Born Too Late (December): Birthday Parties For A Difficult Time

“Christmas babies” There’s an adorable  term for children who get the short end of the peppermint stick. It’s a pretty bum rap for a kid to get born anytime after the 20th of December. They often get stuck with a combination birthday/Christmas celebration that includes single gifts for both holidays and birthday cakes–adorned with Christmas themes, as another reminder of some really bad timing. Here are a few simple tricks to keep a birthday boy or girl from being slighted. We’d say they’re obvious tricks, but, seriously, some people still haven’t figured this stuff out…

First of all, consider an annual tradition of a half-birthday. The half-birthday is celebrated six months out from the child’s actual birthday. For example, if the birthday falls on December 20, the half birthday would be June 20. Acknowledge the child’s birthday on its actual day, but plan something special for his half-birthday. Summer parties are always more fun, anyway, and more people will probably be able to attend because they don’t have other holiday obligations. Your child will love being the center of attention and not having to compete with Christmas. Plus, you only have to buy half a cake.

(You can also go with November 13th, which was Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday. He left the date in his will to a child who was born on Christmas Day, and so never really got to have a real birthday party. That was nice of him He probably wouldn’t mind if you used it, too.)

If planning a half-birthday isn’t an option, and you would prefer to do a party closer to the child’s birthday, then planning a celebration before the holidays is a good idea. School aged children usually have an extended vacation during the holidays, so plan to have the party at the beginning of that vacation. Stress to attendees that it is a birthday party, not a holiday party, so guests show up with birthday themed cards and presents. It is convenient including holiday themed decorations at this time of year, but refrain from doing so. Decorations should be birthday themed, with balloons, streamers and brightly colored party favors. No Christmas trees or wreaths allowed on the child’s birthday cake, and wrapping paper should be birthday themed as well. Make it a day all about the birthday boy or girl, with no mention of Christmas anywhere in sight.

Children look forward to their birthdays all year long. They don’t want to hear the birthday gift you got them is also a Christmas gift, so make their birthday a special day where they are the center of attention and receive gifts separate from any other holiday. While it might be convenient to combine the two celebrations as an adult, young children may not understand. Make the day of their birth as unique and as special as the child.