Now that your new baby has arrived, you may be getting inundated with invitations. It’s only natural: Everyone wants to meet your little one, and gather together to celebrate the holidays with the newest family member.
But before you go about trying to be in two places at once, take a step back and take a breath. All these people who want to see you and your little one will — maybe just not where they were expecting.
Get them to your place!
Even if your house is a little crowded, you can still have a lot of fun, and everyone should be satisfied by the end of the night. With some smart preparation and a few tricks, you can ensure that even your baby has a holiday to remember.
Before you even start planning a meal, get a head count of who you can expect. And if you don’t have a table at which everyone can sit, who says you can't extend the eating area to another room?
Invite everyone that would be at the other gatherings and explain why you're holding the event at your house this year. If you're truthful and tell one and all that you'd still love to see them but your little one needs more attention than you could give at someone's home during a big family dinner, they'll understand.
Once you get your guest list ready, plan a menu that you can take care of quickly. Choose a main course that cooks for a long time on its own (a slow-cooker dish or something that can be in the oven for a while is key), and then ask your guests to bring side dishes, appetizers, salads, or dessert. Drinks are always welcome, too. And if other children are attending, ask a parent to bring kid drinks.
Don’t feel as though you have to make everything picture-perfect. Days and dinners like those during the holidays aren’t marked by how shiny the flatware or how lovely the tablecloths are. Gather enough seating and dishes and glasses for everyone and prepare the food — that's all you need to do. And since you’re among family, you shouldn’t feel pressured to wait on all your guests.
Once the dinner is over, your relatives can take turns meeting and cuddling with your little one while you and the others clear the table, load the dishwasher, and put away the food. Teamwork is imperative in both getting things ready and having a successful winding-down of the evening here. Recruit any children old enough to help out. Of course, the children will want their own chance to play with the baby (or the baby's toys, anyway).
Capturing the Moments
As you’re watching your family members gather around and introduce themselves to your little one, be sure to get pictures and videos! It could be a while until they all get together again.
In the end, remember that a holiday get-together can grow and change over time, just as families do. You have your own family now, and you can establish new traditions while embracing ones from your past. And with a little maneuvering and some streamlined planning, you can have a holiday dinner that might just be the best one yet.