7 Ways to Deal With December Birthdays: A How-To Guide for Parents
For parents who have kids born in December, you’ve undoubtedly got a unique challenge on your hands. December-born kids often find their birthdays falling within a winter break, so they never get to bring cupcakes to school or have their locker decorated by classmates on their actual birthday, and chances are their friends will often be out of town for their big day too. And it can be challenging for parents to schedule a kid’s birthday party. Everyone is booked solid with holiday plans; it’s hard to squeeze a birthday party in among viewings of “The Nutcracker,” office parties, church functions, etc.
Katie Sheffield, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina was born on Christmas Eve and admits that having a holiday birthday comes with its challenges, but still, she wouldn’t trade it for a different birthday. “I like having a Christmas Eve birthday. I just think parents should make an effort to make their kids’ birthdays feel special even though it’s also a holiday.” And how exactly is this done? Read below to find out what steps to take to successfully navigate the world of December birthdays!
1. Avoid the Combo Gift
Stay away from the combo holiday-and-birthday-in-one gifts, and urge extended family members to do the same. Ask your kids to make separate wish lists for each occasion, and make sure to wrap their gifts with occasion-appropriate wrapping paper.
2. Separation From Tree and Cake
Depending on if your kid’s birthday is before or after the holidays, wait to put the tree and decorations up or take them down right away so you can properly celebrate their birthday independent of the holiday.
3. The Present Divide
For kids opening presents on an actual holiday, designate the morning for opening up gifts with their siblings, and save birthday gifts for the evening while their special cake is being served.
4. Holiday Time-Out
If their birthday falls just a few days before the holidays, refrain from doing anything holiday related on their special day, and reserve it for their birthday only. This means no wrapping presents, no Christmas tree or gift shopping, and no non-birthday decorating!
5. Instilling Tradition
One way to ensure birthday and holiday separation is to create a tradition that’s birthday—and not holiday—specific. Whether it be a red velvet cake every year, or dinner at your child’s favorite restaurant, create something for them to look forward to that has nothing to do with Christmas trees, menorahs, stockings or mistletoe.
6. The Half Birthday
Half birthday celebrations, while not for everyone, are many parents’ answer to the December birthday pickle. In the plus column, it gives kids something to look forward to the first half of the year. And if you like outdoor celebrations, it opens the doors up to being able to have a pool party or barbeque.
7. The Pretend Birthday
Different from the half birthday, this is a day chosen to celebrate one’s birthday in order to leave some space in between birthday and the holidays. Another reason for it is so parents can throw their kids a birthday party people will actually be able to attend. The beauty? Your kids get to celebrate twice. Save the gifts and the party for the fake birthday, but still indulge in dinner and a cake on the real thing.
Jesse Sposato is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist. She is cofounder and editor of Sadie Magazine, and when not working on her MFA, is also an essayist and drummer.