If you've recently acquired a new pet, you're no doubt looking forward to sharing your first Christmas together. In this article, Kirsty Prankerd, from personalised gift and keepsake retailer Write From The Heart, shares her tips for making those memories last.
As a nation, we love animals. Research from Statista has shown that over 40% of UK households own a pet, and after the events of 2020, there has been an even bigger demand for four-legged friends. In fact, the Kennel Club has reported that more than 2 in 5 new owners bought a puppy to be their Covid-19 companion, and that two thirds think their dog was a "lifeline in lockdown".
With Christmas round the corner, you might be thinking of ways to commemorate your first noel with your new family member. Below, I'll take you through just some of the ways you can make it extra special.
Treat them to something special
Nothing will get your pet in the festive spirit like some yummy treats. After all, while we're enjoying a hearty Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, shouldn't they get something special too? Fortunately, there are all sorts of seasonal snacks you can buy for your pets, from festive editions of their favourites, to the weird and wonderful, like pet-friendly prosecco. You can even buy advent calendars for your pets with a treat behind each window, so they can celebrate with you all through December.
Remember — always do your research and read the packaging carefully to see whether the treats you have chosen are safe for young dogs. For something extra special this Christmas, why not make your own treats? Many recipes like these from the Healthy Pet Club are easy to make and are free from mysterious additives, so they can be a real treat.
Get them Christmas ready
For Christmas, why not deck your pet out in some festive clothing? Adorable jumpers, novelty outfits, and accessories such as hats and scarves can be a great way to get them involved in the festivities and looking great. If your animal is on the fussy side, simply swapping out their collar for a nice festive version can be a great way of getting them to look the part without making them feel uncomfortable.
Christmas is a great excuse to pamper your pet, too, so why not treat them to a grooming session or give them a haircut or bath? This time of year, with all its busyness, can be very overstimulating for pets, so it's important to give them some time to relax and feel calm too. It might also be a good idea to have a designated quiet room that they can escape to if they need to get away from all the decorations and the noise. A covered crate can help if your dog is prone to getting nervous.
Have a photography session
After all the effort you've gone to, you'll want to take plenty of pictures to cherish the first Christmas you spend with your new pet. Make sure they're relaxed before you start so you can capture them in a festive mood: interact with them, let them play with their favourite toy, or keep a few treats handy and you're sure to get their good side. If your pet is too excited, you could always wait until they fall asleep to get a few cosy shots of them curled up near your Christmas tree or dressed in their festive attire.
Make some unique keepsakes
The great thing about having lots of festive photographs of your pet is that they can be made into all sorts of keepsakes, from Christmas cards to send to friends and family to homeware such as cushions and clocks. A personalised tree ornament featuring a photograph of your pet as a puppy can be cherished for years to come, so they're a great way to commemorate your first ever Christmas together.
Alternatively, you could try some DIY keepsakes, such as a pawprint memento. All you'll need is some non-toxic air-dry clay rolled about half an inch thick. Gently press your pet's foot into the clay to leave an imprint, then poke a hole through the top with a pen or pencil. Once it's fully dried, you can paint or decorate the pawprint keepsake and thread a ribbon through the hole to hang it up.
These are just some of the ways you can commemorate your pet's first Christmas this year. Bear these tips in mind and you're sure to cherish the memories you make together forever.