Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Works for You Wednesday 2!

It's another edition of Works for You Wednesday!

My son's birthday is December 20, and I would appreciate hearing from those of you who have navigated a child's birthday that is close to Christmas. When do you celebrate? Do you have a party? How do you handle gifts? Thanks for your advice!

To give and get more advice, click here.


Niki RuralWritings said...

Hi Carrie,
Yes, make a separate birthday celebration with separate gifts just for his bday. But as a mom who's raised her brood, I would caution you against starting friend bday parties, they are totally out of control, cost a fortune and are migraine inducing! We always had a big family birthday supper, with the birthday girl or boy choosing the menu, a pretty table with the good china, gifts, cake and family games. Sometimes a single friend was invited to join the family. It was more meaningful and no stressed out,crying, sugar overdosed kids!

Leanne said...

Christopher's birthday is 12/11. In the last 2 years we did have a party; however, this year we decided to move away from parties. We are going to let each set of grandparents celebrate with them when we see them. On his actual birthday this year, we will probably have fun dinner at home with cake and take him to chuck e cheese to play...
The reason we moved away from parties for all of our kids is to limit expenses (we can spend more on nice toys,etc for them if we don't do all the party stuff) and to limit their "expectations". We are trying to balance helping them feel loved versus helping them feel like they are the center of the universe. It helps that my husband and I did not grow up with birthday parties... I know its a big deal for a lot of families!!
Just enjoy the day, whatever you do! Its a celebration for you also!!

Judy said...

Hi Carrie,
We have 2 son's born on the 19th and 29th of December (both grown now). I know it is so hard to celebrate at that time of year, no one knows more than us, but we thought about this hard. Our conclusion was this, when our other children's birthdays came around we celebrated them on "their birthday date", with just our "family" and the grandparents only, so that is what we did, busy as it was. We still got them a birthday gift too, but really didn't do friend parties for all the reasons Niki said. We kept it pretty simple. Another kicker to it all is my father-in-law was born on Christmas day, so we had that to celebrate too.
With all the advice you'll be getting, I am sure you will find something here that you will try that will work for you and your family.

Rachel said...

Sorry but I have to disagree with the whole no-friend birthday party. Kids love to celebrate their birthday and having their closest friends over is the way to do it. I have 3 kids (6,3,2) and make a point to make each birthday as special as can be. My daughter's birthday is 12/19...we make that day all about her. Last year we had a party with friends after the Holidays. It worked out great for us.

mer said...

Here's an idea I saw in magazine several years ago for a child with a close-to-Christmas birthday. Put up a small, inexpensive tree in the child's bedroom and decorate it with birthday "stuff"--streamers, party hats. My idea is you could use a number theme. When your son is 2, decorate the tree with lots of number 2s out of paper or use 2 party hats, 2 balloons, etc. Having a birthday tree helps not to lose the birthday focus during the busy holiday season.

As for gifts, I'll be interested to see what others say. I don't have a December baby! Sorry I'm no help here.

But I will weigh in on the party issue. We had family parties for our children until they were 5. It was easier, inexpensive and a lot less stress. When they were 5, they could choose to have a party with a few friends. My girls always want a party, my son could take it or leave it.

I hope you get some helpful advice!

Kristin said...

Have you thought about celebrating his half-birthday so you'll be able to give it better attention? My cousin's bday is Dec 24 and we have always celebrated it on, cake, the whole deal.

Another thought about parties...I agree that friend parties can get out of hand. We have 5 children now. But, we decided a long time ago that each child could have a friend party every other year on their odd numbered birthday. So they get to have friend parties when they are 3, 5, 7 and 9. This cuts down on how much I have to spend, and it teaches them they don't have to have party every year. By the time they are 11 they'll just have some friends spend the night - no need for a big deal at that age.

Everyday Mommy said...

A true dilemma! Our son was born Dec. 26th so his birthday did seem like a bit of a let-down after the glory that is Christmas.

When he was quite small we chose a family-only celebration. But, this year (he is now almost 6) we elected to do a half-birthday party.

As for kid's birthday parties getting out of hand, that will only happen if you allow it to do so. We chose to celebrate his half-birthday in mid-July. We set up all sorts of water toys in the backyard, did burgers and dogs on the grill and I made a cake. Not expensive, not out-of-control and fun for everyone, including the adults.

You can see the fun photos here:

Half Birthday Party

spaghettipie said...

I have a friend whose son's birthday is also close to Christmas.

What they have done (not just because of the proximity, but for personal conviction as well) is made all birthdays in their family a really big deal. They celebrate with a party, family, friends - however. They reserve Christmas for being a big party about Jesus's birthday. They limit the number of gifts they give each other (3 to be exact, that's what the wise men brought). So if you were to do something like that, you could balance the perspective.
Will be interested to see what you decide!

Melanie said...

I was a December kid. Anything you do for his birthday, separate from Christmas, will make him feel special. Sometimes a party, sometimes not. When he starts school, have his party before school lets out for the holidays.

Dayna said...

My son's bday is 11/28 and my daughter's is 12/29. Each child has a birthday party with family only, but we allow friend parties every other year. When they turned 7, they were allowed to invite 7 friends. Since then when they've had friend parties it's fewer than 5 kids. We keep the activity and price reasonable.

Megan said...

We have one on December 29 and I'm not sure I have anything new to add. At this young of an age (when she turned 2) I remember we just kept things seperate, including waiting until most of the Christmas crowd had left and it was just us and the grandparents. We didn't start friend parties until several years later. With friend parties, and with four kids, we usually let one or two have a friend party each year. The next year they just have a family party. It isn't an exact science and sometimes it gets shifted to once every three years. My youngest (just turned 4) still hasn't had a "friend" party and has been fine with that. I mean, our family of 6 is sort of an instant party, you know?

We also kind of leave it up to the kid - if it's her turn for a party, does she even really want one? Surprisingly they don't always want this. They've been to enough chaotic birthday parties to understand that less is more in this case.

This year for our December birthday, we're planning to take just our family to Dave and Buster's. We'll eat and the kids will have fun with the games and tokens and that's about it. We've never done the Chuck E Cheese thing and they've never been to D&B either, so we think this could be fun for them without driving us totally insane.

:) Have fun with the birthday boy!

HopewellMomSchool said...

Celebrate his birthday. I grew up with 3 friends with Christmas/New Years birthdays that got 'Lumped in' with Christmas--bad, bad idea! Even if the birthday is Dec 25--chose a time in the day for the birthday, too!!

Jenny said...

My daughter's birthday is 12/19. If we have a party for friends, we usually try to have it closer to the beginning of the month. Then, on her actual birthday, we have a special supper and invite family that lives in town over for cake and ice cream. My husband's birthday is 12/17, so with their birthdays close together, we sometimes make a weekend trip and get a hotel with a pool and celebrate their birthdays that way. I think the toughest thing is that all the gifts come at the same time each year.

Molly said...

I am a New year's Eve baby, so always had to deal with this from the child's side growing up. Now, I'm expecting a baby on the 19th, so will be dealing with it from the parent's side! :) One thing that REALLY meant a lot to me as a kid was that my parents worked hard to make my birthday separate from the Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations...and they NEVER gave me one gift for both Christmas and my birthday! Some years we had parties (limited to 2-3 close friends) and other years we just went somewhere special with one friend or invited 1 friend to the family celebration. I think the important thing is that you do for this child what you plan to do for other future children and that you make it a special time just for him. Now, as an adult, my family celebrates my birthday (along with my sister-in-law's birthday, 12/23) on Christmas day when we are all together, because it is easier on everyone's schedule. But, we do it in the evening after we have spent the day focusing on Jesus' birthday! Hope you get some ideas to help you!

Karen said...

My daughter's birthday is December 20. She'll be 6 this year. We've always, always given her a separate party and gift(s). We do our parties at home and invite all the grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

We decorate with streamers & balloons, usually pink (her favorite). We serve non-Christmas food. We always have a birthday cake and our special "birthday" rainbow punch. We look at her baby pictures and the special movie her daddy made about her first year.

She has never felt left out and is actually more excited about her birthday than Christmas. It's worth the extra trouble to me for her to have special memories of her day. Her wants and wishes may change as she gets older but for now, this is what works for us!

Carrie said...

My brother's b'day is 12/18 and we always celebrated it as a seperate occasion. Of course, it helped that his best friend shared the same birthday so they did things together.

I had a friend whose birthday was on the 19th and every year she had a "month after" birthday and would have a party on Jan. 19th.

As for friends/family parties -- my mom opted to go the "every other year" route and let us have friends to celebrate with us every other year.

We just celebrated my son's first birthday and we kept it to just family beucase, uh, he wouldn't have noticed anyway! When he's old enough to remember these things, I'll probably do the every other year thing also.

LeeAnn said...

I have a daughter whose birthday is right before Christmas. It was so special to bring her home on Christmas Eve that we always talk about that for Christmas!

We also observe her birthday with a family party on her birthday! There have been years that we lost track of presents and did last minute Christmas shopping because we accidentally gave her the Christmas gifts for her birthday too.

I make a big deal about a month prior so grandparents don't forget her birthday either although one set seems to forget or combine presents anyway.

Ronnica said...

My own birthday is December 15, and I always hated how it would be overlooked growing up. My birthday parties were usually early, or occasionally late (I had one on January 1st). I know another family with a daughter who had a birthday near Christmas, and they would celebrate her half-birthday with the party and presents.

Things I remember disliking about having a December birthday:

presents wrapped in Christmas paper
combined birthday/Chirstmas presents
not being able to have an ice cream cake

Veggiemomof2 said...

Mine's 12/18 & my friend's little one is 12/23. I gave her some of the hints before her dd's 1st that my mom used on my bday.

Seperate presents in BIRTHDAY paper.
Seperate parties, NOT combined w/christmas.
DO make a big deal out of it. We only get 1 birthday a year & its NOT our fault it's at christmastime.

CityStreams said...

You could celebrate his half birthday in June instead. I think the important thing is to make him feel special. He probably doesn't know the difference right now. But when he gets older he's going to want to have his presents spaced out so that he's not getting everything once a year.

Courtney said...

My son's birthday is Christmas Eve. And, my husband's family has a long tradition of celebrating on that day and opening gifts...which makes it tough.

So, we celebrate as a family on Christmas Eve morning and then have a small gathering with his friends the Saturday AFTER CHRISTMAS. This is key - more friends are in town, and they are tired of all the holiday stuff by then.

Shama-Lama Mama said...

Hi! I have TWINS who are turning two on December 20th! My hubby and I actually abstained from trying to get pregnant for the period that would result in birthing during the holidays. But then we had twins, due in February, that came WAY too early.

My other son's birthday falls on or just beside Thanksgiving. I am beginning to hate the holidays what with all the rush.

Lots of good advice here. Thanks for asking!!

Classic MaMa said...

Wow! You got a lot of great advice. Of course, we'll be celebrating on Dec. 14 for our little Bubba. Still nto sure what we'll be doing. Probably a bunch of different birthday parties.

T with Honey said...

Looking back I love seeing pictures of my birthday parties, even though we were celebrating a major holiday right on the heels of that party.
Every year my mom would have a dinner at our house, add some party decorations (balloons and streamers) to the holiday decorations and get a cake in the theme of my choice.

My advice boils down to this: handle his birthday exactly the same as if it were on August 20th instead of December 20th.

Ewokgirl said...

I haven't read the other responses, so I apologize if I'm repeating anything.

I have lots of experience with this as my birthday is December 25th. My mother was always concerned that I would feel shafted, so my parents have always taken measures to avoid that. My birthday parties were usually the first week of December. That gave me a decent feel of separation of birthday and Christmas, and I suspect it also helped her by getting the birthday aspect out of the way so she could concentrate on Christmas.

When I was older and no longer have birthday parties, we started celebrating my birthday on December 5th.

When the box of presents would arrive from the relatives, there was always a birthday gift inside for me. My mom let me open it immediately, rather than having to wait for my actual birthday. No one has EVER combined the two occasions into one gift.

People always assume that I hate my birthday, but I really love it. My husband jokes that I treat the whole month of December as my birthday. I think I love it because my parents always made a big deal of it and specifically separated it from Christmas.

Ewokgirl said...

Okay, I've just skimmed through the responses. I saw that someone said to make sure to wrap the birthday gifts in birthday paper. I'd like to second that advice!

When we were first married, my husband stuck all my presents under the tree, and they were all wrapped in Christmas paper. I asked him which ones were birthday and which were Christmas. He said, "Pick!"

Um, let's just say that he's never repeated that mistake again! ;-)

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

Also a Christmas kid here, my birthday is the 28th of Dec. Make sure you celebrate the same way you do for your other kids. (as far as party or no ) My mom used to undecorate the Christmas tree and put great big pink tissue paper flowers all over it for my birthday. And, under no circumstances, get a big gift and say it is for birthday and Christmas!

Melissa said...

My birthday is December 16 and my mom always did a great job seperating it from Christmas. Most important for kids is having seperate gifts that are wrapped in birthday paper. She always made a special cake that I got to pick out. I usually had a friend birthday party early in the month so that people weren't so busy with Christmas. I think as long as you celebrate his birthday and don't combine it with Christmas he will love it. It will take a little more effort at a busy time of year but it will be worth it.

Amy said...

My daughter's birthday is Dec 19th (she was due on New Years Day, but we induced early). We are sticking to family celebrations until three and three and then after that inviting one or two friends for the special day.

This year Emily will be turning two so I am going to do a brunch in the first weekend of December (to space it out a bit). I do breakfast casseroles, coffee, and then I decorate Krispy Kreme donuts as the "cake" for the day on a cakestand. She loves donuts and I know it will be as much of a treat as a cake would be.

We did the same thing for my son's second birthday and it was perfect!

Shelley said...

Hi Carrie,
Here are my thoughts on a Holiday birthday. My birthday is December 31st...actually I was born at 11:58...two minutes before midnight. My parents believed that if my birthday was on May 22(random date), they would have celebrated and had a party and whatever else, so why should I be penalized because my birthday was a week after Christmas? We weren't rich growning up, but my Mom tackled the financial end of it with good planning and by not waiting until the last minute (she was famous for buying ALL gifts early!). We usually had a party for my birthday, but I only invited a few friends and we usually made it a sleepover since it was New years Eve. My Mom always made it very special without spending a fortune...she was very creative. Anyway, Christmas was wonderful in my home, and my birthday was a wonderful celebration as well. It was great for me to have the two back to back!! No regrets on my parents part or mine. :-)
Now that I am a Mommy...I guess I was being prepared as my oldest (3) was born on Dec 29th and my youngest(1) on Dec 2nd. They were both adopted and their adoption days were Dec 27th and Dec 18th...we celebrate those days too. So, basically from Thanksgiving until the New Year we are in a constant state of celebration. It is wonderful time of year at our house! Lots of celebrating, lots of reasons to be thankful, and lots of excuses to rip open a gift!
Oh...and my husbands birthday in July 4th...we have a big party then too. We celebrate His birthday, 4th of July, and our daughters' citizenship.
Don't back away from celebrating the special moments of your childs life when they occured...none of them have to put you into financial ruin, but the memories will last a lifetime!!
I like the idea Niki said about a big family birthday supper and inviting a friend to join you. I think just the fact that you make the day special is so important. Last year, when my oldest turned 3, we were all in route back to the United States with our youngest child whom we had just adopted. We were traveling for nearly 30 hours. Aly didn't get a gift or a party from us as such, but the whole day we fussed over her, told everyone in all the airport/planes that it was her birthday. She got lots of fussing over her by all the airline staff in the various was very special to her. When we finally arrived home there were lots of friends and family waiting for us as we got off the plane. One friend had planned a party for Aly. As we came through the door, they had baloons and a crown waiting for her and everyone rushed up to her to wish her Happy Birthday. To this day, when I ask her what her favorite part of the trip to China was, she says, "My birthday party at the airport!"
Sorry this was so long, but it is a subject near and dear to me!! Hope it helps some~