Holiday pajamas, a picture-perfect tradition

BlogHer Original Post

Let me set the scene for you. It's Christmas morning. The kids excitedly wake their parents with squeals of "Santa came! Santa came!" The family heads to the Christmas tree to open presents. Mom grabs the camera to record the memories forever when she realizes her kids are wearing mismatched, ragtag pajamas. The moment is not so picture perfect anymore.

It doesn't have to be this way though. With a little foresight, you can get adorable (and even green) holiday pajamas well before the "Kodak moment."

I know this sounds like a materialistic and consumerism-driven post and I'm torn on that. On one hand, I'm all about reducing your impact on the earth, buying second hand clothes, etc. On the other hand, I'm also a photographer and have to admit that seeing your kids in matching holiday pajamas for Christmas morning (or Hanukkah) really sets the scene for a great photo opp (and the kids are super cute to boot!).

Holiday pajamas are a big business. Step in any department store this time of year or do a search online and you'll find oodles and oodles of holiday-themed pajamas. For some families holiday pajamas are a tradition. For others, some cute jammies might just catch their eye in the store. For some families it's not just the kids who get the new holiday pajamas each year, the parents get in on it too.


Photos from Busy Bee Lifestyle

When should you give the gift of holiday pajamas to your kids? Life In Pajamas has a whole list of days that would make a great occasion for sharing the jammy-goodness. From Thanksgiving Day to the day of the first snow of winter, from the day the Christmas tree is decorated to the day you make the first Christmas cookies to Christmas Eve, basically any day can make a good day to surprise your family with the gift of pajamas.

Before you hit the stores or the keyboard, you might want to read up on flame retardants and pajamas first.

Multi-Minding Mom wrote Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Flame Retardants Bite.

Why do I care? Why should you?

Well, you don't have to care if you don't want to. But the chemicals that they use are known to irritate sensitive skin. And what kid doesn't have sensitive skin.

Does your child get rashes? Unexplained dry spots? Could be from their PJ's.

Not only that, but polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are also known carcinogens. And while PBDE may or may not be used for children's pajamas, there is no way of knowing what chemical was added by looking at a clothing label. (See the press release by the Environmental Working Group about levels of flame retardants in children's blood and even breastmilk.)

Why it seems like a good idea to put a known carcinogen next to a baby or toddler's skin for 12 hours of the day is beyond me.

Nope, when possible it's cotton PJ's for my little ones.

SuperEco also has a great post with 6 things to know about fire retardants and pajamas and Frugal Babe wrote The Frugal Way to Avoid Flame Retardants in Pajamas. Jennifer, The Smart Mama, wrote Avoiding Flame Retardants In Cozy Children's Pajamas.

If you want to keep your pajamas on the eco-friendly and fire resistant-free side, you can check out such places as Hanna Andersson which has an entire organic cotton holiday pajama line for the whole family. The Hanna Andersson pjs are pricey, but as Vegan Linda pointed out, they are well-made. "The Hanna Andersson PJs last forever...hand them down from kid to kid and then at last to friends." Emily Carlton added, "They are expensive, but the sizing is great. Each pair lasts 1.5 yrs." New Jammies also has organic cotton children's pajamas, though not necessarily in holiday prints. HBMommy and MamaMilkers both reminded me that Costco often sells organic cotton children's pajamas. I've actually bought some there for my son in the past.

For those of you who have the crafty gene, you might want to consider sewing your own holiday pajamas.

Andi from Laundry On the Line commented on Sew, Mama, Sew's Pajama Party Sew-Along post, "The first year I really got into sewing I made pajamas for everyone on my Christmas list – I still remember my husband asking me, 'Are you going to learn to sew something else or are you just going to sew pajamas?'"

On the blog These Three Remain is a post about making matching Christmas pajamas for girls and their dolls.

Are holiday pajamas a tradition in your family? Do you have any tips for making holiday pjs greener?

Disclosure: I did not receive free products or compensation for mentioning any of the pajamas listed above. They were all selected based on suggestions from others, my own experience or from internet search results.

Contributing editor Amy Gates blogs about green living, attachment parenting, activism and life with an anxiety disorder at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.

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