Recently, we posed some questions on Facebook about Birthday’s at Christmas time. A topic close to our hearts – with one of us born in December, a daughter in early January and three nephews on 22nd and 23rd of December. We looked at all the many responses and did some research ourselves and what we have come up with is a list of do’s and don’ts as a guide to celebrating birthdays at Christmas. Remember, every child is different and as they get older they will want to have a say in how their birthday is celebrated. Be open to their ideas because the things that may bother you may make no difference to them!
Do Create New Traditions
Christmas is all about traditions and having a child born on, or near, Christmas may mean it is time to think about new traditions for your family. Many of the responders mentioned their new traditions:
Charmaine: My daughter’s birthday is on Christmas Day, we always celebrate two weeks before hand with family and friends. On Xmas morning we all wish her a big happy birthday before we start Christmas. This year we have changed Christmas Day to be all about her and her birthday and will have Christmas another day.
Melitta-Louise: A friend of mine’s daughter was born on Christmas day they would celebrate Christmas until 2pm then stop and switch to celebrating her birthday. She’s now 12 and they do this every year without fail.
Sarah: My son’s birthday is in the first week of December and my twins are in the first week of January … So Christmas decorations don’t go up until after my son’s birthday and are down before my twins!!!
Lauren: My daughter is 2 this year on the 20th of December. Our new tradition is that the tree goes up after her birthday and we go looking at Christmas lights on the night of her birthday
Don’t give dual presents
This is a definite no no and while many parents are well aware of this, making sure other relatives fully understand, may be harder.
Teagan: People doing one gift as a birthday and xmas present – remember, it’s two separate occasions.
Do be fair
Kids are brilliant at balancing the books with their siblings, on who got what present, or whose party was bigger and better. The general rule of thumb is, what is good for one child, is good for all the others. Don’t over compensating because the child has a Christmas birthday and you feel they somehow miss out and don’t try to save time and money at their expense either!
Sandi: I have a son (16 this year) whose birthday is on the 26th. I have always made it a separate day/separate present. He chooses what he wants for his birthday meal either lunch or dinner. You just have to be organised early as nothing is open for last minute things. He deserves a birthday the same as everyone else.
Don’t celebrate the child’s birthday with Christmas food and decorations
Put away the candy canes and Rudolf cupcakes and prepare some other party food, even if it is just the family celebrating the birthday. A theme can help make the differentiation clearer, so that the birthday boy/girl feels really special and make sure the birthday presents aren’t wrapped in Christmas paper.
Frances: My son turns 3 on the 18th of December – definitely separate he deserves his special day too… Mummy’s excited as this is his first real party, he loves talking about his birthday.
Do get organized
If you have a child born close to Christmas, you need to be organized. Find out which of the children’s friends aren’t away on holidays before you get too far into the planning and make sure you have the parent’s emails or mobile numbers before school finishes, so you can contact them easily. If you can find a day that suits most friends, a holiday birthday party is brilliant – the kids will love catching up and so will the mums!
Then plan the party theme ahead of time and research the availability of party venues, entertainers, cake makers, caterers etc. that are still trading at this time of the year and book them, if you don’t want to do it all yourself.
Katie: My son is turning 6 on the 6th, my hubby is on the 11th & my daughter is turning 4 on the 21st. I have to be super organised, making sure the day is special and all about them. So far I’ve managed to have a small party for my children each year, letting them pick a theme. It’s a crazy time of year and a very busy month for us but wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jenni: My princess was born at midnight between the 23rd and 24th December so we actually got to choose her birthday! I was so upset about it being Christmas eve that we decided that 11:59pm on 23/12 was better than 12:01am on 24th! I’m actually baking cupcakes as I type for her to take to kindy tomorrow as this is their final week and Thursday is kindy Christmas party!;-)
Don’t forget to ask the birthday child how they want to celebrate
What children love or hate about a Christmas birthdays, will be different from year to year. As they get older ask them what they want to do – it may be different to what you think they want.
Chrissa: My son’s birthday is the 29th and he will be 8 this year. He hates it being in the holidays as he can’t take anything to school on his birthday. I try to organise something in the last week of school with his teacher but he says it’s not the same.
Wilma: My middle daughter’s birthday is on the 27th(turns 9 this year). She used to get upset because everyone is either away or too busy for a party, so now we do mummy/daughter day where we have lunch wherever she chooses, a shopping trip and a movie. She now looks forward to it and so do I.
And finally, do remember that celebrating birthdays is all about making your child feel special, loved and cherished, no matter what the day. How you do this will be different for every child and every family, so have lots of FUN !