
    It’s not just hard the year they are born, it’s hard every year after. At first it’s hard on you and then it’s hard for them because they can’t have friends on their birthday or near because everyone is busy (especially mom…ahem…see the problem?).
    Well, babies are a blesssing anytime they come so the above is my sarcastic rant.
    Really ladies though, my eldest turns 13 this Christmas morning and I have one thing to say to you. Plan what you can, but more than anything keep your plans with open hands and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get all these wonderful things done all the time. The Holiday’s are for everyone, your childs birthday is THEIRS. Make it about family and them at these times and let pleasing everyone else go a bit. Practice it now, because you will have to get good at it for the next 18+ years.

  23. I have had a baby 12/30 and 1/31, and both times we have planned very simple holidays for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We stayed home both years, and put up very minimal decorations. With our first, we didn’t even put up a tree. The 2nd time around, we did do a tree for our 2 yr old, but we also had grandparents in town to help us take it down. With the 2nd I unexpectedly ended up on modified activity because of early contractions, and I obviously hadn’t planned for that, so I ended up finishing several of my planned handmade gifts after the baby was born at the end of January! No one minded getting gifts a couple of months late 🙂

  24. What a timely post! We are due w/ #4 11/20 and I’m starting to make my pre lists for the holidays.
    I’ve already stocked up on paper & tape and addressed my cards ( i picked up a bunch last year on clearance for about .50 a box.

  25. Great post and so timely for my life! My second child is due 12/21 and I have been trying to think of what I should get done in advance. Let the list making commence!! Planning and organization are not my strong suits, but I am quickly realizing that if I don’t plan I will probably go crazy. I think this may just push me into the world of freezer cooking.

  26. Thanks for sharing this post! I don’t think I’ve commented on here before, but this post was too useful to pass up! I too am expecting a holiday baby – November 22nd (Thanksgiving week!)! And since this is my first, I don’t exactly know what to expect, unless somebody (like you) clues me in 🙂 I hadn’t even thought about Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, or possibly not getting as many meals brought over, but know that you mention it, that makes sense! Thanks for the advice! Now to start making those lists…

  27. Our first child was due January 4, but arrived on December 21. Since I knew my due date was just after Christmas, I spent the summer months shopping for Christmas gifts. You never know if you’ll be put on bed rest near the end of your pregnancy, and since Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, I wanted to make sure that we still had a festive holiday season, regardless of the pregnancy and baby. I found some especially great finds when we were on vacation in Oregon. I found many items on clearance, so this also helped stretch our budget, so keep an eye out for these “Christmas in July” types of sales. We did put up a Christmas tree and all of the usual decorations, but it was probably February before everything was put away in the attic. So have some grace on yourself, and know that you may not be able to stay on top of everything with the holidays. Decide what’s important and only do those things.

  28. My first was born in December…right between my husband’s birthday and mine and days before Christmas. My advice for preparing for a holiday baby is to not only have all the shopping done way in advance, but get the wrapping done early too. It was such a blessing to have all that done before my son arrived, so I could just focus on my newborn and celebrating the real reason for the season.

  29. now that we are retired and living on a fixed income I have been using the cash system more and more. would love to read more about Mr Ramsey or have a cash wallet. Cheeers to the holidays and to the babies that grow up knowing that their birthdays are just as important as the holidays too.

  30. I can so relate to this post, my youngest child was due December 20, 2008. Since I had my first a week early I was hoping for another early delivery. My goal was to have my shopping and Christmas cards done by December 1. Surprising to me, I was already 3 cm dilated at 33 weeks and was told to take it easy. At my 35 week checkup I was 4 cm and the dr. gave me the green light to finish my shopping which I did. I delivered on December 4, 2008. We spent the holidays at home and everyone came to our house, it was wonderful! My oldest son was born January 26, I would love to experience a summer baby!

  31. Great advice! You are very wise to plan ahead. 🙂 My second baby was born on Christmas Eve… but, since she was due April 15th, we were not in the least prepared for that roller coaster ride. Still… SUCH a blessing and a wonderful sacred day on which to be born! Being so close to Christmas, the shopping and cards and all were already done… but, as a result of having a baby an unexpected 4 months early, our Christmas tree still stood there in March *blush*…. I’m thankful it was an artificial one that year!

  32. Thanks for this great article! I’m due a week before the author & while I’ve thought of some of it, I haven’t thought of all of it. I’m grateful to have my MIL here to take my 2 yo so I can start on these!

  33. My 3rd child was born 12/28/09 and I spent the entire summer planning and getting ready for her arrival.

    I did everything I could to get ready, I had gifts made and bought well in advance, for everyone except our kids we did those last after we got a good sense of what they wanted and I simplified gifts for family and friends alot, as in it was one small hm thing or something hm baked and a gift card, saved me from walking my 9 mo pregger self through the stores, I did lots of mini oamc sessions to build up my freezer, I bought a little extra of this or that to stock the pantry, canned and froze everything in sight from the garden. I made a menu from all the oamc frozen foods we had and it was easy for dh to just pull out something and reheat it or pop it in the oven while I was recouping!!

    We stayed at home and loved every minute of it.

    What helped alot was that my dh took 2 weeks off for her birth so while I was recovering from a csection I had him there to help with everything from diaper changes to playing with the boys, he did laundry and made meals it was such a blessing.

    I was glad we had stocked up on everything from foods to toiletries and paper products, it meant that I didn’t have to be out and about with my 2 boys and a newborn.

    Good luck and I hope your holidays with a new baby arriving are wonderful!!


    1. @Dana,

      What an encouraging account! And I love that YOU loved staying home. I think I am going to enjoy it too. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing it –


  34. Thanks so much for the reminder! Our fourth is due December 10…our third was born on December 14, and I wasn’t very prepared. Thankfully, we had planned to stay home anyway. Gotta’ get moving on that gift list!

  35. This is very timely for me! Our 3rd baby is due November 1st and I have just started thinking about the coming holiday season. One thing I’m doing currently is taking advantage of the school supply sales and putting up some of those items for stocking stuffers for my two older children. Iv also already purchased a few small gifts for my kids.
    I would like to make all the side dishes that freeze well for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and also like you mentioned a few quick breads and Christmas cookies since I know those will freeze well:) Thanks for the encouragement, I’m excited!

  36. I had my first child 3 days before Christmas, and it was the best Christmas I remember. Things were a little different for me, since it was my first. I believe the hardest part now that he’s older is making his birthday special! My husband’s birthday is 3 days after Christmas, so he knows how it felt to have his birthday trumped by the holidays. Congrats on the new little one!

    1. @Sara Jane, my 1st was born 3 days after Christmas and my husband’s is the day after Christmas. I’ve started a 1/2 birthday tradition. They each get a 1/2 cake (or 1/2 themed cake) and a small gift. I also decorate with balloons, etc. Once my little one (he’s 2.5) gets older, I’ll actually throw him a 1/2 birthday party with friends since I doubt parents will be thrilled to attend a b-day party 3 days after Christmas. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!