My birthday is in a week. Having had a December birthday for almost 33 years, I can tell you- it's easy for it to suck. The reason it rarely bothered me as a kid rests squarely on the shoulders of my wonderful parents who always made a point of making a big deal out of my birthday. Besides winter weather-related cancellations, I always had a party. My mom and dad treated it exactly the same as my brothers' summer birthdays and I never felt anything lacking. No matter how busy they were and no matter how tight the budget due to the many financial foibles this time of year brings, my birthday never felt like a burden or an afterthought. As an adult, it doesn't bother me much but as a kid, it can kind of stink having the two most exciting days of your year happen in the same month. That is, unless the adults in your life take certain measures to make it special:
1. No snowman wrapping paper for birthday presents, please.
Sure, it is easily available but don't go there. It's their birthday, not an extension of Christmas.
2. Put up the tree after their birthday if you can.
My mom always made a point of doing this but my birthday is mid-month. Of course, this won't be feasible if your child's birthday is too late in the month or even after Christmas, but it did make me feel special that we did my birthday first.
3. Don't combine gifts for birthday-Christmas gifts.
Naturally, it would be easy to buy "one big gift" but take it from a December girl- in a First World Problems kind of way, it does truly suck getting all of your gifts for the year in a two-week span. As an adult it's not a big deal but as a kid, it is kind of a bummer.
4. Have a party if they want one.
Your December weekends might be a mess of work parties and family obligations of one kind or another but if you throw parties for your other kids, try to do one for your December kid too. My mom did them for me and even though I'm sure it was tough to squeeze in, it made me feel special as a kid.
5. Consider doing something for them in June too.
I never did this but I knew of December kids who had a little party or got a small gift for their half-birthday. I think if your child has a birthday actually ON Christmas, this might be nice to consider.
6. Avoid Christmas-related gifts.
I do love my extensive holiday ornament collection but for a little kid, it kind of sucks to get something like that as a birthday gift. It might be tempting when so many stores have that sort of thing so readily available but think of it this way- would you do it if their birthday were in June?
7. Don't let the family forget.
My family was awesome about my birthday growing up and no aunts or grandparents ever blew it off but I can see how it would be easy to do amid the bustle of the season.
8. Buy real birthday decorations.
Although I will admit I enjoy the festive atmosphere that this time of year brings to my birthday, I also loved the fact that my mom didn't just throw up the tree and the lights and call it good. She still got me a special "Happy Birthday" sign and balloons that were not red and green. And I love her for it.
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