A mother's guide to making the most of Christmas

There was a time when Christmas meant lots of chocolate, lots of champagne, late nights and lazy mornings.

But everything changes when you have little ones to think about at this time of year, filled with family gatherings and celebratory parties.

It's likely that your usual plans have gone out of the window, and you might be feeling pressure to do the rounds and show off your child to family and friends. And it can be a tiring time, getting into the spirit of things all the while caring for a baby.

So should you hibernate with your child this year, or head out to the relatives for a big family get-together? HELLO! Online weighs up the pros and cons…

Christmas at home

Nothing sounds more appealing than battening down the hatches and spending the festive season snuggled up with your child and partner.

The big bonus of staying at home is that you can stick to your routine. Your baby will be in a familiar environment, so is likely to stay relaxed and calm, avoiding the stress that could come with unfamiliar surroundings. You will also have everything you need on hand, be it food or favorite toys, and of course, putting your little one down in his or her cot only increases the chances of sleep-filled nights!

While staying at home offers a relaxed, no-fuss day, you might run the risk of upsetting family members desperate to spend time with you and the baby.

The best approach is to be honest; explain that as a new family you want to spend the first Christmas on your own – it's perfectly understandable. And you can suggest another date for the diary so relatives don't worry about missing out, or even worse, just turn up!

Christmas with grandparents

You want nothing more than to spend Christmas with family, who will feed you, look after the baby and change as many nappies as you want!

Spending Christmas with family is a great idea if you are hoping for some help. Our parents have already been there and done that, and will only be delighted to lend a hand should you need it.

It's likely you will be waited on hand and foot, and given the chance to catch up on some much needed-sleep knowing your baby is being well looked after.

While it's lovely to have everyone making a fuss of your baby, you might feel it a bit overwhelming, particularly if you feel like you aren't getting quality time with your little one.

What's more, it might be a bit much for your baby, who is likely to get confused if they are being passed and cuddled by a never-ending carousel of relatives.

Set aside quiet time for yourselves, and try to stick to your routine as much as possible - it will reassure your child and help you stay connected.

Christmas with friends

You consider your friends your extended family and want nothing more than to celebrate Christmas all together.

If your friends are already parents this could be a great idea for a fun Christmas. As your families come together over the festive period, you will get the chance to put your feet up for five minutes and also have a great laugh with your friends – the best of both worlds.

Friends without children might not be so understanding about the lack of sleep. And these days you are more about routines than raucous late nights.

Be up front and explain the situation – if they sound a bit wary, it might be wise to knock it on the head, but if they are up for it, jump in the car and enjoy cheery Christmas companionship.

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