In the midst of a busy holiday season, just how do you make a child's December birthday just as special as one that occurs any other time of the year?
A birthday gift wrapped in Santa wrap, a "combo" Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas present, a candle hastily added to a Yule log -- these are routine to a December born child.
Set a precedent early
Even for Baby's first birthday, resist the convenience of adding the birthday celebration on to the holiday gatherings. Early on, set an example that your child's birthday is a unique event. Talk about it as a separate entity, and hold any celebrations apart from the existing holiday festivities.
Use birthday wrap and decorations
A birthday present should be adorned in birthday wrap, not look like a Christmas gift. If you planned to use party decorations, choose a festive theme or color as you would at any other time of year.
Everyone's budget and calendar has an extra squeeze the holiday season, including your own. Plan well in advance for your December child's celebration, knowing how quickly finances drain and schedules book. Set aside a small budget for birthday costs, choose the date early and mail invitations well in advance. If your child wants to have a party at a popular location, book early to avoid disappointment.
Alter the course of time
Once your child starts inviting their friends and classmates to parties, ensure better turnout by having the party early. Guests may be more available for a late November or very early December gathering.
Or, if the birthday child agrees, have the party slightly later, in early January. This gives the birthday girl or boy the chance to be the focus of attention once the holiday season passes. Partygoers may appreciate January as it enables them to take advantage of after Christmas sales.
Unless the birthday child specifically requests a holiday theme, avoid a holiday-focused event, such as a tree trimming party. Your child and guests should feel like they are at a birthday celebration, not just another holiday event.
If family members don't pick up on your lead and your child is feeling slighted, use humor or a gentle reminder to relay your wishes. A lighthearted "We'll have to save our Christmas wrap to use for your birthday next June, Uncle Fred," just might make a casual point.
If despite your good intentions, you or your child feels their birthday just gets lost in the jumble, consider having a half-party on their summer half-birthday.
Host a simple, non gift-bearing gathering of family or close friends, and focus on your child. Have a special meal, do some favorite things, and let your child enjoy a day just for them.