Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Birthday Christmas

Going Green Mama has tired of cupcakes and Christmas treats....

This past week marks my son's third birthday. His "birthday Christmas" (as he calls it) is a milestone he keenly reminds us of at every opportunity. And at the tender age of two, he's got it down that this means toys.

Late December birthdays typically mean one of two things: the birthday person is largely lost in the holiday hustle and bustle, or the family goes overboard in trying to overcompensate that it's the holiday season.

In our home, we've talked extensively about how to handle this issue before my son realizes the effect of a birthday five days before baby Jesus's. Here's how we opted to handle it:

1. Limit gift-giving to three items from the parents, possible extra gift from sibling. (We instituted this originally for Christmas, when by September the year my daughter was born I'd already gone a wee bit overboard.)

2. Be strategic in your shopping. My kids get a lot of "needs" for their gifts and a fun book or toy. They have enough toys, to tell the truth. At this age, they're just happy to open wrappings.

3. Be flexible in celebrating special days. Birthdays are marked with family gifts and dinner. A small celebration with important friends or family members can always happen in the weeks surrounding it. Having family members that have to travel to celebrate helps this considerably.

4. Realize a celebration doesn't have to equal "party." My little guy will be thrilled to go to the electric train exhibit at the local museum. It's special to him, his loved ones will share it with him, and that's what makes the moment.

I realize it's simple for now; I'm sure as my children age we'll have to get more creative.

If you have a December birthday in your home, how do you emphasize it among the holiday hustle - and without overcompensating with stuff?


Green Bean said...

We have a mid December birthday and have struggled with this for years. Either it is overshadowed, it is just too much for my son or mom is exhausted and sick by the time Christmas comes. This year, we had a small party for friends in October to celebrate his 3/4 birthday. We were able to enjoy the nice weather and be outside which almost never happens in December. Then, when December with its holiday craziness rolls around, we had a special event with each set of grandparents. It was so much better this way. My son still felt special, still enjoyed his birthday but we got to do it without all the insanity that comes in December. I don't think we'll ever go back to celebrating the whole thing in December.

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth said...

My mom has a December birthday and still struggles with it to this day. For her it has always been really important to have her birthday be very separate from the holidays.

I have had friends who had children with December birthdays that always celebrated the half-birthdays.

I think it is hard to have a birthday so close to the holidays, but I think it can be done well. Especially if there are good intentions behind the celebrations.

Manda said...

My birthday is on the 20th and I LOVE it! Over in NZ it is summer so my favourite season plus the buildup to christmas just makes it more fun. When I was little I would either not have a party or have it a couple of weeks in advance because everyone would go away on holiday. I think if I were in the northern hemisphere I'd celebrate with friends even earlier.
Never had an issue with presents, although people always make sure that I get seperate presents because they are so close. I now have to ask to get conjoined presents because I want something better, but my parents have difficulty not giving me something on one of the days.
I think it's great but I guess others don't feel the same, but I never felt like I was missing out on anything.

robbie said...

Manda, interesting perspective! I am sure as the kids get older it will be less of an issue. Right now, though, the kids at day care are jealous because my son "gets Santa Claus at his birthday!"


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