This month, families get together to celebrate the birth of a Savior, a very big event which often overshadows another VERY big event in the eyes and hearts of a child.
When I was a child, kids used to envy me having my birthday in the month that everyone gets presents- “You must get a lot of them!” was the common outcry from my friends when they heard my birthday was December 10. But it was usually far from the celebration that I wished that I had considering that the change in my parent’s pockets only went so far with four girls presents to buy for Christmas. Having this personal experience, I know what makes (or breaks) a very special December birthday!
CAKE- Regardless of how much you might not want to get your child a special cake, do it. Make sure it doesn’t have Santa Claus on top or poinsettias. I absolutely HATED the year my mom not only got a cake with POINSETTIAS but also combined my sister’s birthday and mine proclaiming HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHELLY AND HOLLY!! (Holly’s birthday fell four days after mine on December 14th). If your child’s birthday falls on Christmas, stifle the urge to have “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS AND (your child’s name).” While you may think this is special, it isn’t to your child. Serving their cake at a special time of day either in the morning or the evening making it a special time separate from the family Christmas is also good. If your child agrees, celebrate the day after Christmas or day before- but make sure that YOUR CHILD AGREES and that you are not pushing the idea!
PRESENTS- Again, do not save money by combining their gifts telling them that they actually get more this way! Even if you do spend more on a gift if their birthday is on Christmas
feeling that your child is shortchanged somewhat, make sure that all gifts that are being opened are designated for SEPARATE occasions! Do not wrap their gifts in Christmas paper!! I still remember how my gifts were donned in reindeers and Santa- I would have loved Barbie paper or something other than red and green colored wrappings! Have the gift unwrapping during a special time as well along with the cake- not during the time everyone unwraps if their birthday falls on Christmas Setting up a special decorated table with a small birthday tree is a great idea to set apart your child’s birthday presents from the Christmas loot. Make sure that you get photos of the child alone while they unwrap gifts- kids love seeing pictures of their birthdays and would not appreciate the photos to include everyone holding their gifts
as well. It is THEIR birthday!
PARTIES- No combination celebrations no matter how hard you want to save time and effort. Your child’s birthday is a special day, set apart from the others in his or her mind and it is neither a Christmas Open House nor a Hanukah
gathering. If you have your child’s friends included in the celebration, be sure to plan far ahead. Kid’s party places such as Chuck E Cheese book up quickly during holiday breaks. If you decorate for a December party at home, USE BIRTHDAY DECORATIONS not holiday ones! Choose what colors they like and what theme they enjoy even if it clashes with whatever you have already put up in your house! Remember, you can always “undecorate” when the party is over but you can’t erase memories of a “Christmas themed” birthday!
BiographyMichelle Donaghey is a freelance writer and mother of two boys, Chris and Patrick, who are her inspiration. She lives in Bremen, Indiana just south of South Bend, home of Notre Dame. When she isn’t writing, Michelle can be found in her perennial flower garden or working on small home improvement projects. Michelle has written for parenting publications including Metro Kids, Atlanta Parent,Dallas Child, Great Lakes Family, Family Times and Space Coast Parent and websites including iparenting.com.
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