Don't blow off the December birthday

Dec 3, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

From the shopping to the school fundraisers to the fun — and not so fun — holiday parties, December can be exhausting.

And then there’s your child’s birthday, right smack in the middle of it all. And he’ll understand if you lump it in with the other holiday activities, right? Maybe not…

Holiday schmoliday

You might think that because your baby is, well, only a baby, she won't know any better if you skip it, delay it or phone it in. Because, you'll be buying her great gifts for Christmas and celebrating the holidays anyway, right? Well, while this all may be true, you'll only be setting a precedent that will be hard to reverse as she gets older. You'll get in a bad habit of not singling out your child's special day and once she is old enough to realize, she won't feel she's getting the special treatment she deserves. It's not her fault (more like yours!) that she was born when she was born.

Treating your child's birthday like a birthday whether it's December 22 or June 22 is important. And although planning and executing a birthday party in December can be challenging and stressful, we don't really have to tell you it's the best thing to do, now do we?

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Resist the urge to...

Two words will save your sanity

Thinking about your child's birthday before, say, December 1 will alleviate a lot of stress. You know it's coming all year long so here are two words for you: Plan ahead. This will not only help you, but also your guests. Giving friends and family plenty of advanced warning will either ensure that they're able to come or give you enough time to find a date that works best for most people.

Wrap her gifts with Christmas wrap. If you honestly feel you can't manage to get to the store to buy regular wrapping paper, then stock up earlier in the year so you already have it on hand. But wrapping your child's presents in paper covered in Santa Claus' face is a no-no.

Pick a theme that is in any way affiliated with reindeer, Santa or the North Pole. It's going to be tempting to use decorations you already have. After all, the Christmas tree makes a beautiful backdrop and candy canes are delicious no matter what the occasion, but you absolutely must keep the birthday and the holiday separate. So this means no snowmen cookies for dessert!

Skip the celebration altogether. You should absolutely have a celebration for your child. But having said that, you don't have to "go big." In fact, keeping it small will make your life a lot easier. Remember, it is the thought that counts. PS: The big birthday party is so last year!

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But... if you absolutely can't pull it off

Celebrate your child's half birthday instead. If your child was born on Christmas Day or within a day or two of it, you might find it better to put some distance between the holiday and the birthday. This can be a half birthday or the same day but a different month. And once your child is old enough, it might be her asking for this. But no matter what, when and how the birthday is celebrated is a conversation you should have with your child once she's mature enough to discuss it. It is her birthday, after all.

More about your child's birthday

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6 Creative birthday party locations for kids
Perfect party games for all ages