My first son’s due date was January 9. It was no secret to anyone that pregnancy was hardly my favorite stage in life, and I was more than ready to get the show on the road. I remember joking with friends and family that I would be totally fine if my baby was a Christmas or New Year’s Eve baby. Sure, his birthday would be overshadowed by a major holiday, but hey – he’d be out of my vag sooner, so it was a win for me!
It should have been a foreboding omen of what parenting would be, but my birth timeline, of course, didn’t go according to plan. My son was eight excruciating days late. This made him far from a Christmas baby; he was born on January 17.
In retrospect, now that I no longer have an eight pound baby sitting on top of my bladder, I’m happy that my son has his own birth month outside of the holiday season. But, after the excitement of Christmas dies down, I have no freaking clue what to get the kid for his birthday.
As any amped-up, doting parents would do, we threw him a decent-sized first birthday party last year. We ended up telling everyone on the Facebook invite that it was entirely optional to bring gifts. (He’s only one! He won’t remember if you bring him something special, or nothing at all!)
We did figure that all of the generous birthday party attendees would probably bring gifts anyway, so we suggested clothing as a gift option – as tactfully as possible. Our house was filled to the brim with Christmas toys and all of the other crap that we just “had” to impulse-buy him off Amazon the other 11 months of the year. (Literally, we had five different toddler-sized push toys lined up between our entryway and the TV.)
So the clothing plan turned out to be a Godsend, especially since my one-year-old son was none the wiser. The people that opted to bring gifts gave us a ton of cute boy’s clothes that lasted throughout the rest of the year.
But now my first son’s second Christmas and birthday combo are rolling around again. I know it isn’t polite to dictate what anyone should or should not give you since that takes away from the spirit of giving. Really, we’ll be totally grateful for anything that is given, no matter how small, large, cheap, or expensive.
But if friends and family do ask, I’m going to play the Grinch this year. NO TOYS FOR CHRISTMAS!
This year, we have two sons: My older son is almost two, and my second son is seven months. So between the two of them, I’m going to bet that we’ll get even more baby and toddler-friendly toys that will turn our living room into a toy graveyard.
Perhaps if my first son had been born a Christmas baby as I had selfishly hoped, we’d be able to get this major toy problem under control. Family members would probably lump both of his gifts together and just get him one Christmas-birthday hybrid gift in the month of December. Of course, as he got older, he’d probably argue that his birthday was totally overlooked around the holidays, and he’d be right.
It’s almost sick to complain about having too many toys for a toddler because it feels like the utmost in “first world problems” of parenting. But as holidays and birthdays pass, and you add the second kid into the mix, toy overload becomes a reality – at least in our house.
So, here’s the game plan. If anyone asks (or is reading this blog post), please give my kids something practical for Christmas – no matter how much of a Scrooge it makes me! If anyone isn’t asking (and why should you?), we’re already grateful for anything you’ve decided to gift us with.
If my son hits the jackpot again this year between Christmas and his birthday to follow, I’m going to take advantage of the fact that he still has no understanding of the holidays. I’m going to make a massive sweep and give a big chunk of his toys to charity, and he won’t even miss them.
For those parents that landed the Christmas baby I dreamed of, I still can’t decide if it’s a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, you can lump all the hectic holidays together and cut down on the amount of toys in your house. On the other hand, your kid may grow up resentful that their birthday was overshadowed and hold it against you in therapy later on in life. I, personally, am fine taking a Grinchly stance this year – the fewer gifts, the better.