What to Expect from Your First Christmas with Children

What to Expect from Your First Christmas with Children - train around christmas tree

I love Christmas, it’s magical. Especially when you have little ones to share it with. This year the excitement has reached fever pitch in our house, with a two year old toddler that is deliriously excited by all things Christmas.

I have pretty much been walking around in a haze of excitement for the last month, daydreaming about those magical Christmas moments. You know the ones. Putting up the Christmas tree. Decorating the house. Opening advent calendars. Getting up early on Christmas Day to open Christmas presents. Sitting down to the tastiest Christmas dinner and most perfectly dressed table you’ve ever seen.

But as the little lady had a tantrum on the very first day of December over only being able to open one of the 24 doors on her advent calendar, I realised that the reality of Christmas with young children is very different.

So for any other parents that may have been lulled into a false sense of reality by the perfect Christmas TV advert, it’s totally normal and ok if this is what your Christmas actually looks like.

1. There are tears because your child wants to open all the doors on the advent calendar in one day.

2. There are tantrums because your child wants to eat all the chocolates off the Christmas tree. Now.

3. You excitedly try to wake your child up early on Christmas morning only to realise that they’d actually rather be sleeping.

4. You find yourself rather bored unwrapping all the gifts you wrapped yourself for your little one, as well as what feels like a million other gifts from generous friends and family.

5. You get fed up by constantly having to either; unbox toys, assemble toys, install batteries or worse, a combination of all three.

6. You end up cooking a massive Christmas lunch that your little one won’t be able to eat much of and that you don’t feel like eating much of yourself after six hours of preparation and cooking.

7. You don’t get to look at or enjoy your gifts on Christmas Day, let alone Christmas week. After all, it’s all about the kids now.

8. A lot of your time afterwards is spent trying to find somewhere to stash all the new toys and clothes.

9. You’re absolutely exhausted and ready to call it a night by 9 pm on Christmas day

So yes, Christmas is absolutely magical, but it’s much better when you know what to expect from your first Christmas with children!

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My Petit Canard

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  1. Smallstuffandme
    December 3, 2015 / 9:19 am

    i can so relate to this! for weeks i have been visualising an idyllic christmas and squirrelling away festive bits and bobs to create the perfect festive atmosphere. on the 1st december i planned to put some christmassy window stickers in my daughter’s room, put the new christmas duvet set on her bed and pop her elf on her pillow with the advent calendar, i could just imagine her little face.
    and that’s exactly what i had to do- imagine!
    before 9am she threw a series of mammoth tantrums and was horrid to everyone so I had to put the christmas treats on hold. i felt really disappointed!
    you’re right, if you get too caught up in creating the perfect christmas, chances are you’ll be facing a lot more disappointment if you have a small child!
    Smallstuffandme recently posted…A Moment with a Mumpreneur- Mathilde’s BakeryMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 3, 2015 / 8:39 pm

      Oh no, how awful! But youre definitely not alone. These little ones have a mind of their own and I suspect the christmas daydreams wont come real until they are at least around 5/6 years old. It sounds like you’ve planned a lovely christmas, so hopefully she gets to enjoy it soon πŸ™‚

  2. Rebecca U
    December 3, 2015 / 10:24 am

    Totally get the advent calendar door thing – so hard to explain to them. The struggle is real haha #coolmumclub
    Rebecca U recently posted…Max is 4!My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 3, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      Totally! It seemed like such a good idea, but the reality is sooooo different. Sure Ill still be explaining it to her on christmas eve lol

    • My Petit Canard
      December 3, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      I completely agree! Maybe we’ll try something different next year πŸ˜‰

  3. agent spitback
    December 3, 2015 / 11:15 am

    Bwahaha, brilliant! And 100% true! I usually get all excited, play the music, eat christmas treats and then when the day rolls by, I am already tired one hour later from waking up from trying to read instructions, build the legos, and yes, those batteries! #coolmumclub
    agent spitback recently posted…A bit of Everything Week 8My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 3, 2015 / 8:33 pm

      Its exhausting just thinking about it lol. I think we’ll have to try and take it easy christmas eve so that we are ready for christmas day, so much to squeeze into one day!!

  4. December 3, 2015 / 8:10 pm

    Ha ha, so true! I arranged baby childcare to go in to nursery for a special christmas craft session today…I was so excited. Tigs just spent the whole time saying she wanted to go home! x Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub Lovely x
    mummuddlingthrough recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 9My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 3, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      Oh no, lol! Its so typical. Im expecting exactly the same thing when I go to the little ladys christmas carol recital at her nursery in a couple of weeks, I can pretty much guarantee she wont want to sing when she sees me and instead will want to go home. You cant fault us parents for trying! πŸ™‚

  5. Liane
    December 5, 2015 / 7:58 am

    You hit the nail on the head with this post! I always imagine those perfect Christmases that you see on the movies and it never turns out like that! They’re perfect in their own way though πŸ™‚
    Liane recently posted…A Good Nights Sleep.My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 5, 2015 / 8:51 am

      I totally agree! The first year with a little one was a bit of a surprise, but definitely a lot more realistic with what to expect this year. It’s definitely about what you make it πŸ™‚

  6. December 6, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Aww i have this all to come. My little boy is only 10months so im guessing from what ive been told that the hours ive spent choosing gifts, wrapping gifts nd placing nocely under the tree will mean nothing lol he will probably be more interested in playing with bits of paper and boxes. I took him to see santa last week. Santa was an hr late so by the time we got there i was soaked and freezing. Little man was nice and dry in the pram and all for a picture. More for my benefit really but he looked cute in the picture and bonus he didnt cry.

    I think probably the majority of peoples idea of their christmas day is not the reality BuT we try thats the main thing. Hope you have a great christmas x
    thismummylark recently posted…December update 10months oldMy Profile

  7. My girls are five and seven now, and this is the first year that I feel I’ve been able to have the Christmas I always dreamed of having with them, ie: they both fully understand what’s going on and how it all works, they can fully join in with all the related activities and – most handily – they also understand that it can all be taken away if they don’t behave themselves! πŸ˜‰ x #Brilliantblogposts
    Jacqui @ Mummy’s Little Monkey/MLM Life & Style recently posted…THE SWEET REASON XMAS BROWNIE GIVEAWAYMy Profile

  8. My girls are five and seven now, and this is the first year that I feel I’ve been able to have the Christmas I always dreamed of having with them, ie: they both fully understand what’s going on and how it all works, they can fully join in with all the related activities and – most handily – they also understand that it can all be taken away if they don’t behave themselves! πŸ˜‰ x #Brilliantblogposts
    Jacqui @ Mummy’s Little Monkey/MLM Life & Style recently posted…THE SWEET REASON XMAS BROWNIE GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 6, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      Hi Jacqui, I figured itll probably be a few years yet until we can really, really make the most of it! I bet Christmas is pretty close to the TV adverts for you now, it sounds very magical and special. I cant wait until we get to that point where she really understands it all and can fully participate. We’re getting there, but we’ve still got a long way to go ;-).

  9. Tracey Abrahams
    December 7, 2015 / 7:21 am

    There are lots of downfalls to having the perfect christmas with kids, but only if your expectstioms are high and you dont prepare. With the kids toys i always use to take them oit the box and put in batteries before wrapping. Those tags they tie the presents to the boxes with are a nightmare.
    With christmas dinner spoil yourself and buy as much ready prepared stuff as possible. Its your christmas too, remember that xx #marvmondays xx
    Tracey Abrahams recently posted…How To Use Twitter To Get Your Blog NoticedMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 6:17 pm

      Those are such great ideas! You are so organised, putting the batteries in before you wrap them – very clever! Might see if we can adopt that little trick ;-). Totally agree on the food shortcuts and not having unrealistic and high expectations. I made that mistake the first year, but I’m definitely much more realistic now about Christmas πŸ™‚

  10. December 7, 2015 / 7:36 am

    So true. My son is only 15 months so had no idea what was going on last year. This year I expect him to get very excited by the wrapping paper and then sleep through lunch. But I will enjoy dressing him in ridiculous outfits so that’s ok! #marvmondays

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 6:19 pm

      Oh go exciting, that age is probably when they start to get more of an awareness of what’s going on around them. Sure he will love all the wrapping paper and boxes! I guess on the plus side, there’s the obligatory Christmas outfits and pictures you can take that you can keep for his teenage years πŸ˜‰

  11. lizzie ( firstooth )
    December 7, 2015 / 8:48 am

    I love reading Christmas posts especially ones that capture the reality of a Christmas with children. Even though our two really don’t have a clue, we get overly excited showing them the tree and the streets covered in beautiful lights. I’m looking forwars to each year getting a little more special, eventhough they won’t understand the day yet, it’ll still be special for us. Same routine but with lots of food!! Thanks for hosting #marvmondays
    lizzie ( firstooth ) recently posted…How To Decorate A Christmas TreeMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 6:20 pm

      Totally agree! It does get more and more special each year, and even if they don’t quite get it yet, it’s still very exciting for us parents πŸ™‚

  12. Mum in Brum
    December 7, 2015 / 9:15 am

    Haha this is such a great post. Our daughter is only one but she’s already pulled 10 baubles off the tree already that we only put up yesterday! I remember my 2 year old nephew having a major meltdown last year because he wanted to eat all of the chocolates off the tree. I might not bother with advent calendars for a while! hehe #marvmondays x
    Mum in Brum recently posted…‘Oh, sh*t…’ parenting moments in year oneMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 9:07 pm

      oh dear lol! Christmas with little ones is definitely challenging but if you can keep your head and the right attitude then it can also be very special. Advents calendars are definitely much better once they are a bit older πŸ™‚

  13. December 7, 2015 / 9:25 am

    So true! especially the advent calendar! Its only the 7th and already we’ve had 2 meltdowns because he wants to open all the windows πŸ™‚ fab post #marvmondays

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 9:00 pm

      Oh dear, I feel your pain! We have had multiple meltdowns, but one week in and she finally seems to understand the concept of opening one door each day. Now im slightly worried about what happens after Christmas eve and there are no more doors to open – I have a feeling we might be in line for the mother of all meltdowns!

  14. December 7, 2015 / 9:27 am

    Ah, yes. Tyger has actually been coping pretty well so far but with his ASD he is becoming pretty overloaded by it all and we did have quite a few meltdowns over the weekend. He’s also even worse than most children for waiting for things so he’s getting more and more fraught about when Christmas will actually arrive.

    Lady Nym recently posted…Who’s More Autistic?My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Oh dear, poor Tyger! I can imagine the christmas period could actually be quite overwhelming for him. Hopefully you are both finding ways to help him through it. Perhaps you can do a few christmas type activities in the run up to the day itself, or would that actually be worse for him?..

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:52 pm

      Thanks, great to have you link up again πŸ™‚

  15. Kirsty Ho Fat
    December 7, 2015 / 11:01 am

    It’s my first Christmas with our 8-month-old son, so I guess he’s not very aware of what’s happening. We’re also in the midst of moving house, with the big day on the 17th December. So it’s all rather busy, but we’re not letting any of it get in the way of us enjoying the family spirit of the festive period. Yes, moving house can be stressful, but I’m really trying to not let it get that way. At the moment we’re all managing and staying stress-free. Let’s see how I get on closer to the time! #Marvmonday
    Kirsty Ho Fat recently posted…Twisted Typist Personalised KeyringMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 9:05 pm

      Oh wow, theres a lot going on for you guys, but its all very exciting! Itll be fabulous to be in just before christmas. I cant imagine a more special first christmas for your little one! I hope it all goes really well for you all, good luck with the move πŸ™‚

  16. Rhyming with wine
    December 7, 2015 / 11:12 am

    never has a truer post been written. yes yes yes to all of these points. It’s never quite what you imagine with kids, but it’s amazing all the same! dawn x #marvmondays
    Rhyming with wine recently posted…A little rhyme for your cards…My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      Thanks Dawn. Its so nice to hear that others have had similar experiences. It makes it feel much more normal when you realise its not just you, and even better when you realise that actually its just about making the most of it when theyre so little πŸ™‚

  17. Ky
    December 7, 2015 / 11:36 am

    Last year Clem was only 4 months old so had no idea what was going on, this year I’m sure she will be more interested in the wrapping paper and boxes than the presents. i’m looking forward to when she starts to understand it more.x #marvmondays
    Ky recently posted…Stars – Weekend FashionMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:50 pm

      I remember those stages. Our little lady was 6 months old during her first christmas, 18 months for her second one and now 2.5 for her third one and each year gets more special and exciting. I’m sure Clem will love getting stuck in this year πŸ™‚

  18. December 7, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    Oh yes! And you row about the telly because you want to watch one thing and they want to watch another and don’t want to go for a walk or … So funny!

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      Lol, totally! So many things to squabble about, especially once you are all off work and nursery/school for an extended period of time!

  19. Lex
    December 7, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    I totally agree, Christmas is what you make of it. My daughter is only 10.5months but already loves the tree, decorations and lights. She knows she gets a chocolate in the morning, she doesn’t understand how you get the chocolate or why there’s only one. Loved this post #KCACOLS
    Lex recently posted…It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      Aw bless her, how sweet! I bet she is absolutely loving December. Enjoy it all, they grow so quickly! πŸ™‚

  20. The Day is Today
    December 7, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    Haha, nothing with kids is quite how you imagine.

    Our wee man has only just turned one so is blissfully unaware of this christmas lark, next year I don’t think I’ll be so lucky!
    The Day is Today recently posted…White Chocolate Liqueur recipeMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:42 pm

      The first few years are definitely different to how you imagine, but still very special and magical! By next Christmas he’ll definitely be on the move and getting into everything ;-).

  21. December 7, 2015 / 6:25 pm

    h hun how funny! We are having our first Christmas alone as a three and you have reminded me I need to buy bits to dress our table! I am thinking our day may follow this pattern too. Hope you have a lovely time!! xx #marvmondays
    Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) recently posted…SLOWMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 7, 2015 / 8:39 pm

      Oooh, how exciting Sarah! The first christmas is really special, but definitely take a more care free and laid back approach to it for the first year or two. It will be lovely, but very much dictated by what your little one does/doesnt want to do. Either its magical, enjoy your first christmas as a three πŸ™‚ x

  22. December 7, 2015 / 10:08 pm

    This will be my daughter’s first Christmas – so far she’s cried at the fairy lights, cried at Father Christmas, and cried because we won’t let her eat tinsel… I’m still really excited for the big day though. I can’t wait to see what she makes of it all. πŸ™‚ #marvmondays
    Jessica Powell recently posted…The Book of EveryoneMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:58 pm

      Oh dear! That sounds like how our little one was last year. More scared than excited! Hopefully next year for you will be similar to our experience this year, which was like having a completely different child. She was so excited about everything to do with christmas. It was absolutely magical πŸ™‚

  23. December 7, 2015 / 10:14 pm

    ahhh yes, the joys of kids on christmas day! i love it but totally agree with all your points! we’ve had ‘is santa coming’ being asked every single night since the middle of november!! #marvmondays
    Helen Gandy recently posted…BrewBarrel – The Hubby Reviews!My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Not sure I could survive if being asked if santa is coming every day in November – December! Sure it was worth it when he finally did come though lol πŸ™‚

  24. December 8, 2015 / 7:57 am

    I’m really excited about Christmas this year as my son is 2.5 and is showing a real interest now but I TOTALLY get what you’re saying ha ha! We put our tree up on Sunday and I was so excited about it, as was my son, but he soon got bored and whined that we weren’t going to let him continuously turn the tree lights on and off. I still think it’s going to be an awesome time and that kids make Chirstmas magical, BUT like with all aspects of parenting I think it’s good to keep perfectionism out of it and keep a more realistic idea in mind, makes life all the more enjoyable πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing #marvmondays
    Laura recently posted…Book Review: Mothering Through The DarknessMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 11:00 pm

      Aww he is pretty much the same age as our little lady was this christmas. Wasnt it magical! Sure they had their moments, but we found it the best christmas yet just becuase she understood and was able to get involved in so much more. Hope you had a great day πŸ™‚

  25. Tammymum
    December 8, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    Oh you’re so right there! I think the magic might really begin when they’re 4/5. It is a lot of hard work for one day, yet we still pull out the stops for our little ones because we want it to be amazing for them, not that they’ll every remember it…. Oh the irony! #marvmondays
    Tammymum recently posted…Surviving the children’s wardΒ My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      Oh so, so ironic! But you cant help it right, im sure we all do it, each and every year lol.

  26. Something Crunchy Mummy
    December 9, 2015 / 8:06 am

    We have this – Christmas is lovely but full of such emotion!! #marvmondays xx
    Something Crunchy Mummy recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays #44My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 9, 2015 / 8:37 am

      It’s always much more eventful than I think it’ll be πŸ™‚

  27. Sarah
    December 9, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    Sooo true!! In our case it’s a houseful of crazed neices and nephews who are so high on Christmas that when they crash and burn it’s cataclysmic!!! im looking fwd to christmas but mostly because my hub had two weeks off work and can help with the boys!!! #marvmondays
    Sarah recently posted…Zesty Lime and Coconut Drizzle CakeMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:55 pm

      It sounds very hectic! But children are totally what makes christmas, even if they are a houseful of crazed nieces and nephews lol

  28. Catie
    December 10, 2015 / 12:04 pm

    There are such a lot of truths in this and moments I can totally relate to. You are right, Christmas is what you make it. I just wrote aboutchristmas stress and my message was; stop having unrealistic expectations and be kind to ourselves. My son had Autism so we have to parr down Christmas for him X #coolmumsclub

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:51 pm

      It is totally about what you make it. I think as long as you dont build it up too much in your mind, generally it turns out to be a lovely day for everyone. Hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas πŸ™‚

  29. December 10, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    Where oh where to stash all the new stuff! That’s my biggest problem too! My new rule is one thing in one thing out. OTher than that i love everything Christmas πŸ™‚ #coolmumclub
    Kyles @ Pickles and pords recently posted…The importance of nursery rhymesMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:52 pm

      I know, we are still figuring out where to put everything from Christmas! Hope you guys had a lovely day πŸ™‚

  30. December 10, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    There are the magical moments of Christmas – and then there’s these! Taking the rough with the smooth in this parent lark as usual then! thanks so much for linking to #coolmumclub chick! x
    Talya recently posted…Welcome to the #coolmumclub…week 10!My Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      So true! I find a healthy dose of reality is always good. I think its the brand new parents that are the most at risk, at least we were a few Christmasses ago! lol

  31. December 10, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    Annette recently posted…5 practical top tips for going to Lapland UK with a toddlerMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      Oh dear, sounds like you have a very particular little one – chocolate afficianado it sounds like πŸ˜‰

  32. December 10, 2015 / 9:50 pm

    I’ve just written a post about the advent calendar situation! I’m weary of this years christmas. my son will be 18mo and still understands little so i wonder what he’ll make of the presents this year. #CoolMumClub
    Becky (@EducatingR) recently posted…Christmas: The Advent CalendarMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      January 11, 2016 / 10:54 pm

      There were so many days when I wished we hadnt started the advent calendar this year. We got there in the end, but not until many mornings of tears and bribary! Maybe next year will be better.. πŸ˜‰

  33. Notmyyearoff
    December 11, 2015 / 8:57 am

    Hehe this made me chuckle. And if you play your cards right, you’ll be fast asleep on the sofa by early evening through just being tired from the very early start. Hope you have a lovely Xmas xx
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…The Cosatto 2016 Spring / Summer range – A little previewMy Profile

    • My Petit Canard
      December 29, 2015 / 3:49 pm

      Ha, ha, you werent far off! It went much better than expected, definitely an improvement on last year :-). Hope you had a lovely Christmas too! x

  34. December 12, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    I know lovely. Christmas can be a little hectic especially with kids but at the same time it is just so magical to have them around. They make the whole christmas much more special!! We don’t normally host christmas at home so i don’t stress as much also we only spend it with Nick’s family as my family are far far away so it is less people to worry as Nick’s family is very small! The only think is to get the tree done ,the xmas cards sent and the get the presents mainly to the girls!! Thanks for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I’m so happy to have you again this week.

  35. December 12, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    I know I’ve just commented this lovely post but I’m back to say thank you for hosting #Marvmondays πŸ™‚ xxx

    • My Petit Canard
      December 14, 2015 / 9:09 am

      Thank you lovely, always a pleasure. Thank you for linking up, its always nice to read your posts πŸ™‚

  36. November 14, 2016 / 9:41 am

    This will be our first Christmas as parents so will bear this in mind

  37. November 14, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    #marvmondays love this, weirdly I wouldn’t have it any other way haha. He is three now and it does get better each year x
    Fridge says recently posted…The little things x2My Profile

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