My youngest son (not the one in the picture above!) is turning 1 on January 3rd! I can’t believe it. It’s amazing to think that just in the year 2012, he has gone from a brand new infant to a crawling and cruising baby boy who said his first word today! (It was “uh-oh” after he stuck his hand in the dog’s water dish – so cute!) However, January 3rd is not the ideal birthday. The third is when hubby goes back to work, and it will be time for us to start up school again after the break. This year he won’t care that his birthday is right after Christmas and New Year’s Day, but I don’t want to become “that mom” who lumps his birthday in with the holidays. So I asked for ideas on my Frugal Fun for Boys facebook page, and many of you responded – both parents of children with birthdays close to the holidays and individuals who have a holiday birthday themselves. So many of you had some really great things to say!
Here’s a summary of some of the best ideas:
- If the birthday is early in December, consider waiting on Christmas decorations until the birthday celebration is over. If it’s after Christmas, maybe take down the decorations before celebrating.
- Don’t use holiday wrapping paper for birthday gifts! Several people were very adamant about this. Make the birthday a completely separate event with birthday paper and decorations.
- Combined gifts are another no-no, although older kids will probably start to appreciate a combined gift if it means that they will be able to get a larger item that they want. Keeping a separate budget for birthdays can help with the temptation to combine gifts. I’m thinking that cash envelopes might be a good system for us. We usually save up cash for Christmas throughout the fall, and now we’ll just add an envelope for Jonathan’s birthday as well.
- For family members who give a combo gift: If the child notices the combo gifts and the fact that other siblings get a separate gift, it might be worth it to mention the issue to the family member. But be understanding of the fact that it’s sometimes tough to buy another gift at the same time. One commenter suggested asking the family member to combine gifts for all of the children in the family so that it will be more fair. I thought that was a very wise suggestion!
- Combined gifts are seen by children as unfair, but receiving two rounds of gifts within a few weeks time can also be overwhelming, especially for younger kids. It may also be difficult to think of ideas of what to get! To avoid this, try doing a family outing or activity on the actual birthday (dinner out or a visit to the zoo, for example), and then do gifts on the child’s half birthday. I love this idea, especially for the early years. Jonathan will be so different at 18 months than he is now, and it might be fun to give him gifts then, especially since he’ll have new Christmas toys to play with now.
- Make birthdays a celebration of the life that God has given. This was one of my favorite suggestions! Keep birthdays (all birthdays – not just the child with the holiday birthday) simple as far as gifts go, and make the day about celebrating your children’s life. Go on a fun outing together. Look at photos and home videos. Have all of the members of the family share something that they love about the birthday person.
- Adults who responded said that they were disappointed as children when teachers and others forgot their birthday because it got lost in the shuffle. Since we are homeschooling, I don’t have any experience with how to combat this as a parent. I’d love for you to leave comments with suggestions!
He’s starting to look like a one year old… So cute!
Ideas about Parties:
- Kids don’t need a party every year. We only do parties when the boys turn 5, and we told Aidan that he (and the brothers after him) can have another big party with friends at age 10. We’ve done a couple of smaller celebrations – lunch out with friends, and a pool day with another family, but we save the big parties for age 5 and 10.
- Experienced moms of kids with holiday birthdays recommend having a party a few weeks before or after the actual birthday to get it away from the holidays a little more.
- Make the party a true “birthday” party and not just an extension of Christmas.
- Or, go all out and make it a Christmas party! One mom said that one of their most successful parties was a Christmas themed party. They roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and drank hot chocolate. There was even a visit from Santa who handed out candy canes, and each child got their picture taken with Santa!
The bottom line seems to be – make the child’s birthday just as special as the rest of the birthdays in the family. Do you have a child with a holiday birthday? What do you do to celebrate?
Update: We did a celebration on Jonathan’s actual first birthday, but waited and did gifts on his half birthday in July. It worked really well! I think we’ll continue this tradition as long as it seems to be working, or until he’s old enough to tell us that he wants something different!