It was a balmy 70 degrees in Nashville the day we brought my youngest son home from the hospital. The temperatures were certainly unexpected for the week of Christmas, so he wore a long-sleeved onesie in lieu of the adorable penguin fleece outfit I had packed so carefully in my hospital bag for my December baby. In hindsight, I’m glad he didn’t start his little life with the spirit of the holidays overshadowing his birth. As it turns out, he’ll be navigating that little complication for every birthday from now until he’s 100.
You’ve probably met someone with a birthday smack dab in the middle of the holidays. It’s the party you can’t attend because you already have a Christmas event on your calendar. It’s the gift you wrap in red wrapping paper because it’s kind of neutral and you already have a ton of it on hand. And (though I know you won’t be that guy), it’s the person who gets combination Birthday/Holiday gifts from some well-meaning relative while all the other kids get separate celebrations.
Oh, these poor December kids. Yes, of course, they are thankful. We’re all thankful for what we receive, right? But December birthday bearers are understandably a little disappointed that their special day is met with elaborate “Happy Birthday, Jesus” parties while “Happy Birthday, Sam!” is more of an afterthought. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m saying it’s the world these December babes live in, so they make do.
Now that I have my own little guy born the week of Christmas, I am determined to do my best to let him have his own separate celebration. I’ve picked the brains of others with holiday birthdays to find out what helped make their birthday special, and these are the Dos and Don’t’s that stood out to me.
DO have a dedicated time set apart to solely focus on birthday activities.
Our owner Meg shared how her family had a specific time on Christmas Day where Christmas celebration stopped and birthday celebrations for her brother began. For my own little guy, we are taking him to the Aquarium in Chattanooga for the day this year. It will be a nice break from the holiday festivities and a separate space to make the day all about him.
DON’T give joint birthday-Christmas gifts.
First, a disclaimer: If your child is old enough to beg you to combine the gifts for something exceptionally large he or she is wanting, then by all means, go for it. However, if you’re still in the years of toy cars and dolls, make sure you have completely separate birthday and Christmas gifts. Wrap the birthday gifts in distinctly non-holiday wrapping paper. As a bonus, this may help siblings better appreciate why brother or sister gets more presents during the holiday season.
DO consider holding birthday parties during “off” times.
I’ve had several recommendations for the “half birthday” party. These parties are held in the summer when life is a little more laid back and schedules flexible. It also allows holiday children the opportunity to have outdoor birthday parties since weather is often a factor in the winter. In my own home, the half birthday isn’t a great option yet because it happens to fall at the same time as my oldest child’s birthday. However, we did decide birthday parties will be in January after the holiday chaos has calmed down a bit.
DON’T set the birthday up for failure.
If your child is insistent that birthdays should be celebrated at the time they actually occur, help them set reasonable expectations. Perhaps instead of a big party, he or she could invite one or two best friends to join them for a special activity. If you do attempt a party the weekend before Christmas, poor attendance may really cause unnecessary added stress for you and possible hurt feelings for your child.
DO take advantage of holiday perks that can be spun as awesome birthday surprises.
One of my favorite stories comes from a friend who had a “Birthday” tree in her home. This tree was completely for her and housed her birthday gifts for the big day. I love that this family took a traditional holiday fun thing and turned it into a reason a Christmas birthday is awesome, not a inconvenient. While we haven’t done anything like this at our house yet, I do enjoy picking out some of my son’s birthday gifts on Black Friday when prices are at a seasonal low. It also means he may get toys that wouldn’t necessarily fit into the budget at other times during the year.
DON’T act stressed or inconvenienced by your child’s birthday requests.
This seems like a no-brainer, but the most wonderful time of the year can also be the busiest time of the year. Sometimes that means the idea of adding one more thing to the schedule feels impossible. Even if you feel a little crazy, make sure you speak about your child’s birthday with joy and gratitude. Kids can definitely sense when they aren’t a priority to you, so be extra diligent to sensitive feelings with holiday kids!
DO take a special moment to hug your holiday child a little longer and to tell them how happy you are to be their mom.
You know what? Go ahead and do that for your other kids too. It’s always nice to hear!
Are you a holiday baby yourself, or do you have one? Do us all a solid, and leave a comment with your own tip on how to make these holiday birthdays stand out! Thank you in advance!