Long story short: two of my children are what I consider “Christmas babies”. My son’s birthday is within days of Christmas so he was my original Christmas birthday baby.
Three years later, I went into labor with Elle on Christmas Eve. All I could think was, get this baby out before midnight so she doesn’t end up with the worst birthday of the year! She ended up being born at 2am on Christmas Day. AKA the worst birthday of the year.
So now I have TWO Christmas babies.
Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about how to manage these unfortunately-timed Christmas birthdays.
Your Child’s Christmas Birthday: DON’TS
1. Don’t let your child hear you complain about their birthday
It’s been 8 years for my son and 5 years for my daughter, and they are still completely unaware that their dates of birth are the actual worst. I have successfully brainwashed them into thinking a Christmas birthday is extra special and fun.
You can complain to your mom friends about how horrible their birthdays are, but never in the presence of the kids.
2. Don’t let their birthday party be an afterthought
December is so busy and stressful, I can relate to the temptation to just put off having their party until January. But think about the days leading up to your birthday as a kid. It’s basically as torturous as the end of pregnancy. Don’t make them wait extra long!
I always err on the side of doing it early, because no kid ever minds getting presents early. Also, it does feel special to get presents before Christmas. After all the holiday hoopla, having a birthday party in early January is going to feel anti-climactic.
3. Don’t make their birthday Christmas-themed
The whole month of the December is Christmas-themed. Let their birthday be a birthday! That means no Christmas wrapping paper, no Christmas party decorations, none of that. If your kid is into trains or ponies let them have a train or pony party like all the kids who were born in the other 11 months of the year.
Your Child’s Christmas Birthday: DOs
1. Do talk to family members about keeping the birthday separate from Christmas
Of course it’s always up to the giver what type of gift they want to give, but some relatives might need subtle hints about how Christmas babies truly appreciate not having their Christmas and birthday gifts meshed into one (or skipped altogether).
2. Do keep it small and manageable (if you have to)
Only bite off as much as you can chew when it comes to throwing a party. The last thing any kid wants for his birthday is to see Mommy have a stress-induced meltdown. Remember it doesn’t need to be huge (or Pinterest-inspired) to make your child feel special and loved.
If you can’t handle hosting during the holiday season, why not celebrate with family at your local pizza joint? Or bring a car full of your kid’s friends to the movies or bowling alley. It can be low-stress without being low on fun for the birthday boy or girl.
3. Do carve out some special time for the birthday child
A one on one lunch date with Mom or Dad doesn’t take much time out of your busy day but it will make a big impact.
When my son’s birthday falls on a school day, I join him for lunch in the school cafeteria. It’s 30 minutes out of my day and he feels like a superstar on his birthday. If your school doesn’t allow lunch visits, ask if you can come in as a mystery reader and read a book to the class.
Other simple ways to squeeze in some special time could be a family game night, movie night or just letting your child stay up past bedtime hanging out with Mom and Dad.
A Note About “Half Birthdays”
People have suggested to us that we shift our kids’ birthdays away from the holidays by celebrating their half birthdays in the summertime instead. While this seems to work well for some families, I’ve always felt like the day when their age changes is a big deal for kids and needs to be acknowledged. I have a hard time getting on board with just saying “yesterday you were four, today you are five and we will celebrate that in six months.”
That said, my children’s opinions are the ones that really matter so if they ever decide they want to move to half birthdays, I would follow their lead.
If your child is a Christmas baby (or if you yourself are!) I’d love to hear from you!
What are the biggest challenges of birthdays during the holiday season? What have you tried that works for your family?