The Christmas season is already hectic. Now add having a baby, and it's almost overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make this season calm and peaceful.

1. Plan a Few Routes to the Hospital

If you live where roads get icy and snowed, make sure you've got a back-up plan. My son came during the snowiest winter season this region had seen in 50 years. Our 20-minute drive to the hospital took close to an hour and a half. But that was our alternate route.

2. Take Advantage of the Spirit of the Season

Since people are already cooking for loads of family and friends, ask a few if they wouldn't mind making an extra casserole that you can shove in your freezer for after the baby comes. Or if your baby's born on Christmas, see if some would be willing to do a drop by so you don't have to worry about meals in between feedings, burpings, naps and diapers. Yum.

3. Be Pregnant

Don't listen to the fascist nurses who tell you to stay away from everything delicious and watch your weight gain. You're pregnant. Eat it up. Have that green bean casserole. Baby needs it. And before any of you comment angrily at me about diabetes, and water retention, understand that I'm NOT talking about going against a doctor's orders. If you've got the diabetes, stay away from sugar. But if your nurse has just rolled her eyes at you when you've gotten on the scale, and made a few comments like "You know you'll have to lose all this weight, right?" — eat that pecan pie with glee. This is your one chance, your ONE CHANCE, to eat guiltlessly. We're all counting on you to NOT count calories. Do it for us non-preggies. Baby wants an Oreo, dang it! We are jealous.

4. Use the Nesting Phase

I loved that part of pregnancy. I don't think I prioritized my cleaning, though. Instead of organizing my closets, I scrubbed the bath with a toothbrush. Ah, well. Use this nesting time to decorate, bake, clean, and be the envy of your neighborhood. Every other woman is dreading mopping the floors for in-laws, you get to relish it. And speaking of in laws...

5. Make Visiting Guests Helpers Rather Than Burdens

This can get kind of tricky depending on who may be coming to spend the holidays with you. If someone is usually a high-maintenance guest, be very clear up front that you won't be able to do the things you normally would. When they arrive ask them to do small tasks that help a lot. This could mean taking the older kids out for a trip while you nap, or throwing together a meal while you get off your feet. Just be explicit in what you are not willing to do. Be thankful and gracious when they help and they'll probably be anxious to do more. It feels good to be useful, and there's nothing more noble than helping a poor, uncomfortable, preggy lady.

6. Make Big Meals Potluck Style

I recommend against hosting any big dinners, unless you're in a crazy nesting phase and want to break out your pretty dishes. But if you do, or have to, make it a pot luck. Offer to cook the ham, and have your husband do it. Everyone else has to bring the sides, desserts, and don't forget the beverages. Have someone else set the table, maybe that in-law that's staying with you, or your kids, and sit back and relax.

7. Save Leftovers

After any big meals, ask if you can save a few meals for after the baby's born. Just pack up some leftovers, place them in a ziplock container the way a TV dinner would be laid out, and freeze. Then your family has delicious homemade meals when you're too tired to cook after the baby comes. The microwave will be their best friend.

With all these tips, you should manage the new baby just fine. The best part about having a baby at Christmas time, is being forced to slow down and really savor the season. I loved that part. After my son was born, everything slowed down and I got to watch my daughter light up over each present. And then I got to wipe off his spit. Motherhood is magical. Here are ideas to celebrate that Christmas baby once they get older.

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