When Winter Holidays and Birthdays Collide
At a young age, the concept of sharing is drilled into children’s minds. Birthdays, however, are the one exception to that rule! So, naturally it can be disappointing when you have to share that one special day with someone else, but when that day happens to coincide the most celebrated birthday throughout the world, it can present even more profound challenges. This potential trauma was adeptly illustrated through the tragic tale of Beverly Hills 90210’s Donna Martin, who suffered a lifetime of overlooked birthdays (despite the confounding fact that she was an only child) until she met the gang, who took time out of their holiday drama to sing the birthday song.
Ensure that your “Christmas baby” doesn’t wait until their high school sophomore year to properly celebrate their birthday! Booked Parties specializes in celebrating multiple occasions simultaneously and is here to provide you with some tips to seamlessly achieve the balance between holiday cheer and birthday fun.
Timing is Everything
As the throngs of people born on Halloween, New Year’s, Easter, Passover and the dreaded Yom Kippur (the Jewish holiday where eating is forbidden) will tell you, December birthdays cannot stake a claim on birthday conflicts. As Claire says, “Creative scheduling is everything and by simply consulting the calendar and planning a party a few weeks before or after your child’s actual birthday, a lot of stress can be avoided.”
Expert Tip: Send your invites early! Many events will be planned on the weekends preceding and following the holidays in a similar attempt to avoid conflicts.
That’s a Wrap!
Institute a family rule and communicate it to the extended family. Meryl declares, “There are to be no combined gifts!” Clearly designate birthday gifts by wrapping them appropriately. For those who may be unsure, birthday gifts are marked by balloons and cake, while holiday gifts are differentiated by snow, Santa or jingle bells. Those individuals who come bearing gifts wrapped in one of these themes will receive half points!
Expert Tip: Give the birthday child their moment by having everyone pause from opening their holiday gifts while birthday gifts are opened.
Get Off to a Good Start
Meryl recommends intercepting the birthday boy/girl at the cut-off to ensure they know their day was not forgotten, saying, “While they are sleeping, decorate their door with birthday decorations and balloons. This way, no matter what happens once they cross that threshold, their first moments of the day are about them.”
Expert Tip: Decorations do not need to be extravagant. Balloons made of numbers reflecting your child’s age or a simple birthday sign will do the job.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or any other holiday, split the day in half. For example, Christmas morning can be all about the holiday, but the afternoon can switch over to birthday time. Claire outlines a potential day, saying, “Begin the day tearing through holiday gifts and celebrating with family, but make sure to incorporate an element that’s special to the birthday child in the afternoon. It can be going to a movie they’ve been dying to see followed by dinner. Time may be limited based on family plans, but always remember birthday cake and singing.”
Expert Tip: No matter how many hours are designated as “birthday time,” ensure it includes something that is special to the birthday child and that the entire family has switched over to birthday mode.
Let’s address the white elephant in the room. While many parents attempt to avoid the half-birthday celebration, this may be a solid option for families who simply cannot carve out adequate birthday time for their “Christmas baby.” Once you go this route, however, be warned that you will never be able to un-celebrate your child’s half-birthday again, so proceed with caution. Though typically half-birthdays are celebrated with much less fanfare, Meryl says there are special cases. She says, “When celebrating half-birthdays in lieu of actual birthdays, the skies the limit and your event can be on par with a typical birthday party.”
Expert Tip: When throwing a large half-birthday celebration, do not involve friends in festivities surrounding the actual birthday. Remember that no one besides for you has any interest in celebrating the birth of your child more than once.
Make Your Own Holiday
As Seth Cohen on The O.C.taught us with Chrismukkah, and Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza before him with the formation of Festivus, it is possible to take your favorite elements of a holiday and finetune it to meet your family’s needs. It’s all about branding. So, if you celebrate Hanukkah and it coincides sweet Amy’s birthday, your family can celebrate a night of Amy-kah and if little Jayden’s birthday falls on Christmas, celebrate Jaymas if you so choose. But, whatever you decide, keep your sanity, do what works for your family and remember that the magic of the holiday season wrapped up with birthdays is to be cherished!
Shauna Levy is a writer, communications professional and a stay-at-home mom. Her interests include flaunting her discount shopping finds, cooking food her children reject and restoring her 125-year old home. She is currently raising three boys, ages 9, 6 and 5 alongside her husband in Chappaqua, NY.