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New Mom Holiday Party Guide

10 tips to survive your first holiday party post-baby.

New Mom Holiday Party Guide

*We've partnered with Annie's Homegrown, Vichy and Luxe to help us survive (ahem, we mean enjoy) the holiday season.

Remember when surviving your holiday party meant trying not to have too many margaritas and hit on a co-worker? Well, times are different now, mama. You’ve got a new baby -- or maybe several kids -- to celebrate alongside. And there’s nary a margarita in sight. No need to decline the festivities, though. With these strategic tips and tricks, you can not only throw a kickass holiday party, but survive it, and maybe even have a really, really good time. Here’s how.

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1. Timing is everything. Rethink the traditional Friday night party, and opt for a holiday brunch instead. Invite everyone pre-nap (aka pre-meltdown), when your little one is happy, energetic….and most willing to share well with others. Include a party end-time on the invite so that last single friend doesn’t linger while you’re trying to get your babe down. Trust us, that single friend will be grateful they can flee for the bar early enough in the day to get a seat.

2. Create a kid-friendly menu. Don’t expect the kiddos to sit down for a formal brunch. Rather, have some fun, easy-to-eat foods ready to go as soon as your guests arrive so no kid goes hangry. Opt for upgraded winter classics like new Annie’s Organic Chicken Noodle Soup packed with corkscrew egg noodles and organic chicken, or pair grilled cheese triangles with a warm cup of Annie’s Organic Tomato Soup (extra credit: it's got an entire ½ cup veggies in every serving). Sprinkle some Cheddar Bunnies on top and the kids will come running.

3. Capture the moment. You’re about to throw an awesome holiday party, make sure there’s a record of it! Instead of waiting (and forgetting) to tell friends to snap pics during the party, email them before it even starts, and provide a cute hashtag for social posting (we love #wellroundedholiday, hint hint) so you can find them all later.

4. Don’t be afraid to hire help, even if you’re not “that type.” Help can mean a babysitter or nanny, a food delivery service, or even a valet parking service like Luxe to assist with your errands. There's door-to-door service, so no more time wasted finding parking spots or lugging huge bags a million blocks, plus overnight parking, car washes, fuel-ups, oil changes and even Tesla charging (because we know you have a Tesla, right?). And in honor of the holidays, Well Rounded readers can email here to get $100 off a monthly subscription!

5. Take a mama time-out before the party even starts. Build in a little extra time on party day to pamper yourself with a luxurious mask, like this skin-quenching one from Vichy. Throw it on right when you get out of the shower, and do your household party prep while the delicious mineralizing thermal water and soothing Vitamin B3 seeps in.

6. Get your kids involved in the party prep. Nothing will excite your little one more than letting him feel like he’s the host with the most. Assign him a party prep role, like Chief Cookie Baker, and spend some quality one-on-one time with him before guests arrive and steal your attention. Annie’s Organic Baking Mixes, like Double Chocolate Brownie Mix and Sugar Cookie Mix, make it easy to get little hands involved in the kitchen. They're all certified organic, made with unbleached flour and free from artificial flavors, synthetic colors, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.

7. Take a baby break. If you’ve got a wee little one, make sure you step away from the action and have some quiet time free of stimulation. Find a quiet spot to feed or cuddle with your baby, and remind her that she’s safe and sound with mama despite the holiday chaos.

8. Plan age-appropriate activities for all the guests. If you’ve got some toddlers on your list, a fun craft, like Maypole’s felt crown kits, will buy you some extra time to enjoy the morning with your mama friends. Guests with babies will appreciate a strategically placed baby blanket on the floor, no matter how clean you swear your house is.

9. Treat your mama guests. Holiday gifting doesn’t have to only be about the kids. Wrap up some stocking stuffers for your best ladies to take home as party favors, or plan a fun Secret Santa for the adults in the house while the kiddos are at play. Stick to a theme, like new mama indulgences or stuff you can find at the drugstore for under $25.

10. Hydrate! Even if there’s no wine involved, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Carry a glass of water around the party with you - bonus, no stains if it spills! You can also give yourself a moisturizing spritz during every bathroom run with Vichy’s Mineralizing Thermal Water spray, which is filled with 15 rare minerals to fortify and protect the skin from environmental aggressors. Leave it by the sink and let other mamas get in on the hydration action.

Bonus Tip: Enjoy yourself! The holidays don’t have to be stressful and can still be the most magical time of the year. Plus now that you’re not overdoing it on the margaritas, you’ll actually remember how fun that holiday party was.

Photography by Belle Savransky for Well Rounded.

Shoot styled by Sarah Bean.

Kids Wardrobe provided by A Gifted Baby.

Kids aprons by Odette Williams.

Cheers garland by Maypole.

*This post was sponsored by Annie's Homegrown, Vichy and Luxe.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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