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This year we celebrated baby’s first Christmas. You can make yourself go crazy trying to make Christmas perfect for your little one with millions of presents, a visit to Santa, and creating new traditions you hope to celebrate as a family. As Thanksgiving came to a close, I was determined to create a picaresque Christmas for my 11 month old complete with what would be our family traditions going forward.

I wanted an advent calendar that we would use every year, but could not find the perfect one. I felt defeated as December 1st rolled around and I hadn’t found “the one”. Taking Addison to the Irvine Christmas train was also high on my list….but with so much rain on the weekends this year we didn’t make it. Hitting the shops early or buying all my gifts online was also a part of my plan – but guess what…didn’t happen.

Baby’s 1st Christmas wasn’t ruined, however, because somewhere along the way I lowered my expectations and we were able to start enjoying the holiday. Instead of the long list of to do’s, a much shorter and realistic set of goals was  set.

One was getting an ornament at Roger’s Gardens to commemorate her 1st Christmas. Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach has an amazing Christmas display with gorgeous decked out trees. They also have a Santa who poses with the kiddos for free…we didn’t know this ahead of time, just stumbled upon it; but picking out an ornament each year and posing with Santa is bound to be a Christmas tradition.

We discovered the Elf on a Shelf , and although our little one is too young to understand the concept we can’t wait to read her the story and bring out the elf every year to report back to Santa.

I scaled back my Christmas cookie bake-a-thon to just a couple of different kinds, and that was enough. I made rugulach again this year (will post the recipe soon) and some chocolate and pecan biscotti. I can’t wait until our little girl is old enough to enjoy making Christmas cookies with me (and maybe help me clean up).

In the end, it was all enough. I learned that traditions aren’t made in one swoop; they evolve over time and should not be forced. Everyone is happy and healthy and that made Christmas perfect.

I’d love to hear about some of your Christmas traditions, especially any unusual ones!

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