Dorothy Waide's top 20 tips for surviving Christmas

"Christmas is so much fun for little ones but it is also a very stressful time with added expenses and the pull of close ones wanting a little of everyone.

Here are a few of my tips that I share with parents to tackle the silly season with little ones."


  1. Remember to check whether all family members are healthy, especially with the recent measles outbreak – it is better to be at home and keep your new-born safe.  
  2. Handwashing is very important – it doesn’t stop or ensure your new-born will stay healthy but it’s a good preventative.
  3. Talk to your partner and ensure you are both on the same page and have their support. Your hormones will be all over the place and YES it is okay to have a meltdown if the day gets too much for you.
  4. Babies are little humans; not dolls, so it is important not to hand them around to all the family members and friends unless YOU choose to.
  5. Babies don’t understand Christmas so keep it simple and work within your boundaries and needs rather than others. 
  6. It is okay to say NO to visitors and family gatherings.
  7. Don’t overdress or overheat your baby and remember to keep a new-born out of the sun. Babies can still be burnt in the shade too.


  1. Again, check in to see if family members are healthy – it is better to stay at home and keep your little ones safe.
  2. You call the shots and remember it is okay to work around nap times - babies are always so much easier to manage when they are not overtired.
  3. If travelling, try and plan the trip around nap times and take breaks to stop and feed, stretch your legs and allow your baby to have some flat lying down time.
  4. Getting enough sleep is important. If they have a cuddly toy, white noise or other sleep aid, remember to take it with you. If you are staying at someone’s house and you are not sure how dark their bedrooms are – check out the static black out blinds on Dorothy’s website – www.babyhelp.co.nz. If camping, take your travel cot and also a black out tent that goes over the cot – ensuring your little ones get enough sleep makes it better for Christmas.
  5. Keep gifts to a minimum as like new-borns, older babies don’t yet understand the excitement of Christmas.
  6. If you are choosing to do photos with Santa, wait until the camera person is 100% ready to click before you pop your baby in Santa’s lap. Quick and fast often ensures you get the family photo.
  7. Buggies and car seats can overheat so ensure you use ones that allow good ventilation. When out and about, check to ensure they are okay from time to time. Sleep Store www.sleepstore.co.nz have black snooze shades available.


This is the time that Christmas comes alive for little ones!

  1. Toddlers absolutely love Christmas trees. To keep your toddler away from the tree, I suggest putting your tree into a play pen. If you are happy that your toddler enjoys the tree put the breakable ornaments up high and the non-breakables down low so your toddler can have fun and enjoy the tree.
  2. Toddlers love unwrapping and playing with empty boxes so if money is tight just wrap a few boxes up and let them go for it.
  3. If you are having a family Christmas day with all the traditional food, ensure you have toddler friendly food as well.
  4. Christmas Eve is so exciting – let your toddler help you put out the carrots for the reindeer and glass of milk for Santa. Another exciting build up to Christmas is Elf on the Shelf and Christmas advent calendars to help with the countdown.
  5. Yes, routines tend to go out the window over the festive season but remember a well-rested baby or toddler is far better than an overtired one. They can still nap in the car or the buggy and their naps may be shorter than usual.
  6. For toddlers and older children remember Santa Claus comes to all children whether they have been ‘naughty ‘ or ‘nice’. Try not use Santa as a behavioural incentive because whether your toddler is good or not, Santa always comes.