It was Christmas Eve when Andrea Traynor gave birth to her daughter.
“My parents were over, helping me make dinner, when five minutes from eating, my contractions came on strong and fast,” Traynor says they dropped everything, called the midwife and raced to the hospital.
“We woke up on Christmas morning to the sounds of the Salvation Army band playing Christmas tunes, the local police department delivering toys to the seven new Christmas babies born while we were there and a little red knit newborn cap. Then we took the best Christmas gift one could ever imagine, home.”
She admits it was not her first choice as a day to give birth, “You wake up in hospital on Christmas morning, without your other child(ren)! And although those hand-knit Christmas baby hats are quite cute, if I could have chosen a different time of year, I would.”
Traynor, a blogger at MommyGearest.com adds, “After all, Christmas time is already busy enough without tossing a birthday into the mix.”
Let’s face it, the holidays are so hectic and high-profile that birthdays around this time of the year, can sometimes getting lumped into other holiday fun, put on hold or perhaps even fluffed off altogether.
But, a child’s birthday is an important day. Not just for them but also for you. You are celebrating your child coming into the world and whether that birthday falls in the month of December or early January (we can’t forget the New Year’s babies out there), it’s still a day dedicated to them, even if it lands in the middle of all the holiday hustle and bustle.
Kathy Lynn, parenting speaker and author at ParentingToday.ca says, it is important to make children feel unique on their birthdays.
“Each of these holidays is special in it’s own way. Christmas is a family and community event shared by all. A birthday is your special day, the day you were born. If you celebrate them together, the child misses the sense of being special,” Lynn explains.
She suggests parents think about how they would celebrate their child’s birthday if it fell during any other month of the year, “If you want to stick to the correct date in December, it’s important to make the birthday a separate celebration with birthday wrap, gifts, party and cake.”
In Traynor’s family, her daughter isn’t the only holiday baby. Her Dad celebrates his birthday on the December 23 and her mother-in-law, on December 29. Traynor says, “We really do go above and beyond to make it very separate from holiday celebrations.”
For example, on her daughter’s birthday, Traynor hosts a family-only dinner party on Christmas Eve.
“Our Elf on the Shelf wears a birthday cupcake outfit and brings her a gift, we put up balloons and make a real fuss,” she explains, “there are no carols or otherwise Christmas cheer, and NO ONE else is allowed to open gifts on Christmas Eve.”
Lynn says hosting a party outside of the holiday season can give your child a chance to mark the occasion with friends and experience their birthday before or after the winter holiday break.
For some families, birthday plans are more flexible.
That’s the case for Alison Grant Mathew, whose daughter’s birthday is December 24th. The family has held parties earlier in the month and even as late as February.
There’s a special dinner on Christmas Eve and always separate Christmas and birthday gifts.
She points out, neither she nor her daughter see the Christmas Eve birthday as an inconvenience.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” says Mathew.
“While the world hustled and bustled I sat in the hospital room watching the snow and had never felt more content in my whole life holding my one-day old baby girl in my arms.”
5 Best Ideas for a Special Holiday Birthday
Birthday Presents Only: Don’t double up on the presents. It may be tempting to give one gift for both Christmas and Birthday but don’t. It is important for the birthday boy or girl to know you were thinking of their special day and not just normal holiday gift giving when you give them a present.
One Celebration at a Time: You may want to double up and have a birthday/holiday celebration for time, budget and logistical reasons, but experts say, don’t do it. You want to make sure your child feels special and that it is their day. Be sure to have a birthday cake with candles to celebrate.
Do Something Unique & Fun: Caroline Fernandez, mom and blogger of Parentclub.ca, celebrates her child’s birthday on December 26th. The family makes sure they create a special day. They take down all the Christmas decorations and turn the Christmas tree into a birthday tree to make December 26 special.
Half Birthday Celebration: Choose another day to celebrate your child’s birthday with friends. They can have a party at the halfway point, in June or July, to celebrate their “half birthday”.
Ask The Birthday Boy or Girl: As your child grows and changes their interests change. Be sure to ask them how they want to celebrate their birthday. It will help you decide how to mark the special day but also allow your child to have a say in how they get to celebrate with family and friends.