We are very blessed to be expecting baby #5 in early December. I love this time of year, with all the decorations and festive spirit and Christmas music playing every where I go. I enjoy the cold weather and bundling up to go outside. It makes me happy to have a fire going to keep the house warm, and to have our tree all lit up with lights. I especially love how easy it is to talk about Jesus at this time of year without getting sideways looks from people.
What I wasn’t sure about was having a baby at this time of year. Would my child feel like their birthday was always overshadowed by the season? Would we never be able to have a party because everyone is so busy with everything else? Would we even be able to afford to make a special deal of birthday’s in December with Christmas right around the corner?
Luckily, I know the answer to most of those questions, or at least answers that work for my family. You see, this is our 3rd baby to be born at this time. Our 4-year-old was born a day after Thanksgiving (in fact her birthday is on Thanksgiving this year), and our 2-year-old was born on December 20. So we do have a few years practice at dealing with birthday’s during the holidays. And so far we have managed to make each one special. I will give you some pointers and ideas that have worked well for us.
- We don’t do birthday parties every year. This isn’t just for our children born during Christmas, it is also for our 2 children born in the summer. Our birthday party years are 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 18. We’ve only gone up to 13 so far, but 16 and 18 are the plan for the future. As a family we decided that these are the “special” years. Don’t get me wrong, we still celebrate our child on their birthday each and every year, they just only get a party with friends on these years. On the “off” years, we still have a special dinner and cake with just family, and we either go somewhere fun, like the beach for our summer babies, or I take the birthday child on a special shopping trip where they get to pick out their birthday present (within a given budget.) Our children have always felt super special and enjoyed these years just as much as the party years, and it has saved us the time and money it takes to throw a party. And I think it makes the birthday parties that much more special!
- We combine parties. I’m sure there are some people out there that think this is a big no-no, but it has worked surprisingly well for us. Our girls are only 2 years apart, so they have many of the same friends, or at least family’s with their children spaced 2 years apart as well. And they have many of the same interests (Disney Princesses!) so throwing a combined party just makes sense. Another idea is to have a Santa Claus party for a child whose birthday is in December. We did this for one of my daughter’s one year. My dad dressed up like Santa and handed out little gifts to all the guests, and the children got to decorate a miniature tree. And for my Thanksgiving baby, when it isn’t a party year we combine her birthday with Thanksgiving dinner, that way family only has one event to go to. We just throw in an extra cake. Who doesn’t want extra cake at Thanksgiving anyway, right?
- We move the parties up a few weeks. Since we know everyone will be busy Thanksgiving week, we usually have our turkey baby’s party a week or two before. And the same with our December 20 baby. If we aren’t combining the parties, hers also gets moved up a week or two so it isn’t so close to Christmas. If we are combining their birthdays, we will usually move our Thanksgiving baby’s party back a couple weeks and have the double party right in between both their birthdays.
- We don’t go crazy with birthday gifts. Our children usually only get one gift from us on their birthdays. Especially if it is a party year, because we know they will be getting gifts from their friends and family as well. Their one gift is something that they want, not something that they need, so that makes it special. And like I mentioned before, when it isn’t a party year they get to choose the gift themselves. This saves us money, especially for the birthdays around the holidays, because we don’t have to buy a ton of presents so close to Christmas. Our children get spoiled enough by grandparents that they don’t even notice if we got them one or five. Even if they didn’t, getting one gift they really want makes them appreciate things more than if they got a bunch of stuff, in my opinion, and makes it more special.
This year is a little bit different though. It happens to be a party year for both my turkey baby and my Christmas baby, and I am due with another little bundle right smack dab in the middle of their birthdays! I really want them to still have their parties, but I don’t want to schedule them and then have to cancel because I’m in labor. I also don’t want to host a party shortly after I have given birth, not only because I will be recovering but because I really don’t want any germs our guests might bring over, making my newborn sick. So this year they are having a combined party the weekend before Thanksgiving. Sure, it is a whole month before my December 20th birthday girl, but I don’t think that will make much difference. She is only turning 3, after all.
I hope some of these ideas were helpful to you. Let me know in the comments if you have any holiday babies in your family and how you handle birthdays.
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