My birthday falls on December 27th, just two days after the big man comes to deliver gifts to those who wish to celebrate the commercialism of the season. I’ll admit, we enjoy giving and exchanging gifts among family and friends, as much as we hope that everyone experiences a peaceful, happy day in whatever fashion delights them. The proximity of my birthday doesn’t bother me at all, and I give credit to my mother for ensuring that my birthday and Christmas were not merged or mixed. I never felt cheated or robbed of attention and didn’t feel like second-best.
Another dilemma of these birthdays can be parties. With many families leaving town during the winter break from school, organizing a birthday party can be a nightmare. I remember one successful party where several of my classmates attended. We decorated cookies, played outside in the bitter winter cold, and celebrated with homemade cake and ice cream.
Here are a few points to consider for a birthday falling within a week on either side of December 25th.
1. If the birthday falls after, take down the tree as soon as possible. Removing the tree assures the child that their day is different.
2. Don’t give a “combined gift.” If there is anything we dislike, it is being giving one gift to cover both days. Kids want to know their birthday is a special day for you as well and deserves extra attention.
3. Never wrap the birthday present in Christmas paper or gift bag. That’s just lazy. My nephew’s birthday is December 21st. For his first birthday, his other uncle plopped the gift in a Christmas bag. Upon seeing it, I strictly demanded, “Don’t let me catch you doing that again.”
4. Make a separate celebration. Have dinner and cake not associated with the big holiday. A movie of the child’s choice, or an activity not linked with Xmas. This works for December 25th birthdays as well.
5. Never say words like “Happy birthmas” or “Merry birthday.” ‘Nuf said.
6. Celebrate the half-birthday. Find the date six months later and put together a party to celebrate.
One of the best things Mom did was take me to the store on my birthday to pick out my new Barbie doll. I got one every year when I was young. We made the cake together, from scratch and I decorated it the way I wanted, even though it usually looked like an awful mess. The day was mine, the cake was mine and I was happy.
At my current age, I don’t even eat cake for my birthday, not after two days of cookies and run cake at the in-laws. The family heads out for sushi and I sweeten up on the homemade chocolate-covered cherries my sister-in-law creates as a Christmas gift. At this moment I am digesting my Japanese feast while watching Despicable Me 2 with the kiddos. Happy Birthday to me.