“Oh your birthday is so close to Christmas! That must suck…!” is the guaranteed reaction I get whenever I tell people that my birthday is on the 23rd of December. Yes it is close to Christmas. No I don’t hate it.
Why don’t I hate having my birthday bundled up into the hustle and bustle of the busiest time of year when everyone is so focused on celebrating Christmas? Well, for starters, there is nothing I can do about it. You can change your name your parents give you but your birthday is a little more permanent.
The main reason, however, is due to the fact that my family always make the same deal out of my birthday as they do for any other birthday in the family.
As a kid it was probably much harder to understand why my friends were always busy or on holidays when my birthday came around each year. As an adult, I LOVE that we always have a day in the midst of the Christmas chaos, that we can just take it easy and spend time together as a family.
So how can you make your own, or your child’s, Christmas birthday special? Here are the do’s and don’ts!
Don’t roll it into Christmas
It is inevitable, particularly if the birthday is on Christmas Day, that there will be some celebrations that take place on Christmas Day. What I mean here is that you have a clear distinction between the birthday and Christmas. Use regular wrapping paper rather than Christmas paper, don’t give a Christmas card with “Merry Christmas” scratched out and replaced with “Happy Birthday”.
If the birthday is on Christmas Day, start a tradition of stopping at a particular time to sing happy birthday and give the birthday boy or girl their presents. Or you could dedicate half the day to Christmas and the other half to the birthday.
Do be creative with when you celebrate
Why not move the birthday to the same date in November one year so that friends and family can all make it to the party? Or people do Christmas in July so why not embrace birthday in July? Having a birthday so close to Christmas is surely reason enough to break a few birthday rules!
Don’t forget the post-Christmas birthdays
Having a birthday before Christmas is hard enough but I can imagine that for people born in that period between Christmas and New Year, it would be even harder. Everyone is wrapped up in their post-Christmas food coma and not able to think beyond their size of their belly or playing with all their new toys.
You could take down all of the Christmas decorations in time for the birthday, or in one room at least and fill it with balloons. Or start your own birthday feast tradition. The chaos is over at this time but given the general post-Christmas mood, don’t be complacent about the birthday too!
Do embrace your own birthday traditions
When a birthday is so close to Christmas, there is no avoiding the time of year. As much as it is about celebrating the birthday on that day, you will still be surrounded by Christmas decorations everywhere you go.
Our family tradition was to get our Santa photo taken on my birthday and it is something I have continued with my kids. It was something my sister and I looked forward to and it was a bit special to have Santa wish me a happy birthday. And speaking of Santa, instead of leaving cookies out for him on Christmas Eve we left birthday cake for the guy in the big red suit.
Don’t be stingy
As a kid my parents never ever gave me a combined Christmas and birthday present. Even as an adult when I wanted something a bit more expensive for my birthday and suggested it as a birthday/Christmas present, my mum struggled with the idea of not giving me two seperate gifts.
I know that Christmas can be an EXPENSIVE time of year but gifts don’t have to be expensive to be special. A well-thought out gift is going to mean more than one that costs hundreds with no thought behind it. And to be safe, forget the idea of dual gifts!
Do make a cake
Is a birthday complete without birthday cake? The last thing you might feel like at this time of year is eating more food, but a birthday calls for cake. And unless they request it, Christmas cake doesn’t count!
Remember that if your birthday is near Christmas we are in good company. Annie Lennox was born on Christmas Day, Ricky Martin on Christmas Eve and Jared Leto on Boxing Day, to mention just a few.
Image: Deanna Gaynor, dimages.com.au
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