When we first started telling people I was pregnant with our firstborn naturally the first question was, “When are you due??” To which we responded, “December 22!” People almost always had the same response: Sympathy. People already felt sorry for our unborn baby who would have to share her birthday with the craziness that is Christmas time.
I quickly grew tired of people saying things like, “Poor thing!” Or “That’s a bummer!” Part of me kind of hoped my baby would come on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, what an awesome gift! But we actually ended up having to wait until December 31st to meet our little girl.
Almost exactly 4 years ago we celebrated New Year’s Eve in a unique but wonderful way! And now every year we have an extra special reason to celebrate December 31st!
My daughter still gets sympathy when she tells people her birthday, she probably always will. But right now she is 3 (almost 4) and to her she doesn’t really mind her birthday being in December AND on a holiday. To her December is THE BEST month of the year! I really hope she never minds having her birthday be December 31st.
Sure, there are some potential negative things about having a birthday be close to Christmas, but those things don’t have to be a big deal! Yeah, December is already a hectic month, so adding a birthday in there can be hard, but not impossible. And yes, it is an added expense to an expensive time of the year, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. And another thing that can be hard is making a child feel special when there is already so much going on. But again, it’s not impossible to do!
My younger sister also has a birthday in December, Christmas Eve in fact. So growing up I saw how my parents helped to celebrate her and also celebrate Christmas. My sister genuinely loved when her birthday was. As a family we still kept the 24th as her special day, always! I think I was even slightly jealous that she got to have Christmas lights and a tree be the backdrop to her birthday party each year too! The closest Christmas and her birthday blended was that she shared a birthday cake with Jesus, and loved that! I mean how many kids can share a cake with him!?
So instead of feeling bad that my daughter has the unfortunate life sentence of a December birthday, we have chosen to really make it special and enjoyable for her. I think our attitude and approach to her birthday helps her to better enjoy her day!
Some of the simple positive ways we do this are:
1) Keep her birthday about her
December 31st is a holiday, but it will always be about our daughter. We may have other things going on or parties that we are invited to, but our primary celebration that day is her.
We have separate gifts for her to open on her special day. It sometimes it is kind of nice to be able to buy gifts for Christmas and then be able to buy a fun accessory or something that goes along with it for her birthday. She doesn’t get less stuff just because of when birthday is. She always has gifts to open on her actual birthday.
Another simple birthday tradition we started was breakfast out with just her and myself or my husband. She gets a special treat and one on one time with one of us which is rare! It’s sometimes just take a few little things to help kids feel special on their birthday, no matter what day of the year it falls on!
2. Throw a party
We also plan a simple party as close to her birthday as we can, and it is just for her. It may be tempting to just combine with some family Christmas parties, but we still have a separate celebration for her. As she gets older she gets more say as to who we invite and what that party will look like.
Another party between Christmas and New Year’s can be tough. But a plus to her birthday then is that she won’t ever have school on her birthday! And as she gets old enough to enjoy staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, she will enjoy the extra time celebrating on her birthday! It’s kind of a built in party day!
3. Don’t make her birthday seem like an after thought
What I mean by this is that we build the excitement and antipaction for both Christmas AND her birthday. We count down to both special days. We talk about both. While Christmas is a big deal we don’t let her birthday just sneak up on us unprepared. We plan ahead for it, and are excited for all of the celebrations that December let’s us celebrate.
This also means she doesn’t just get stuck with the leftovers. Simple things like not just using leftover Christmas wrapping paper and decor, or using the leftover desserts from Christmas parties. It’s her special day, so she can have special things that are separate from Christmas. It’s not a big thing, but it make a difference!
I love Christmas and I also love birthdays. So December is fun time where I get to help my family celebrate both! I am excited that my daughter can enjoy a December birthday. My hope is that she doens’t ever see it as a bummer or a bad thing. To her it’s a magical time of year full of lights, Christmas decor, family, fun AND when she gets to turn another year older.