Max in his reindeer onesie

How We’re Preparing for Our First Christmas With a Baby

cute baby in Reindeer onesie

baby in reindeer onesie

Baby Max at 10 months old

Baby Max playing with his wooden stacking toyI never thought I’d say this – especially not in November – but guys? I think I’m pretty much prepared for Christmas.

Yes, ME: the world’s biggest Christmas grinch. The same me who used the fact that she was about to have a baby as an excuse not to bother putting up a tree last year. The same me who doesn’t exchange Christmas gifts with her husband, because they both agreed that the very best gift they could give each other would be the gift of not having to give each other gifts.

(Er, also the same me who’s apparently decided to start referring to herself in the 3rd person, for some reason. I’ll stop that now, before it gets out of hand, shall I? )

This year, though, things are a little different. This will be our first Christmas without Terry’s mum, of course, which I know will be hard in ways we haven’t even begun to imagine yet. But it will also be our first Christmas with Max, and, for that reason alone, I’m feeling much more excited about it than I usually would. And, I mean, it’s not like that would be difficult, obviously, because just as I am Not an Autumn Person, I am not usually much of a Christmas Person, either. Quelle surprise, right?

A girl can change, though, and even although we know perfectly well that Max won’t have even the slightest idea that it’s Christmas, and will care even less, that hasn’t stopped Terry and I thinking about what our Christmases might be like, with a little person around. So, we have a new Christmas tree, plus a ton of things to decorate it with. We’ve bought approximately 80% of the gifts on our list. We’ve… dressed Max like a reindeer. And here’s a quick look at how we’re preparing for our first Christmas as a family of three…


Now, don’t get me wrong: I love our existing Christmas tree. It is, however, a bit of a minimal design, and while that was exactly the look we were going for in the past, as Max gets older, I’m pretty sure he won’t be running around shrieking, “I can’t wait to put up our stylish, minimal Christmas tree, and accessorise it with a few carefully chosen baubles, mummy!” I mean, I guess he MIGHT, but I suspect he’ll probably be more excited by a slightly more traditional tree, which is why, earlier this week, we took delivery of this guy:

new Christmas tree

It’s the blue mountain spruce, from Cox & Cox*, and, don’t worry: we may be slowly turning into Christmas People, but I don’t think we’ll EVER be the kind who put their Christmas tree up in November, so this photo was taken right after it arrived, when we quickly set it up, just to make sure the lights were working, and that it would actually fit into our living room. It’s back in the box now, obviously, and that’s where it’ll be staying until December, no matter how many times Terry says, “But don’t you think we should maybe do a trial run, just to make sure we have enough decorations for it?” Honestly, from the way he’s been talking about this tree, you’d think we were going to be graded on its final appearance or something. (OMG, WHAT DOES HE KNOW?!)

Cox & Cox blue mountain spruce Christmas tree

Anyway, as I’ve said a firm NO to the whole ‘trial run’ idea, we didn’t take the time to arrange the branches etc properly for this quick photo, so here’s one from the company’s website, to show you what it’ll look like when it’s properly arranged, and fully-decorated:

Blue mountain fir Christmas tree

Like, it’ll look EXACTLY like this, because I expect we’ll totally have the necessary skills to replicate this, yes? And, in related news, yes, I think we probably WILL need to buy some additional decorations, now I really think about it. So far, we have some of the huge star lights shown above, plus the light-up tree topper (And, full disclosure, the tree was gifted, but we bought all of the decorations ourselves…), and last week we went out to buy some baubles and came home with two giant bags full of sparkly stuff. This is in addition to the tree decorations we already have, obviously, but… yeah. Maybe just a few more?


One of the things Terry and I wanted to think quite carefully about was exactly what/how much we’d get Max in terms of Christmas gifts. The issue here is that, as much as we want to be able to spoil him a bit, and make sure the season feels magical to him, we don’t want to LITERALLY spoil him, or have him be totally overwhelmed with STUFF. We’re very aware that he has a large and generous family, and he ALSO has a birthday just four days after Christmas itself, so we’re really keen to try to find the right balance, and make sure that he has some lovely gifts to open on the day, but not so many that he’s not able to appreciate them all, and it all starts to feel a bit meaningless, really.

Also, let’s face it: we know perfectly well that, no matter WHAT we get him, he’s just going to want to play with the box it came in anyway, so we’ve bought him a few little toys we think he’ll like…

Christmas gifts for baby

(Railway set; pull-along crocodile; xylophone; puzzle)

… and, along with those, Terry also had the idea of making a couple of sensory boxes: so, you basically just take a box you’re not using, fill it up with crinkly paper, or streamers, or anything else noisy/colourful that a baby might like, and then wrap it up. I’m willing to bet that these will be much more interesting to Max than anything else we buy for him, to be honest. We’ll see.

(Also, when we were in the car earlier this week, I heard an advert on the radio about one of our local supermarkets – I’m pretty sure it was ASDA, but I’m going to have to double-check on that – who’re putting out donation boxes for toys, to be given to local children who’d otherwise have very little/nothing at all at Christmas. Max has quite a few things he’s now outgrown, so I’m going to gather them up and drop them off next time we’re in the supermarket. I’d quite like this to be an annual thing, that Max gets involved in too, when he’s older, so he understands that not everyone is fortunate enough to have lots of toys etc, and how important it is to give something back…)

Oh, and I obviously also got him some clothes…
baby Max prepared for his first Christmas


Everything here is from JoJo Maman Bebe, including the little reindeer onesie, which I couldn’t wait until December to put on him. Oh, come on, I’m not made of steel, people! As you can see, I went in hard on the reindeer theme here, so he’s a got a reindeer all-in one, another reindeer all-in one, (Both of these are a cashmere mix, and they’re just so soft and gorgeous that I can’t tell you how happy I am that we’re long past the reflux stage, and I can trust him not to just instantly throw up on them…) plus some new pyjamas, and the cutest little sleepsuit ever. I’m not actually waiting until Christmas day to give him these (Other than the flannel PJs, which I might save for Christmas Eve/morning), so if you follow me on Instagram, you can expect to see Max dressed like a reindeer throughout the festive period, not even sorry.


As for the day itself, we actually don’t have too much planning to do there, as we’ll be having dinner with my parents, as usual: my mum has been planning her Christmas table since about February, as far as I’m aware, and every time we remind them not to go overboard on buying gifts for Max, they both get a kind of shifty look about them, and change the subject. Yes.

We’re also planning a big family dinner with Terry’s side of the family, who’ll we’ll exchange gifts with at that point. As I said, it’s going to be heartbreaking not having Terry’s mum with us this year: she loved Christmas, and I know she’d have gotten a huge kick out of seeing Max in his little outfit, opening up his gifts, so, honestly, no matter how carefully we plan it, Christmas this year is always going to be bittersweet, at best. I’m just glad we have our little reindeer to help distract us, and although I know he won’t have a clue what day it is, I’m hoping he’ll enjoy it all anyway.

Oh, and finally, there’s also this book, which my mum picked up in ALDI last week, and which is currently making EVERY day feel like Christmas in our house: (You’ll need sound on for the full effect…)

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A post shared by Max Miaoulis (@maxmiaoulis) on

This is how Max “dances” right now, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that he does this every single time this tune plays. Every time. Even when I sing it to him – and I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, so that’s saying something.

I mean, it’s hard not to feel just a tiny bit festive right now, you know?

*This post contains PR samples. All opinions are my own.

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books by Amber Eve
  • Max is ridiculously cute! And looking cheekier with each post. I’d definitely be more christmassy if I had kids.

    I was never a Christmas person. Well I was when I was a child, of course, and that lasted till my younger siblings had grown up. But as an adult I’ve always been glad once new year is out of the way and I can look forward to the spring. I did use to enjoy spending a few quiet days at my mum’s though and I do like going to midnight mass with my dad. But all that rich food and awful telly!

    Now I’m settled down with a partner I’m enjoying the Christmas spirit again. Woe beside that tree going up before December though. And come January 2nd, it’s away.

    November 16, 2018
  • Myra


    Christmas is all about the kids, who make it magical. Wishing you many happy kid Christmases

    November 16, 2018
  • Carly


    Max is looking very cute! We have a four year old boy and we’ve always tried very hard not to spoil him at Christmas as like Max, his birthday is not long after. We’ve been quite strict about the “something he wants, something he needs, something to wear and something to read,” rule with good effect. Although it does earn me looks of disdain from other mothers who cannot believe there won’t be a mountain of presents to open on Christmas morning!

    November 16, 2018
  • Mary


    As we also prepare for our first Christmas with a baby, this post came at the perfect time. Like Max, Logan is a Christmas baby (he was born on Boxing Day) so we’re trying to navigate the whole Christmas/Birthday thing without going over the top. Having said that, I’ve totally fallen for the Christmas Eve Box trend and have a feeling that I will get carried away no matter how hard I try not to, ha!

    November 16, 2018
  • Ciara


    I don’t know if it’s just me but shoeperwoman seems to be down? I got an error when I tried to read your post.

    November 16, 2018
    • Kelly Glen


      I also got this today, I was wondering what had happened because there was a post called End of an era that I wanted to read and find out what was happening.

      November 16, 2018
  • Jenna


    My husband’s birthday is about a week after Christmas, and he was always disappointed as a child, because many family members would give him a birthday gift at Christmas and he couldn’t quite figure out why he didn’t get birthday gifts on his birthday like his friends and sister. (He gets the logic now obviously). But he is always very keen on making sure holidays and birthdays are separate for those kids in our lives who have them close together. He’d be happy to hear you are separating the two!

    November 16, 2018
  • Katie


    A tradition we started with our girls was taking them to a Christmas shop each year and letting them pick a “special” tree decoration. (Some have been very special lol, particularly the early ones!). They get a little label put in them with the year and their initial, and then go on the tree each year.

    The idea is that when they leave home they’ll take their decorations with them, and have them as a starting point for their own tree.

    We’re still taking them every year, even at 18 and 22!

    November 17, 2018
  • As the last person on earth to discover your blog I have to say I really think you are an amazing woman. Opinionated and respectful, dressed amazingly, making small things beautiful and you have the cutest baby boy so now I want another baby. Again 😉 I have something to read now in those spare quiet moments now.
    I am not so keen on christmas either but for little ones it is so special. We have modest christmases with mostly non material gifts. (but they are between 3 and 10 so they get the idea). The donation boxes are such a sweet idea 🙂

    November 17, 2018
  • Oh, goodness, Max little dance does feel like Christmas, hahaha. He is so cute!
    I love the little seasonal clothes you chose for him, and I am sure you will get loads of festive pictures you will treasure afterwards.
    This is going to be kind of a bittersweet year for me too due to some medical problems in the family, but I wish we all manage to make the best of it.
    I am sure your beautiful family will do just fine.

    November 18, 2018