How to have holiday fun with a baby in the city

Congratulations once again on that baby-person you have in your house! And to have a family in Chicago during the holiday season? Aces.


“He looks like a pink nightmare!”

**Our personal Christmas tradition – meaning, we did it when our baby was two months old and the pictures turned out so hilarious we can’t afford not to do it every year – is to find some sort of “pink nightmare” pajamas from “A Christmas Story,” dress the baby up in it and laugh until our sides hurt. It’s amazing.


Except … have you ever noticed almost all of the articles and lists about Christmas activities for families seem to be more geared for families with kids who can (how can I put this delicately? I can’t, so here goes … ) remember and enjoy just how special this time of year is?


I have.


ZooLights? More like, “Zoo… My-baby’s-sleep-would-be-ruined-for-a-week-for-something-he-literally-will-have-no-enjoyment-over … Lights.”


Go see the spectacular live production of “A Christmas Carol!” Or rather, see the first 15 minutes before the baby becomes overtired or nervous or angry that he can’t crawl around freely and has no idea why he’s sitting down and has to be quiet … Carol.


You get the idea. Your baby is possibly too old to sleep through things but too young to appreciate the holiday activities lined up for kids just a wee bit older. You have the (potentially sobbing/wedding slideshow pictures) Santa picture, but you feel like you’re missing out on so many cool holiday things! So what do you do?


Here are a few of my ideas I’ve had so far.


Actually get your shopping done


Relish the fact that this is probably the only Christmas you can actually take your child shopping with you for their presents and after you come home you don’t even really have to hide them. This is parenting bliss, so make sure you lap up this luxurious benefit of having an itty bitty one around the house.




Bundle up and enjoy yourselves. Take selfies and show your friends from other cities why you live in the northern tundra instead of a more temperate land. There are delicious treats for the solid-food-munchers to enjoy, it’s a walking/strolling/baby-wearing-friendly activity, and of course, there’s glühwein. In boot mugs.


If things get too cold, hop over to go get more shopping done downtown (see above re: enjoying being able to shop for your baby while baby is in tow). It’s an activity on every “Must-do in Chicago around Christmas list,” and that’s because it’s awesome.


Make some ornaments for the grandparents


Hand and foot prints are grandparent catnip, so take one of the grey days in and put those chubby little hands and feet to use and rack up some Christmas karma! Salt dough ornaments are just as cheesy as you remember, but luckily you’re cheesy and lame now that you’re a parent, so it all works out.


Basic salt dough recipe:


4 cups flour


1 cup salt


1 ½ cups water


Mix flour and salt, then add water. If mixture is too dry, add about ¼ cup more water.


Roll out dough, cut into desired shape, press adorable baby hand and/or feet into ornament, and poke hole with straw into the top.


Bake in 275 degree oven for 2-3 hours, until hard and then enjoy the in-law karma points you just racked up for the holiday season.


Just relax already


Everyone has told me how much I’ll miss this time because (everyone say it together now, you know it’s coming!) it goes by so fast.


The thing about that piece of wisdom, though, is that it’s true. Infuriating to hear for the duodecillionth* time, yes, but true.


So dress your baby up in ridiculous outfits** because they do not have a say in it and it’s hilarious. Cozy up next to your tree that’s decorated from the top half up and just enjoy it. Those cool Christmas shows and activities that happen after dark will be there next year, but your wee one not knowing the difference between the toy and the box it comes in won’t. Roll around on the floor with Christmas music playing in the background and relax.


And if you can’t relax, there’s always mulled wine in boot mugs.


*That’s a 1 with 39 zeroes. Now you’ve learned something today!


Do you have any tips or favorite activities for babies during the holiday season in Chicago? Share them in the comments below!

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