When my younger son was born on Christmas Day, just a few days after my older son’s 3rd birthday, visions of tiny Santa suits, newborn photo shoots incorporating baby in a Christmas stocking and holiday cards with each family member wearing a plush red Santa hat danced through my head. I knew my husband might complain that he would be too warm in his Santa suit, so of course I had an adult snowman-print suit ready as a backup. It would be glorious. Then, the unthinkable….some naysayer made a comment about how my children would grow to despise their holiday birthdays. I refuse to accept this, and believe their birthdays should feel special and unique!
Celebrate Half Birthdays!
What could be sweeter than spreading out the birthday fun over an entire year? Don’t stress about planning a birthday party for your active preschooler in the dead of winter. The half birthday opens up so many options for locations and activities. If your child is desperate for a petting zoo at his December birthday party, give the half birthday a try instead. Then plan a smaller celebration or family-only celebration on the child’s real birthday.
Start a special tradition centered around the child’s birthday.
This could mean a family breakfast at IHOP, a homemade dinner with all your child’s favorite foods or a family movie night featuring a movie selected by your child. Maybe your special tradition is a birthday pizza instead of a birthday cake. It could be something as simple as going around the table and telling why each family member is thankful for the birthday boy or girl; those fun traditions are what your child will remember.
Do a toy purge in the months before.
With two December birthday boys at my house, a toy purge is a necessity. I want my boys to appreciate the gifts they receive. Instead of loading up their toy boxes with 87 new plastic gadgets piled on top of now-forgotten last year’s favorites, why not use the opportunity to teach about helping others? If your children are old enough, have them help select things they don’t play with often or have outgrown (in good condition) and donate to a charitable organization.
Think outside the box when it comes to party planning.
If holiday breaks and travel plans mean that many friends and family will be unavailable on the child’s birthday, consider planning the party a bit before or after the actual birthday. If you have a young child who is not quite ready for a large gathering, look into a family day trip to a special destination. A trip to Kansas City with a visit to Legoland or the aquarium makes a bigger impact on my toddler and preschooler than getting sugared up on a chocolate sheet cake and taking home plastic party favors that they will lose in approximately one day.
Embrace the holiday birthday!
Contrary to popular belief, a holiday-adjacent birthday can be a lot of fun! A birthday near a holiday doesn’t have to mean you have to choose between the two. One of the most enjoyable parties we have been invited to was for a little boy born a few days prior to the 4th of July. His parents celebrated him with a big shindig and combined 4th of July party, complete with presents, water slide bounce house and of course fireworks. If you have a Halloween baby, invite guests to wear their costumes to the party. And while I will never, ever (cross my heart!) wrap my sons’ birthday gifts in Christmas wrapping paper, I think the twinkling lights and festive Christmas decor add something special to their birthday celebrations.
How do you make “holiday” birthdays special at your house?