Happy Christmas Merry Birthday to You
There is definitely something to be said for planning your pregnancies. Anyone who knows me, knows that each one of my boys were surprises and that’s good, because I like surprises that come in the form of a baby, what I don’t like about surprises is that sometimes the timing of them is way off.
Take my two oldest boys for example; one will be 14 soon. Exactly six days before Christmas that is. Now if his birthday was six days before Mother’s Day, or Arbor Day, I wouldn’t stress it but six days before Christmas is something that always gets me a little tense. The other one was born January 3rd (just missed that end of year tax deduction!)
I could never understand why some people who had Christmas birthdays, mostly childhood friends of mine would get a little out of sorts every year. Now that I’m a mom… I get it.
Christmas birthdays can truly suck. As a parent, I balance a fine line between making sure my oldest doesn’t feel robbed (as I’ve heard it called) on his birthday, or robbed (there’s that word again) on Christmas. It’s a delicate high wire balancing act that I’ve got a 50 percent success rate of.
Sure when my oldest was two, three, four, and even five years old the number of presents on either given holiday didn’t seem to matter as much as what it was that he actually got – and yes, I know that gifts aren’t how we should measure the celebrations but that’s how many kids weigh the success or failure of their birthday.
Now that he’s a teenager though, there seems to be some ebb and flow as to how he feels about said “robbing” of his birthday. He’s not so concerned with how much he gets. He makes a list of what he’d like and I tell him every year (because he knows that we aren’t made out of money) that I will do what I can. He knows mom and dad do their best to make sure the birthday and Christmas are equally celebrated.
Still, from his very first birthday (which of course came after his very first Christmas), I’ve had to lay down some laws for family and friends. His younger brother (the almost New Year baby) doesn’t have as many Christmas/birthday issues but the same laws still apply just in case anyone tries anything funny.
Maybe you too have these same laws but just in case you don’t and you’d like to adopt them, I am all for sharing them with you!
- Christmas and Birthdays are SEPARATE OCCASIONS. You may want to have people repeat that back to you a few times.
- It is NOT acceptable to wrap birthday presents in Christmas wrapping or in Christmas themed gift bags.
- It is NOT acceptable to give a Christmas card as a birthday card. Yes, I know they make Christmas themed birthday cards and I don’t like them. See law number one: SEPARATE OCASSION.
Now I know a number of people/parents who are totally OK with birthday presents wrapped in Christmas wrapping or mixing the two occasions into one but you won’t find it at my house. I won’t publicly out you but yes, I do frown on it and you might get a comment about it later.
Comments? Oh yeah… I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to say “Thank you for the kind birthday present, you really didn’t have to get him anything. We’re really trying to drive home and teach Johnny that his birthday is separate from Christmas and don’t want to confuse him so anything you can do to help us out with that would be great.”
Will that always work? Nope. Some family just won’t get it and you’ll have to remind them again that your child’s birthday is NOT baby Jesus’s birthday which is why you celebrate it separately. You will likely have to teach your child to smile and say thanks anyway or just not include those people in your yearly birthday celebrations. The choice is all yours. You’re the parent and you get to decide.
Just as Mary was blessed with baby Jesus I was blessed with my holiday babies and I know I can’t speak for Mary but when it comes to giving my child “his day” I want it to be special, I want it to be all about them. I don’t want it lumped in with caroling, cookie baking, or any other thing that might confuse the holiday we’re actually celebrating.
I’m sure when my boys grow up they will have adopted what they consider to be acceptable rules for their birthdays but as long as I have a say in it, and they’ll allow me to have a say, I don’t want them to share their day with another holiday.
This is just how I deal with holiday birthdays, if you have a holiday birthday or your child has one, I’d love to hear your tips for dealing with it!