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Christmas Craft Memories Guest Blog Post by April!

mom with girl baking cookies

My daughter is a year and a half old. I am so excited to be able to begin doing crafty things with her like my siblings and I used to do with my mom!

Holiday Baking with my Daughter

For Halloween our major project was our pumpkins. We wouldn’t carve them, we use to paint them. Painting them gave us so much more freedom in choosing our designs, and the pumpkins lasted longer. For Thanksgiving, we would make turkeys from our hand prints. Christmas was always my favorite. We would make different ornaments. We made snowmen with popsicle sticks, reindeer with clothespins, and we would buy plain white globes to paint. As much fun as all that was, my favorite activity for all three holidays is making sugar cookies. Preparing the dough, cutting the shapes, and then decorating them with all the different colors of icing.

Thank you to guest blogger April Bruinekool.

 

 

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Baby’s First Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas

A Red Stocking personalized christmas Ornaments

Your Baby’s First Christmas will be exciting and fun for Mommy and Daddy, and certainly happy for your child as well.  Is a Christmas Stocking part of your family’s tradition?  Did you have a fun time picking out just the right stocking and maybe have it personalized with the baby’s name?  We hope you purchased a big stocking because as your child gets older, the stocking stuffers get larger too!   We encourage you to add, as the first gift in your baby’s Christmas stocking, a personalized Baby’s First Christmas ornament from Calliope Designs.com.  We have so many cute ones to choose from.  You can even have one that is All About Baby, with his or her birth stats, name, and holiday greeting all done to order.

Here are some suggestions for stocking stuffers for baby by age:

Newborn to 3 months old:

– A new Binkie!  Maybe a red, green, and white one just for Christmas day and all of the fun photos that will be taken.

– Cute baby socks with ruffles and pink for little girls, and trucks and blue for little boys.  You can never have too many newborn socks.

– A cute Christmas onesie, decorated with cute pictures of ornaments, a Christmas tree, reindeer or Santa.  Also good for those wonderful Christmas photo sessions.

– A board book such as Goodnight Moon, or Global Babies.  It’s never too early to start reading to your little one and teach them a love of books and reading.  And so many baby board books are available now.

– A cute chewable stuffed animal or creature!  Something that has texture, scratchy, soft, smooth, and something that has bright colors.

– A not too noisy rattle or something baby can wrap a little hand around and shake.  Just make sure it’s not too hard and won’t hurt if banged against a little head or face.

– A sweet music cd to play at bedtime.  Something soothing, with a good clear beat and rhythm, like ethnic music. Idea: Dreamland, World Lullabies, and Soothing Songs.

– A teething ring for those coming months.

From 3-9 months:

– A Whozit!  A favorite interactive stuffed funny faced toy loved by many children.  (We needed 3, one for the car, one for purse, one for home)

– Again, small board books. Baby can now turn pages and look at books on his or her own, but other fun books that can be read from the backseat passenger.

CDs for the car.  Sesame Street Favorites, Pete Seeger: Folk Songs for Young People, Peter Paul and Mommy, The Beatles 1, and other fun sing-alongs.

– More socks

– A cute Christmas T-Shirt with matching tights or pants.

– New mittens and cap for snowy days outside

Healthy treats for baby.

– New toothbrush

– A sippy cup

– A new tiny teddy bear.

From 9 months to a year:

Socks or slippers with treads or traction on the bottom, for those early attempts at walking.

Christmas Sweat Shirt, with matching pants or tights.  Always be thinking about those Christmas photos.

Bath toy, a new rubber ducky perhaps?

Bath mitt and fun gooey tub paints.

Teething rings and toothbrush.

Board books of colors and shapes

Music CDs for bedtime and in the car.

-Fun age appropriate healthy packaged snacks and drinks.

These are just getting started ideas.  Of course, it’s not necessary to go overboard with gifts and toys for a child this age.  Your time is the most valuable gift you can give your baby, and lots of hugs, kisses, and special times together.

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Milestone Accomplished – Driver’s License is Obtained!

Driver's License Personalized Christmas Ornaments Female Blonde

As our children grow up there are so many milestones we celebrate!  (Of course, we have personalized ornaments for all of them!)   It’s walking, talking, potty training.  Riding a tricycle, then a two-wheeler.  First Day of School.  First lost a tooth.  Then Braces!  Each little step moving through childhood toward becoming grown-up is acknowledged along the way with pride and fun traditions.

 Your Child is All Grown Up with a Drivers License!

Many of these milestones are more important to the parents than they are to the child.  But when it comes to getting a Driver’s License, that’s a big one – for that is long anticipated, studied for, practiced for, and really is one of the first true steps to independence. That’s why we have special personalized driver’s license Christmas ornaments to mark this occasion.  The ornament is a picture of a driver’s license, with a girl or boy’s head on it, and a big car key!  We add the name and the year, and the state to make it like a real driver’s license.

In California, a student can get a learner’s permit at age 15 1/2.  They are required to study the California Driver’s Manual with all of the laws of the road and to take and pass a lengthy examination.  The student also is required to take a certain number of hours of private driver’s instruction from a certified organization.  California used to offer driver’s training classes in the public high school system, but budgetary restrictions have taken those classes off the roster.  It is now up the student and parents to find and pay for private instruction.  After having the permit and passing the 16th birthday mark, the student can apply for a real driver’s license and can enjoy driving to school, classes, sports events, and the like.  There is still one restriction.  A newly licensed driver cannot drive with other kids in the car for six months!  The state of California feels this restriction has lowered the number of teen driving accidents overall.

Custom Holiday Ornament Gift Idea

Here’s an amazing idea:  Give your student a driver’s license ornament and attach the keys to a car Christmas gift to the ornament!  Imagine his or her surprise on Christmas morning when the little box with an ornament is opened in front of the family.  Yes, some confusion, what is this?  An ornament?  Ohhhh it’s a car key!  And the car is waiting out in front of the house.  What a fun Christmas morning for your new teen driver.  Thank you, Mom (Mrs. Claus) and Dad (Santa)!  And Merry Christmas with safe driving ahead.

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Start Your Own Family Traditions for Christmas Eve

pajamas family of 3 personalized christmas ornament

Every person who celebrates the Christmas holiday brings their own family traditions to their adulthood.  And when a new family is formed through marriage, or living together, there will be new ideas and compromise and creativity in starting new traditions that can be a blend of both family’s past, or completely new.  Family traditions don’t have to begin when there’s a baby, but if one hasn’t before, this is the perfect time to start thinking about what you would like to do with your child over the coming years of celebration.  Let’s start with Christmas Eve, the beginning of the story of Christmas.

Start and Keep Family Traditions for Years to Come

Some ideas from friends, from our family, from the internet, and from magazines:

– Is religious worship going to be part of the holiday for your family?  If so, visit your church, or if you are not a member of a church, find a lovely house of worship to visit that evening.  It is truly hard to resist the beauty of a wonderfully decorated church at night, the candlelight, the red ribbon swags, the fresh evergreen smell, and the beautiful story and hymns.  In our family, we loved to go to midnight services at the local Episcopal church in San Carlos, California.  It was a treat to go and be out so late, and also had a beautiful calming effect for a good night’s sleep.

– When do you have your main holiday meal with family? Is Christmas Eve a simple meal?  Prepared at home, or take out?   It took my mother, who is now 93, many many years to realize Christmas Eve was the better night to have a big fancy turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Yes, it was fun and festive and delicious.  And we all helped clean up the table and dishes.  Then the next day, Christmas Day, we had a beautiful spread of leftovers for dinner and she, my mom, didn’t have to spend the entire day cooking!  We weren’t from a big family – no aunts, uncles, cousins, to share the holiday cooking.  So it was all on our mother to prepare, and this was a lovely tradition we established.

– Do you decorate the tree on Christmas Eve when the children are asleep?

– What arrangements do you make for Santa and the Reindeer?  Cookies and milk?

– Are Christmas stockings, stuffed with age-appropriate small items going to be part of Christmas morning?  Believe it or not, my adult children still want their stockings if they are home for Christmas. And now there’s a son in law and grandson, so we are still in the stocking stuffer shopping club.

– Will you have a Christmas eve family photo in front of the tree?

– Would you enjoy taking the kids for a drive around town to see the decorated homes?  Does your town have a Santa Claus Lane, where everyone on those blocks decorates their homes?

– Do you have a favorite Christmas movie to watch every single Christmas Eve?  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Peanuts Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (first filmed in 1947!), Babes in Toyland,  The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman, Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, or The Polar Express to name a few.

– Are you going to open just one gift for each person on Christmas Eve?  Many families do this right after Church services.  And one of the cutest ideas I’ve heard from a friend was that everyone gets new matching pj’s on Christmas Eve and then poses for a holiday photo.  – That was a Grandmother gift by the way.

Whatever your Christmas Eve traditions become they will be yours, they will be remembered, they will be treasured.  And many will be passed down through generations.  Favorite recipes, fabulous ornaments for the tree, fun photo albums of Christmas past.

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Catchy Quotes About Our Pets

cat and dog in santa hats

We love our pets and expect very little in return for their food, their home, their entertainment.  Of course, our dogs and cats entertain us too.  Our dogs take us out for walks so we can get our exercise.  They sleep on our bed so we can stay warm.  They lick the tears off our faces when we are sad.  And wag their tails in greeting making us feel welcomed upon coming home.  Our kitty cats are equally adorable in their habits but do tend to keep us on our toes in the expectations department, as we accept they will only do what they want to do about 99.9% of each day.

Personalized Pet Christmas Ornaments at Calliope Designs

The holidays are even more fun when you have a pet, and we’ve made quite a selection of adorable pet personalized Christmas ornaments for our own pets, and for gifts for friends.

Here are some funny and thoughtful quotes from some famous people, and some anonymous contributors.  Quotes are interesting ways to start fun discussions at the dinner table with your family, especially children.

A house is not a home without a pet. – Anonymous

No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.  Abraham Lincoln

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  Roger Caras

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. – Ben Williams

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. – Mark Twain

The Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him. – Rudyard Kipling

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘My God, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that! – Dave Barry

Dogs have owners; cats have staff. – Anonymous

Cat Law of Selective Hearing “A cat can hear a mouse yawning a mile away while filtering out the sound of a pleading human just six feet away. – Anonymous

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this. – Anonymous

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. – Ambrose Bierce

“The purity of a person’s heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals” ~ Anonymous

“A dog has lots of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue.” ~ Anonymous

“If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead

“…he will be our friend for always and always and always.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”

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Welcome New Neighbors with an Ornament

House for Family of Five Personalized Christmas Ornament

Good Neighbors Are a Blessing! is the favorite term our customers like to put on a personalized Welcome to the Neighborhood Christmas ornament gift.  We all know that when someone moves into the neighborhood the first couple of months is a blur of boxes, unpacking, furniture delivery, home decoration, painting, even gardening to get the yard in shape.  It’s often difficult for new neighbors to make the first moves to meet others living in homes around them.  That’s why it’s a tradition to take a few first steps to introduce yourself and welcome them.

Say Hello to Your New Neighbors with an Ornament Gift

Some ideas to let them know this new neighborhood is a friendly place, and that you are looking forward to becoming acquainted.

– Leave a welcome card in their mailbox with a little note saying hello and including your name and phone number.  You might mention it if you have children, and what their ages are.  You might offer info re the best pizza place in the area, a good daycare facility, or that you like to walk for exercise every day and maybe they would enjoy joining sometime.

– Knock on the door and introduce yourself!  If you feel comfortable, and don’t think they’ll mind, just say hi and where you live and welcome!

– Have a little casual BBQ if it’s nice weather, and include another neighbor family.

– Invite them to a community event you might be involved in.

– Of course bring a platter of cookies, or a casserole if you have time and the inclination.  A plate of sandwiches would be nice too. Food is always welcome when a family is unpacking.  Keep it healthy and simple.

– Offer to give a hand, or explain the recycling procedures in the neighborhood.  Depending on where you live, this can sometimes be complicated.

– Tell new neighbors about a Neighborhood Watch program!  Give them a few phone numbers.  Everyone always appreciates greater security in their area.

– Organize a block party so everyone can meet each other.  This will get all the kids together too, and they usually make friends fast and want to follow up with play dates later.  At least the new family will get to see everyone and can smile when they see a familiar face at the grocery store.

If the neighbors move in close to the holiday season, you know it is going to a little bit of a harder Christmas celebration for them.  A new home, away from old friends and perhaps family, and not finished unpacking all make for a stressful holiday season.

– Invite your new neighbors to go Christmas tree shopping.  It’s likely that you know the best lot to go to, or the best woods if you are going to cut your own tree.  They would surely appreciate this offer.

– Make your own, or purchase a personalized new home ornament for them, one that has their names on it, and maybe the address of the home.

-Invite them over to bake Christmas cookies one afternoon and include their children!  An unpacking mom will not be in the mood to make cookies in her new kitchen but would appreciate you bringing that Christmas fun to her children.

– Make sure there’s a Christmas card in their mailbox, welcoming them to the neighborhood and wishing them a Merry Christmas!

-Have a casual tree trimming party and invite a few neighbors over to meet the new family.

-Find a Christmas caroling event and be sure to include them.

There are so many nice things that we can all do to make our neighborhoods filled with friendly people.  And always remember, Good Neighbors, ARE a Blessing!

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Christmas In A New Home

holiday home decorated with lights

It’s never easy to move, but it’s usually fun to have a new home.  By “new” we don’t mean brand new,  but new for you.  And Christmas is right around the corner, so hopefully, you’ve marked the boxes that contain all of your Christmas home decorations and personalized Christmas ornaments so the holidays will be bright and sparkly.

“Our First Christmas Together in Our New Home”

Moving Day has come and gone.  The reality of the move is evident throughout the house filled with cardboard boxes, wrapped up artwork, furniture in odd places, and who knows where anything is!  All spare time in the weeks ahead will be devoted to unpacking and reorganizing the family’s possessions.  Then next comes finding out where the closest Trader Joe’s is,  which roads are backed up during the morning commute, a good daycare school, and a place to get the car fixed.  Moving is rough.

And sometimes being in a new home is a little rough too. No one is sleeping as well in their new rooms.  There are different creaks and sounds during the night.  Lots of new general maintenance issues to deal with, and paintings, artwork, and mirrors to hang in each room.  To paint or not to paint?  Will all this stuff fit in the garage or basement?  What to do with all the boxes and packing materials after the boxes are emptied?  And, did I mention?, Christmas is coming right up. The kids are starting to worry…. will Santa come here?

Some ideas on making your First Christmas in Our New Home a memorable event!

Decorations:

– Whatever the state of your home right now, be sure and find your box of Christmas home decorations, and do some nice decorating.  Maybe this isn’t the year to go all out in every nook and cranny of the house, but do some of the simple but meaningful things.  Put a wreath on the outside of your new front door.  Or a cute sign or banner in the front yard.  Hang the stockings up on the mantle, waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.  Put a Snow House or other Christmas oriented theme centerpiece on your dining table, and get out the red candles!

– Be sure to have a family event going to get the Christmas tree.  Or, if you have an artificial tree, set aside a whole day to set it up.  There’s nothing quite like the night you turn on the Christmas lights for the first time to make everyone excited about Christmas.

-Decorate the tree as a family, or …. invite a few friends over to a tree trimming party… keeping it simple with some mulled wine, or apple juice, some purchased Christmas cookies, some yummy cheeses and crackers, and friendship.  Your friends will understand everything’s not unpacked yet, and they might even offer to give you a hand for an afternoon!

-Enjoy looking through your ornament collection and telling your children about where certain ornaments came from, and letting them find their own personalized Baby’s First Christmas ornament, and other family ornaments with their names on them.  Talk about Christmas celebrations at other homes you’ve lived in and which parts of those celebrations you want to continue in this new home.

– Put up a few outdoor lights or something to show your new neighborhood you are ready for Christmas.  Decorate the mailbox with something colorful.

-Have a few friends over to make dough ornaments.  This only requires some white flour, Morton’s salt, water, and food coloring, and some willing hands to mix and knead the dough.  Here are our special instructions on Making Your Own Dough Ornaments At Home.  It’s great fun!

Celebrations:

– Make sure you plan a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that is family oriented.  If you are still unpacking, keep it simple.  Lots of people have Chinese food on Christmas.  Get what the kids love, and if it’s turkey dinner, consider purchasing a ready-made dinner from your local Whole Foods or other markets that offers a yummy rotisserie roasted Turkey!  Go ahead for once and use pretty Christmas paper plates.  Keep the stress down, you’ll all have more fun.

– Invite some friends over close to Christmas day to watch a Christmas movie.  Pick one the kids will love – there are so many available on Net Flix, or at the local video store.  Think of fun holiday finger foods for everyone.  But again, keep it simple, or make it a potluck.  And, not every party has to be for dinner.

– If you have moved far from friends and extended family, set up some specific times to have a Skype Christmas together.  Everyone’s busy at this time of year, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and book 15-20 minutes with the grandparents, friends, old neighbors.  The children will love their turn to talk and will be so happy to see their friends.

– Watch for a local caroling opportunity or nativity play in your new neighborhood.  Be sure to attend all school holiday events – a great place to meet some parents of your children’s new friends.  Get out and sing with a group, whether it’s in a neighborhood and house to house, or going to visit a local senior citizen’s group living.

New and Old Traditions:

– If it’s a new or old tradition, be sure to make or buy a new personalized ornament with your entire family on it celebrating “First Christmas in Our New Home”.  Have it personalized with everyone’s names!  Choose a cute saying or add the address of your new home on the base.  And don’t forget the year.

– Now’s the time to remember the best of your family traditions, and keep them.  The continuity is important for the kids and it will make this first Christmas more fun.

-Take lots of photos!

-Make the house smell pretty with spiced apple juice on the stove.

– If you go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, be sure to plan ahead and find a house of worship that’s close by and check the times of the services. Continue your family tradition of worship.

-If you put out cookies and milk for Santa and Reindeer, please don’t forget this year!

– Find cute stocking stuffers and treats for the Christmas morning stockings.  If your computer is set up, do most of your shopping online and have things gift wrapped. If that’s not right for you, try to keep it simple, with no midnight assembly projects!  (you might not be able to find the tools!)

– Keep the holiday music playing, and sing a lot!

And remember, Christmas comes but once a year!  Enjoy your First Christmas in your New Home.

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Baby’s First Christmas Made Memorable

Baby's First Christmas personalized ornaments

Your baby’s arrived during the past year and you and your family are getting ready to celebrate his or her First Christmas! Your little one might be almost one year old, or could be a newborn, but it’s likely that in either case he or she won’t really remember the First Christmas, or even really get what’s going on and what all the fuss is about.  Some things really count though, photographs, lots and lots of them.  Take tons of pictures of the baby, mommy and daddy, grandparents, the Christmas tree, your pets with the baby, and even Santa if possible.  And next, be sure to pick one or more personalized Baby’s First Christmas ornaments as a memento of that special holiday celebration.

Baby’s First Christmas Ornament

Baby photography can be tricky.  Most babies are just naturally photogenic, but to get that very special expression, the one you want to remember forever, take lots and lots of pictures.  Aren’t cell and smartphones great these days?  You can take the photo and check the images right away.  You can take 100 to get the best one or two, and most phones even have a little photoshop type software built into the phone so you can crop, adjust color, zoom in or out, and make it perfect.

As you are getting ready for the holiday, take pictures of everything you do together with the baby.  Will you try for a photo with Santa?  Of course, it will depend upon the age of your baby, and what he or she is going through right now with new people and strangers.  Santa is a pretty unique looking character and who knows, your child might find him hilarious, or maybe he will be scary.  You know your baby and use your best instincts.  There will be many more years ahead to have a photo with Santa.  As a substitute, you might get a little red Santa hat with white fuzzy fake fur around the bring, and make a darling photo of the baby wearing it.

If you go shopping for a Christmas tree, or go out to cut down a tree, you can let your child help pick one, and be sure to take pictures of this.  Take the baby out to see bright Christmas lights decorating homes at night, or a place where children are playing around lighted Christmas theme decorations.  Photo ops abound.  Go for a sleigh ride!  Or make a trip up to the snow.  All of these events will make up a lovely baby album of a first Christmas holiday celebration.  It’s amazing how reasonably priced you can have a photo album made up at a place such as Shutterfly.  Your baby will have it forever, and as an extra bonus, think of how much the grandparents would love to have one too.

Another wonderful use for photos of Baby’s First Christmas is for the baby’s first personalized ornament.  Print a photo yourself if you have a color printer, and make it be the size of a mini school photo.  This will fit perfectly into one of our darling Baby’s First Christmas photo frame ornaments.

Choosing your Baby’s First Christmas ornament is a fun process.  Do you want to go with traditional type ornament styles, like a glass ball, or a blown glass ornament that is shaped like a rattle or baby bootie?  These are usually found at your local Hallmark store in the Mall, where you can really ascertain how large they are and how durable they will be over the years.  The European glass ornaments are very elegant and gorgeous, and expensive.  But it will be something that is treasured in the family and one she will take to her own home when she grows up.

Another style of ornament is a theme-oriented one, such as a Disney ornament, or even an NFL baby ornament! Yes, those are truly available on eBay, using a football helmet holding a sleeping baby, available in all the different team colors.  Think of other famous Christmas theme designs – Dr. Seuss and the Grinch,  Peanuts ornaments designed by Charles Schultz, Star Trek First Christmas ornaments, and the like.

If you have other children, this is one of the most fun things you can do with them to help them make their own unique ornaments each year.  And they can also help with their new sibling’s ornament too, but making one for the baby.  If this is your first child, mommy and daddy can make a few and see which one is chosen.  Glaze it several times with polyurethane (non-yellowing, high gloss), and then personalize it with a super fine point black permanent marker.

Another craft project is one of our all-time favorite Baby’s First Christmas ornaments – a baby’s handprint kit with a special Calliope Designs ornament attachment make and personalized with your baby’s birth statistics, or name and First Christmas with the year.  We have a special video showing how to make and assemble this amazing ornament.  This style comes in blue for boys and pink for girls!  You’ll be amazed at how quickly your child’s hand grows as she or he compares it to the ornament each year at Christmas.

A personalized Christmas ornament is a wonderful way to go for your Baby’s First Christmas ornament.  We specialize in these styles and have made quite a few choices of favorite baby subjects to give the ornament choice some traditional feel, some handcrafted feel, and certainly an amazingly cute, darling, and adorable feel!  The ornaments that are most frequently chosen are the ones that have all of the baby’s birth statistics inscribed in permanent black ink right on the design, with the year and First Christmas added with his or her name.  Since our “personalizers” are all extremely skilled in the art of lettering, our customers love the darling little baby bear in stocking (pink, blue, and red if you are not sure!), our rocking horses (also in pink, blue, and red), our photo frame choices, and penguin designs.

Remember, your child’s first Christmas is a special day that will be recalled with all the beautiful photos you take, the happy experiences you share with your baby and your Baby’s First Christmas ornament.  We think a personalized item from Calliope Designs is a fabulous choice to start his or her personalized ornament collection.

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So You’re Expecting A Baby & It’s Christmas!

Expecting Twins or triplets personalized christmas ornaments

We’re blogging about this today because our Expecting a Baby personalized ornament is one of our very best selling items. It’s an ornament people buy for themselves or an ornament that others purchase as a gift for a pregnant couple.  We’ve given this a lot of consideration, and realize what a very very special time being pregnant at Christmas is.  Here are a few of our thoughts on making this “expecting” Christmas even more fun and joyful.

Expecting A Baby at Christmas Time

When you’re pregnant doctors and nurses always talk about trimesters.  Of course, this refers to the development of your baby and the different stages of growth in utero, but the trimesters are different on the outside too.  How you feel, how you look, what your level of anticipation is.  If you’re pregnant at Christmas time you may have completely different feelings depending on which trimester you are experiencing. Let’s take our holiday celebration by trimester.

The first trimester, or first three months of your pregnancy, is such an exciting time.  Especially if you are expecting your first baby.  One thing that’s special is that your pregnancy is not evident to the outside world!  It is your and your mate’s special time of knowing you are pregnant, and deciding how long to wait to tell everyone else.  The pregnancy is confirmed.  The due date is estimated.  And before long you are going to start having some symptoms – such as morning sickness, nausea at certain smells, tiredness or sleepiness at odd times of the day, and strange cravings for food.  Of course, not everyone has all of these symptoms, but they are fairly universal.  If Christmas is coming you might be wondering if you are really “up to” the whole big celebration you usually put on.

This is a good time to listen to and follow your instincts.  It’s a time to realize another little person is going to be with you from now on, and being flexible will forever be a part of your life because of him or her (or them!).  Here are some ideas to make life less stressful for the holidays:

– Do most of your gift shopping online.  Mall shopping may just not be as much fun.  The smell of auto exhaust on the road.  The odd smells in the mall that normally were just fine (like cinnamon rolls, hot dogs, cleaning solutions) now may make you a little nauseated.

-If you are able, purchase your gifts gift wrapped to save the last minute stress of getting it all done.

-Have gifts mailed directly to the recipient.  Most online stores will offer a service for a gift message enclosure.

– Let Sis, or your Mom, make the holiday meals this year.  Plan on going and enjoying every minute and every delicious bite of their special holiday cooking instead of making everything yourself.

-Since your pregnancy isn’t showing yet,  make Christmas Eve or Christmas Day the special day to tell your family and loved ones that you are Pregnant!  Of course, we recommend you have one of our cute expecting ornaments personalized and gift wrapped for your mom to open and be surprised.  This gift is also cute for his parent’s as well.  If they are with you, or even if they are far away, opening this gift is a fabulous way at Christmas to tell your family you are expecting!

So the Christmas theme for a first-trimester pregnancy is, take it easy, take care of yourself and let others help with entertaining and meals, and tell everyone your secret surprise, a new baby will be joining the family next year.  Then sit back and enjoy all of the love and attention!

The Second Trimester may be the most enjoyable time of pregnancy.  For most women, the morning sickness tapers off to non-existent.  Many women have more energy and feel more themselves.  And, your baby is growing and you are starting to “show”.  This is a happy time of telling friends and co-workers you are expecting and enjoying the attention and conversations from other women who have gone through a pregnancy and birth and are ready to tell you all about it!  During this time you’ll feel the baby move – a very exciting event.

If Christmas comes during this second trimester it is likely you will be tempted to do all the things you’ve always done at Christmas time and depending on how you are feeling you will succeed!

– It’s still not a bad idea to not go overboard with planning, shopping, cooking, and entertaining.  Getting worn out just isn’t good for you and that’s not good for the baby.

– This is a good time to start preparing for the baby’s arrival.  Telling your boss about your pregnancy and planning for maternity leave.  Buying a crib and car safety seat.  and other things around the home.

– Buy something new to wear for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Plan ahead – in 3-4 short weeks your waistline will be expanding and you’ll be having yummy food and want to be comfy.  Of course, I’m sure your doctor would encourage you to enjoy everything in moderation!  But a couple of new tops that are comfortable and a pretty color will do wonders for that feeling that you don’t really look hugely pregnant, just a little chubby.

– Decorate your Christmas tree, and think about how next Christmas there will be a baby and how much fun that will be.  Be sure to add a personalized Christmas ornament that celebrates the Christmas you are expecting a baby.  This ornament will be yours forever to remember this special time.  And don’t forget both sets of grandparents!  They’re Expecting too…. They’re expecting a darling Grandchild!

Christmas during your third trimester can really be a challenge.  Plan ahead is the phrase of the season! You are going to get tired and need to put your feet up after work!

– Do all of your shopping and wrapping way before Christmas.  Try to have it done by Thanksgiving.  Shop online, have things wrapped, have gifts mailed.

– Tell everyone what you need to complete your baby’s layette and all of the other things you might need – crib, high chair, rocking lounger, and the like.  Maybe you will be lucky enough to have a nice baby shower, but being prepared for a coming birth enables you to relax and enjoy the holidays.

– Let Mom do it!  or your Sister or Mother in Law!  This is a special time for them too and helping you and your husband stay rested and happy will give them pleasure.

– Get all the good books about parenting and baby and take the time to discuss how your family brought up the baby.  Christmas is a good time for family memories and hearing about how you were as a baby, and how your husband was, and how your parents took care of you those first weeks will be emotionally strengthening.  No matter how many books you read, and how many tales you hear, your baby’s first month or two will be a big surprise, so line up the support of your family and friends.

– Enjoy the holidays, let yourself be pampered.  Think about what kind of parents you will be and about what the future has in store for the Christmas celebrations ahead.  And don’t forget about www.calliopedesigns.com for your Baby’s First Christmas personalized ornament.

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15 Ideas for Great Personalized Ornament Gifts

There are so many ways people can be couples and we at Calliope Designs try to have a personalized Couples ornament for every single one of them!  Here are 15 ideas for fun-filled and reasonably priced gifts this holiday season.

Creative Gifts for Your Loved One

– Create a cute penguin couple holding a heart ornament for two people who have just fallen in love!  Inscribe with their names, the year, and “First Christmas Together” on the base.

– For a couple who has just moved in together one of our cute New Home designs with two snowmen in the front with the personalization sentiment “First Christmas in Our First Home Together”

– For a couple with a proposal coming…. a small gift on Christmas morning would be quite appropriate with “Will You Marry Me?” beautifully inscribed by hand on the base.

-For an Engagement gift for a couple who is engaged at Christmas time a cute Christmas tree ornament with two little snow people beside it with the word “Engaged” on the base.

-For a Couple of Irish descent who loves all things Irish and is proud of their lineage, we have a fun Snow couple Christmas ornament holding a broom dressed in green with a shamrock saying “Our Irish Christmas”

-For a couple’s First Christmas married we have a Christmas ornament of a Bride and Groom dancing on their wedding day inscribed with their names and “Our First Christmas”

– For a couple on their honeymoon in a wonderful tropical location, such as Maui!  Give a personalized ornament of a  darling penguin couple on a palm tree-studded tropical island that says “Just Mauied”.

– Find ornaments for honeymooning couples who have gone to New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco, and more.

-Make a personalized ornament gift for Grandma and Grandpa, perhaps a cute fireplace with a little mouse beside it, with their names on the stockings and “Christmas Together” on the base.

– And then there are the Anniversaries!  Whether it’s the 5th, the 25th or the 50th, or something in between, each year wed deserves a special celebration and memento.  Gift a gift that will last through the years, just like this couple’s marriage.  Here we have a cute Santa and Mrs. Claus holding a heart ornament.

-Find a personalized gift for a gay or lesbian couple – whether it is a couple riding a motorcycle, or a couple celebrating Christmas in their new home, we have many styles that are sure to make a wonderful personalized gift this Christmas time.

-This couple has two pets, and you can Design Your Own personalized ornament gift for a couple with up to five pets.  We have 19 dog types and 6 cat types to choose from, and you can put a name on each and everyone that we make to order for a couple with pets.

-When a couple is pregnant and expecting their first baby they will always remember the Christmas they were pregnant and waiting with great anticipation, so we have a wonderful and popular Snow Couple Expecting A Baby personalized ornament.

-For the couple who is expecting twin babies and pregnant at Christmas, we can personalize it to order.

-For Grandma and Grandpa a Design Your Own ornament style of a darling house with them looking out the windows above their two pets.  Something for every couple this Christmas.