October 08, 2017
It’s a staggering first, and one that you definitely don’t feel fully ready for in the moment. There’s been months of waiting, quite probably frayed nerves and anxious hearts. There’s been pacing and medical tests and scans and consultations and schedules and parties and good wishes -- lots and lots of good wishes. But on the day, while you and your partner - whichever of you is the beautiful goddess giving birth -- have plenty of moments of staring into the abyss, wanting to get this ‘thing’ over with, wondering who you’ll be on the other side of it…. a baby is suddenly placed in your arms. The sweet smell of their forehead dances in your nose and their tiny tiny fingers might just manage to clasp themselves around your finger for the first time. There is screaming and wailing, for sure -- this is part of the soundtrack of new life. But, there’s something else. Something new. You are something new, a new story has begun, and you have have this sense that you have been welcomed into a life club you never knew existed but that you’ll never leave from this point forward: the experience of providing, marking, and remembering another person’s ‘firsts.’ You are the first person this baby has met. This is this human being’s first breath. First meal. First smile. First haircut. First word. First tantrum. First bicycle. First heartache….First car. You hold this baby, smelling their forehead for the first time, and while I would love to say something profound like, “You promise this baby in these quiet moments the best of yourself in the coming years” -- the truth is, what you’re really wondering those first nights is when the most important of all firsts will happen: how long until this child will actually sleep through the night for the first time?
You might have 11 months to prepare, or your baby might be born on Christmas Eve. But Christmas comes around in this first year of your baby’s life and with it one of your first moments as a parent for marking what makes the year, and a life, magical. The best thing we’ve found about Christmas in our studio and on our travels is how different the practices and traditions are that parents all over the world have for producing Christmas for their kids. Yes, producing. Yes - we talk about festivities and magic. Yes, we believe in this magic deeply. But we are also parents and we are realists, and Christmas is a production! It’s food, light, parties, gifts, moments, waiting, giving, wrapping, cleaning, preparing, planning, remembering, with what we hope is a deep deep sense of satisfaction as you sit in your pyjamas Christmas morning and let the show finally take care of itself.
In time with your kids, Christmas morning really will begin to take on a life of its own. Toddlers and adolescents running around with the toys they’ve longed for, phone calls to family, rustling everyone through meals and outside for whatever activities are planned all seem to take care of the day. But the first Christmas with your baby is a different feel altogether. So much of the production can wait, because there is just so much work that focuses just on your newborn and you finding your feet. And so, while Christmas looks different in all corners of the world, we think that first Christmas, instead of the crazy, is really is all about moments of quiet -- the occasional stillness you stumble upon when the baby’s needs are met, when you’ve managed to get just a few ornaments on the tree, or you find yourself eating a mince pie in the middle of the night after feeding baby (note: baby does not eat mince pies. Yet.). Stillness. Quiet. Peace. If this is what Christmas brings you, and your baby in their first year, then we think you’ve made the magic happen. Welcome to the Firsts Club -- Christmas will never be the same, and you wouldn’t want it to be.
And so we’re focusing on the little things for Baby’s First Christmas: Here in the studio at Betsy Benn, we’ve handmade a number of wooden Christmas ornaments that combine modern styling with simple materials to make sure Baby’s First Christmas is remembered, that the ornaments make it onto the tree, and that you’re freed up to start the scrapbook after the New Year; you know, once the baby is beginning to sleep soundly through the night.
One of my absolute favourites from our range of Christmas decorations is inspired by the simple beauty of the moon. When I was small, my Mum used to tell me all sorts of stories about the moon and if ever I was worried or scared of the dark she would help me to find Mr Moon, shining brightly in the sky, and told me he was looking for me and shining his brightest to try and make me smile. It always worked!
If I could hang the moon on our Christmas tree, I probably would. So to try to recreate it we searched for a long time to find just the right materials to do justice to that heavenly body!
The beautiful Baby Moon first Christmas decoration is made from a circle of either cherry or walnut wood veneer. It’s then layered with a crescent moon silver laminate that’s been engraved with a photographic image of the actual surface of the moon (courtesy of the NASA website)!
The baby’s name and year of their first Christmas is engraved on the wooden side along with a constellation of stars.
Strung with a white satin ribbon it looks stunning on any Christmas tree.
Still a little bit in love with the moon, we realised our job wasn’t done. Then, last Christmas I found the time to sit down and watch the film It’s A Wonderful Life for the very first time. I know! Having finally seen it, I can’t believe I hadn’t watched it before either. And that scene where George offers to throw a lasso around the moon and pull it down to Earth just for Mary, well that inspired our second moon decoration that would work so well for a baby’s first Christmas ornament.
We used our NASA image once again, this time to create a stunning full moon for our Lasso The Moon ornament. Shiny, silvery and utterly gorgeous. Then we designed two child silhouettes to do the actual lassoing. The wooden children are suspended from the full moon by a baker’s twine lasso, pulling the moon down to Earth! The best bit is that we can engrave any name and year on to the back of the moon, making it such a personal and unique first Christmas decoration.
Now, I know we made them, and so we are bound to be a little bit in love with them, but I honestly can’t express how pleased we are with how they turned out. My tree is going to be covered with moons this year. I just know you will love them too, even more so if that movie holds a special place in your heart.
For something with more of a story attached, you can’t do better than our Letter or Telegram from Santa/Father Christmas. These heritage first Christmas ornaments take the style of a letter or telegram from the main man in the North Pole, welcoming the new baby to their very first Christmas.
Santa encourages the child to write to him when they are old enough and it is a great story item to share with the child as they grow up and can read the letter for themselves.
Addressed individually to each child, both styles are postmarked as if from the North Pole and show the year of arrival. Strung with a festive red ribbon they just sing Christmas!
I have to admit something here. This telegram is the ornament that we have at home for our own bear’s first Christmas. However, as he was born in 2006 and we didn’t launch this company until 2010 … well let’s just say it’s a good job small babies have imperfect memories about Christmas (yes – we added it in late). These days, my son can’t wait to start decorating the tree with me every Christmas and his first ever letter from Father Christmas is the one decoration he searches for and the one that he insists he put on the tree himself. I love that we have been able to give him that piece of magic and that the magic has endured for this long. Every year I hope it lasts just a little bit longer!
For those that prefer the simplicity of just a name and a date, then our scandi inspired bear, reindeer or star decorations are the natural match.
Our polar bear and reindeer Nordic creatures are individually cut from cherry wood veneer, perfect for a natural or woodland themed Christmas. Once cut, a constellation pattern is engraved on the surface along with a name. There’s room to engrave the year under the child’s name making it a perfect reminder of baby's first Christmas.
And so to our star, with which we return full circle to a celestial theme, making it the perfect companion to our moon decorations. A few of our cleve customers had the brilliant idea to get new baby moon decorations for the newborns and then stars for all the other family members to create a mini galaxy!
Our intricate star ornaments are individually laser cut from a scented cedar wood veneer, and feature more stars in the engraved detail that surround the baby’s name. You can choose whether to include the year or not. With a satin white ribbon to finish, they make the perfect personalised decorations for any member of the family, and especially the newest ones!
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April 15, 2020
We thought for a long time about whether to have a break, how that would look, what kind of business we would come back to if we did and what our impact is on the other businesses we work with and our customers.