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The Holiday-Birthday Mashup

With Hanukkah now in full swing and Christmas coming soon, it's easy to get caught up in that holiday spirit.

But in our house, other big days are coming.

Child No. 1 turns 6 this week, right in the middle of Hanukkah. Luckily, he's excited that he gets more than 8 days of presents this year. He hasn't yet realized that having a December birthday means all those presents come at once with nothing else the rest of the year. That's probably because son number two's birthday isn't that far behind. His turn comes days after the new year, when everyone's focus is all about holiday recovery. Thankfully, the kids don't remember the year I canceled Hanukkah because of the "I want my presents" attitude that combo birthday/Hanukkah boy exhibited!

To keep the birthday special, we make a point of hosting a birthday party and giving separate birthday and Hanukkah presents, with the birthday gifts being the bigger items. Other tips I've heard: Keep the party's theme separate from the holidays and plan your budget months in advance to handle the expense of birthdays and the holidays hitting at the same time. And since holding a party in the yard, at a park or a baseball game is not appealing when the weather's close to freezing, get creative with your indoor options. Most of the time, we host a few friends at the house. But other ideas that work: Apartment complex party rooms, ice skating rinks, bowling alleys and gyms.

Who else has holiday or winter babies? What do you do to keep the day special and manageable? What are some fun party ideas that your kids have enjoyed?

Today's Talker: Toy Safety Data Released Online

By Stacey Garfinkle |  December 5, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers , Preschoolers , Teens , Tweens
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My baby's first birthday is coming up in early January, my FIL's birthday is 12-22, and my brother's is 12-20. I don't think the Jan baby is a problem, but those poor right-before-Christmas babies! I do my best to separate brother's birthday, and MIL has an AWESOME dinner for FIL's birthday: standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. Yum. It's really great for FIL because all the family is there, which would never happen if his birthday was in April. If it's a major issue, you can always celebrate half birthdays. Maybe we should just cut back on the insanity of Christmas. I'm so happy most of my shopping is done online, and I try to have it all done as early as possible to avoid the crunch.

Posted by: atb | December 5, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I am anxious to read these tips. Out neice and nephew were born last year on Decmeber 14th. I have purchased separate gifts for Christmas and birthdays, wrapped each set of gifts in distinct paper and will send birthday cards next week.

It is the rest of the year that I feel the neice and nephew are "cheated". My kids have summer birthdays so a nice interval between gift getting times. Do any of you holiday parents do a half birthday party for your kids. Any sugestions to this aunt would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: Aunt | December 5, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Well, my daughter is a spring baby, but I am a post-holiday (early Jan) gal myself. My parents always made a point to do a birthday celebration totally seperate from christmas, with seperate presents. Generally, I got a bit "screwed" at one or the other...but I think the fact that I ALWAYS got what I wanted between the two dates made up for specific quantity in either. As for parties...lots of musical chairs, pizza, sleep-overs and (as we got older) trips to the mall and "movie days".

Posted by: Jen | December 5, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Totally my sitaution, will comment when I have time. It is enough to give someone an ulcer!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 5, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

One of my dear friends' birthday is on christmas day. It was hard enough when she was growing up, but as a mother of a young child, the extended family (particularly the in-laws) ignore her bday and focus on Xmas). Last year she called me in tears because of many things but also that everyone was ignoring her bday (it was the straw). I ordered a big cookie and had them write happy birthday on it and sent it to her. It ended up costing me an arm and leg to get it delivered before xmas, but she loved it. I am now sending one every year!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday was my birthday :) and my dad's is the 14th. I can't say I ever felt cheated or even thought about my birthday being close to Christmas. I always had a party (when I was little Santa came and all the kids went nuts (it was a backyard party in Florida)) and I always got my singular parental present. We never did too terribly much present-wise and my mom hates wrapping presents so has a tendency to put a number of small things in one shirt box. This was the way of the world so I didn't feel cheated. Plus mom would make this ice cream, graham cracker, and chocolate cake thing for my sleepovers that was awesome. Ack, now I feel cheated, I don't get that cake anymore. I'll have to call home today to get the recipe...

Posted by: Em | December 5, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, one of my aunts got married the day after Christmas (they had met on that day). I'm sure Christmas that year was chaotic.

Posted by: Em | December 5, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

My daughter's birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas and the day after the epiphany. It is kind of a bummer because we always have to take down the Christmas tree prior to the epiphany to make room for her birthday party. We have always had separate non holiday themes for her party. Besides from some friends not being able to make it because it is still close to the holidays, it is usually pretty good. I do think it is way too much stuff after Christmas. She can't focus at all on birthday gifts (although I would love to stop those from other kids but can't find a polite way of asking for no gifts at a kid's party). I do ask my best friend and one of my brother's to wait and send her a gift during the spring. Both are happy to oblige and usually get her some lovely spring/summer outfits. I also try really hard to spread Christmas out. So we saw one of my brothers for Thanksgiving and he gave her a Christmas present then. We will go to see my mother and other brother out of state in two weeks and she will get presents then. Our Canadian friends (who are very wacky) send surprise September gifts to make up for Christmas and birthday ( I do send their children normal Christmas and birthday gifts). So spreading it out does help a little. My daughter has only once received a combined birthday/Christmas gift from my brother last year. I think the gift was larger then he would have given for either event. One of the problems we have is that post Christmas it is hard to come up with one really nice gift to give her for her birthday. So I do think she gets a little cheated. This year we are giving her a bike, which is surprisingly cheap these days ($50). But the other years were things that went a long with the theme of her party but were not exactly big gifts. But she gets huge gift overload. I am a really mean parent and have already pulled several of the gifts that she has recieved from friends out for toys for tots. She likes to open them but then seems to forget about a lot of them. After a week or so, if they are still in the original wrapper, I try to give them for toys for tots. I have learned it is not worth holding on to them all year in a hope she will play with them during the year. But it is kind of insane for one 3 year old to get 30-50 gifts in a two week period.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 5, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I have two kids with birthdays in December. One on Dec 1 and the other on Dec 2. When they were younger I did separate b'day parties for both. Now that they are both teenager I still do something special for both. It has always made for a hectic end of year (Thanksgiving to New Year) because we are busy almost every weekend. I don't feel that my children feel like they get cheated by getting all their gifts in one month.

Posted by: DecMom | December 5, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

my birthday is december 27 and my parents were always very good at keeping things separate. some years i would get a 1/2 birthday in june so i could plan an outside party.

what really stunk was that it was over break, so, lots of times kids couldn't come to my party and my mom wasn't able to bring cupcakes on MY special day, she would bring them on the day before break.

but, overall, it wasn't too bad:)

Posted by: cookie75 | December 5, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

We have a December 16 birthday, and one on The Day, December 25.

The 16th is my about-to-be 11 year old son, and he likes to have his party combined with a "school-is-almost-out!" theme. This works well because one of his friends is a Jehovah's Witness and can't come to a straight birthday party. My husband takes a small group of them to play laser tag or video games, they come home and eat pizza and tear around the yard, and then they play something more organized. After the JW friend goes home in the evening, we do cake and presents. Sometimes one or two friends sleep over.

My daughter is turning 4, and while we make it a point to have a birthday cake and birthday presents after Christmas dinner, we plan her actual birthday for January 6th or thereabouts. We reason that she was born on the first day of Christmas, so she can celebrate her birthday on any of the remaining twelve days of Christmas, up until the Epiphany. We might do a Gymboree party this year, but more likely something at home with a lot of running around games. Usually people are glad in early January to get away from holiday stuff and have a fun time for another reason, so a birthday party then works out well.

Posted by: gsschorn | December 5, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

My birthday is Dec 23, and it always has been. An upside to it, as you're older, is that it's easier to be home for your birthday since Christmas break in school and college usually starts by then (except for the year when I had a Calculus final on my birthday). I never felt cheated. Might be a good time to instill in the kids that Christmas (and birthdays, for that matter) are not just about getting more stuff.

Posted by: rraimo | December 5, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

rraimo, by any chance did you go to Purdue? I remember a calculus final on Dec 23 one year (in the late 70's).
Happy birthday to all. In our family birthdays were never a big celebration - you got a new outfit and whatever meal cooked that you wanted. So although my mom's birthday was Dec 12, I don't think she felt bad. Dad always took her out for a nice meal and we kids always got her something.

Posted by: regular reader | December 5, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

My daughter was born on December 1, and though we've only had two birthdays so far, we haven't had any conflicts with the holidays. It is a little bit of a bummer that the two gift-giving occasions of her year are so close together, but I figure I can remedy that by putting away some of the gifts she receives, to be brought out again over the course of the year.

The only problem we've had so far is family members who wait until Christmas, then give her all of her birthday and Christmas presents at once (rather than mailing birthday gifts to arrive for the actual day). I could see that bothering DD once she's old enough to understand what's going on, but unless and until she's upset, I don't feel the need to be bothered on her behalf.

Oh, and as for asking people not to bring presents to a birthday party, you can simply write "no presents, please -- your presence is our gift" on the invites. People might ignore it, but at least you've made the effort.

Posted by: NewSAHM | December 5, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Talk about topical. Birthdays include:

MIL - December 24
Wife - December 30
Son - December 31
Mother - January 5

First off, we ALWAYS separate birthdays from Christmas - each celebrant deserves his or her own "special day". MIL's birthday is a problem because she likes the whole family - as many as are in town - to take her out some place nice, and so many restaurants now close early on Christmas Eve. So she often gets taken to lunch, or gets taken out on the 26th or 27th. (She never wants any other gifts; she says she doesn't need more junk to have to find a place for.)

Wife - I've learned to apply different standards for gift-giving, and it seems to work well. For Christmas she gets the clothes, jewelry, perfume, etc. For her birthday she gets one big, special thing "chosen just for her." Last year it was a trip to Mardi Gras (she stayed with my sister who lives there and they had a "girls' weekend out"). The year before it was season tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The year before, a weekend at a spa with her sister. The bottom line is that the different styles of gifts make the days different, and she appreciates that.

Son's birthday is the big problem. When he was younger we'd get a few of his friends over for a birthday party, but everybody kept trying to turn it into a New Year's Eve party. He's the only one who's actually had a "half-birthday party" in June, but that's still a problem because school's out and a lot of his friends are gone.

My mother's birthday is just before Epiphany, so we keep the Christmas tree and decorations up until after then. She mostly gets things she wanted but didn't get for Christmas, although she's another one who tells us to minimize the amount of junk brought into her house. She does usually get taken to dinner on her birthday by my brother (she lives next door to him in NC) and nieces.

It's a pain, but you really do need to separate the celebrations and make each birthday boy/girl be special.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 5, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

My husband's birthday is next monday. He's hard to shop for so thinking of 2 distict great gifts in one month is always challenging. This year he doesn't want anything (alleluia!) so I am having his high school trumpet refurbished. He'll get donations to charity and a collection of small things for Christmas. Pshew!

Posted by: MaryB | December 5, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

My son was born on Christmas and is turning four this year. Up until this year, we've hosted family and a few friends the weekend before his birthday/Christmas. This year, we are hosting a party just for kids at a local play gym on a weeknight (before school gets out) so that his preschool friends can attend. We'll have a cake and gift-giving with family on Christmas day. My husband suggested a half-year birthday party to share with his brother (in June), but most likely, we'll continue to celebrate in mid-December as he gets older so that his friends can attend the birthday celebration.

Posted by: AG | December 5, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

My birthday is 12/10. I never felt cheated out of my special day because my parents always gave me a traditional birthday party (no holiday theme etc) and they didn't decorate the house or get the tree until the 11th or later. This isn't perhaps a solution for the birthdays within a few days of the holiday but my Great Aunt, a Christmas Day birthday, was always given two presents, one wrapped as a birthday gift with a card- she always told us how she enjoyed her birthday because the entire family was always there! The rest of the year did sort of have some wistfulness because I never got a bunch of new summer clothes/toys etc. but I still was bought the occasional toy and my seasonal clothes so it really wasn't any worse than any other child wishing for more presents when its not near their birthday or holiday. And in college, my jewish roommate always let me light the candles on my birthday when it fell on Hanukkah :o)

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"regular reader" - Boiler Up! Purdue, MS, 1983. And I remember being a TA for those Calculus exams, and having to finish grading them and turning in grade reports before leaving campus and desperately trying to make it back to Louisiana before Christmas! I think the latest final I can remember was December 21, but that still cut it pretty close.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 5, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Love this topic!

I was born on January 2nd -- and my daughter was born on January 1st. She was due mid-Jan and I felt bad for her when she came early (only 3 hours before my b-day), because I knew how frustrating it was to have a birthday so close to Christmas. Friends aren't around, school is out, noone's in the mood for any more festivities, and you only get presents one season of the year. It's such a small thing to complain about -- we're lucky to get anything at all -- but I did have some jealousy of friends with "better" birthdays. Of course, now my birthday is totally forgotten because of my daughter's, but I am okay with that. The hospital actually gave me a birthday cake the day after she was born, which I though was really sweet.

Now I am facing a new frustrationg with it. Because my daughter is so young, I find that she's ready for more challenging toys within 6 months. So do we buy things that aren't necessarily developmentally appropriate for her now, so that we don't wind up having to buy new things in 6 months for no special occasion? (That's what I am leaning toward) I wish she could appreciate a gift card at this age!

In reality, of course, we could give her three lollipops for Christmas and one toy for her birthday and she'd be thrilled! So maybe this is more about my desire to give her a few presents that she really loves, rather than her happiness. . .

This topic makes me feel like a ridiculous consumer. And we're really not that bad about buying toys . . . at least I don't think we are. . .

As for party ideas, we often went ice skating for my birthday, and I loved that. My mom usually separated my friends party so it was "special" and ALWAYS separated the gifts, which I appreciated. Our family party was on New Years Day, since most of my close family lived nearby and could come for it.

Posted by: sciencemom | December 5, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

My birthday is December 16th, too.

My parents, and extended family, always make it separate and special. We might do something like go to the Nutcracker or a Christmas Carol as part of a birthday present. The presents I do get are wrapped in birthday paper, and I 'get' as many and as nice as anyone else in the family (not that I'm focused on that as an adult, but I was as a kid).

I used to hate being born in December, but now I love it! What other time of the year is everything so gaily decorated? I know it's not for me, but it is cheering anyway.

Posted by: skyebluescottie | December 5, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Try toning it all down. Kids are overstimulated and spoiled by all the gifts and hullabaloo. Give it a rest. Get back to what really matters.

Posted by: Sophie McGlumphy | December 5, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I should add that I've also taken the advice of some other parents and had my daughter do a "cleaning out" of her old toys. I told her she had to give some toys away to other babies in order to make room for any toys that Santa brings her. We didn't buy her that many gifts for Christmas or her birthday (probably something like 5 relatively small gifts for each), but when they are coming all at once, they can take over the house!

Posted by: sciencemom | December 5, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm a December birthday too. I didn't feel cheated as a kid, but once I got a bit older, I would sometimes ask for one big present for birthday and Hannukah combined...and then I would see my siblings get the SAME thing for birthday only!

Posted by: E | December 5, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

As a grown right-before-Xmas kid, let me tell you how my parents handle this HUGE problem. First, you should know my family has Bdays on Dec. 14, 18, 22, 29, 30, & Jan. 9, anniversaries on Dec. 4 & 27, Sint Nikolaas (Dec. 6) and of course Xmas & New Year's. The Bdays on Dec. 29 & 30 are siblings.

We now celebrate 1/2 Bdays. Gifts from Mom & Dad come in either June or July. The siblings no longer have any sense of competition since they live 800+ miles apart. This tradition was instituted about the time the youngest turned 20, more than 25 years ago.

Posted by: Natasha | December 5, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

My birthday is the day after Christmas. As a kid, my parents always took steps to keep the two separate. My mom NEVER wrapped my birthday presents in christmas wrapping (even though it was everywhere). We always had a special birthday cake instead of leftovers. However, my parties were never great b/c all my friends were out of town. One year my friends threw me a surprise 1/2 birthday in June. As I have gotten older, my birthday is much more of a family oriented thing (whereas most people would say it centers around friends).

Posted by: decbaby | December 5, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't get the half birthday thing. Is having your birthday in December really so traumatic to require a half birthday celebration? I think it sort of overindulgent. Life ain't always "fair", learning that as a kid is the one of the best lessons parents can teach their children.

Posted by: margcamp | December 5, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Sciencemom: We try to pick out presents that are developmentally appropriate for the next year. On Christmas day, our daughter unwraps all the gifts and plays with just a few. We put the rest away in a bout a week after the holidays (again because her birthday comes shortly after the holiday). Then every month or so, we take out a "new" Christmas toy. So you just take out the ones that are older towards the end of the year. My daughter was "getting new" toys till October. Then in November/December, the new Christmas stuff starts to come in again. It worked out well for us. Stuff we think that she won't ever use or use for 10 minutes, gets given to toys for tots, preschool, day care or used for a few weeks and then given to charity. It worked well for us. But it takes some effort, storage space, and memory of where you put it all! Birthday gifts, which are smaller in number, just get played with right away.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 5, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

My kid was born in the middle of December. We always give her a party (this year, it's at Chuck E. Cheese) and she gets a separate present from us.

I try to stress to her how lucky she is to have a birthday close to Jesus' birthday. I always tell my kids that Christmas is just a birthday celebration, so we are looking at this as all birthday stuff, not a birthday on top of a holiday.

In fact, this year, I'm going to have everyone in the family make a birthday gift for Jesus (what they would have given the baby or grownup Jesus and why). To be honest, it's his birthday we are celebrating. Perhaps if we focused on that, the gift giving would not get so out of hand.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to everybody! Oh, and Happy Birthday too!

Posted by: Kris | December 5, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Ha! My husband's birthday is two days after Christmas, and he reminds me every year how hard it was growing up. Talk about pressure...

Posted by: Del Ray Mom | December 5, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"I am anxious to read these tips. Out neice and nephew were born last year on Decmeber 14th. I have purchased separate gifts for Christmas and birthdays, wrapped each set of gifts in distinct paper and will send birthday cards next week."

As a December 20th birthday a big THANK YOU for not wrapping in holiday wrap and for not combining the two! I have several friends with birthdays in December and made a point of buying the "Celebrate" postage stamps instead of using the holiday ones just to distinguish them.

Back on topic, I was born one month early (and I like to throw in one year early, too to confuse people) and came home on Christmas Eve -- many, many last minute shoppers in the family that year! There's a great picture of me in an infant seat surrounded by red poinsettias.

When I was a kid, I got a TON of "holiday" sweaters/sweatshirts which are basically meant to be worn in December. And ornaments, Snow Babies, etc. People have gotten wrapped up (no pun intended) with Christmas and have forgotten my birthday, too.

My parents always made an effort to make sure I had a great birthday, even left putting the tree up until after (partly because the house was small so I needed three parties to accomondate dad's family, mom's family, and kids). But as I got older, I wanted it up earlier, so that did change.

One plus, now that I'm on a few "lists", I've gotten some really nice coupons from retailers that I can use for Christmas shopping (or for me)!

Posted by: WDC 21113 | December 5, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I also wanted to add that my college roommate's birthday was (well still is, but we don't talk) Christmas Day and her family always did her birthday in the morning and Christmas in the afternoon. Her siblings (one older, one younger) were fine with it that way.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | December 5, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Ha ha. Both my girls were born on Christmas Day! They just LOVE their birthday because we are always determined to make it special. We have one room in the house that is the "Birthday Room" and no Christmas talk is allowed there. That works great. Of course, Xmas always overcomes their birthday and mostly they are too exhausted by the end of the day to have cake and open presents (they'll be 11 this year). We gave them a special day (we use their Saint's Feast Day) that we celebrate just them. They don't have to share with the world or even with their sister. So really, they do get two birthdays every year. It's only fair because they just can't be Special on their actual day.

One day, however, their 7yo brother is going to figure out he only gets one birthday!

Posted by: Andrea | December 5, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

My birthday is quite close to Christmas, but my family embraced the holiday part rather than striving for separation. We always had a trim-the-tree party for my birthday. It made me feel special, and let me "own" part of the festivities. Still, most people were careful to NOT make the occasion one for giving a combined present.
That said, one of my favorite memories is of a friend in high school who threw a "surprise birthday party" for me in September one year.

Posted by: Holiday Baby | December 5, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Christmas baby and I feel like that's a special gift by itself. I know when I was a kid my mother planned some parties a few weeks after my actual birthday. I think my parents made an effort to wrap a present separately for my birthday.
But mostly I just enjoy the glow, the family-time, the excitement that comes with Christmas and it never mattered to me whether the fuss was for me or for Santa.
Perhaps it helps that growing up in a secular household, I mistakenly assumed I was related to Jesus Christ because we shared the same birthday!

That said, I'm glad my kids were born at other times of the year. We've had a lot of fun planning parties. In April, we painted puppy noses on all our guests and gave them fabric tales to wag. We've done a Harry Potter party where they "transfigure" clay, mix whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sprinkles into a "potion" and pop balloons with dragon faces on them. The kids really get into planning these things and it forces us all to use our creativity.

Posted by: anne. | December 5, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I have a daughter born 12/15. She'll be 14 this year. We try (very hard)not to combine Christmas with her birthday. I don't even decorate the house until after the 15th. This year since it falls on a weekend we will get the tree on Saturday and decorate it on Sunday-the day after.
I tell everyone the year she was born was the most organized I have every been for Christmas-I had all the shopping done for her 2 older sisters, house deocrated and I was just waiting for her arrival. I even did Christmas cards in the hospital and put her birth announcements in the cards!
It's been down hill ever since!

Posted by: mom3girls | December 5, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Another December 16th birthday here! I think I've seen two others on the 16th already this morning! And my son's bday is the 18th of Dec. He was born more than 2 weeks late. The wait was agonizing as we got closer and closer to Christmas. When I learned his due date of very early December, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, but he's even closer to the holiday than I am, poor guy. He doesn't seem to mind in the least, though. The only time I had a really lousy birthday was when HIS party was on MY birthday, and I spent all day cleaning and preparing for and then supervising his party. The problem wasn't one of being ignored, it was just a crappy way to spend the day. I agree w. others that the main problem with a Dec. birthday is the long "drought" over the rest of the year. Half-parties seem kind of stupid to me, even for younger kids. I just try to get him a few nice things over the summer.

Posted by: Dec16 | December 5, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

My son's birthday is December 13 (he'll b 4) -- and we are not having a "kid's party". Instead we are bringing cupcakes to his pre-school on his birthday, and then we are taking him and his sister to Baltimore for the weekend. He's really looking forward to Port Discovery and the Aquarium and the Science Center plus a swim at the hotel pool!

Posted by: karen | December 5, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Slightly off topic, but...
Is it normal these days for kids to have a birthday party with friends EVERY year? When I was younger I had two birthday parties with friends, one at age 7 or so, and one at age 11. None of this party every year kind of thing with massive amounts of gifts and stuff. Seems pretty materialistic.

Posted by: ducky11 | December 5, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

For my family, birthdays are as follows:

Dec. 7 - SIL
Dec. 17 - Mine
Dec. 27 - BIL
Jan. 7 - Husband

My in laws treat us to a birthday dinner every year so to celebrate our "special"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My oldest has a February birthday and the twins' birthday is in January. We quietly take gifts from Christmas and their birthdays and put them away until later in the year. Most of our family knows we do this and some will bring gifts that are more appropriate for warm weather. When we bring the toy or game out, we remind them that this is the present they got for their birthday from Aunt Suzie.

As for making their day special, we usually have their favorite food to eat, a cake, and a party. The oldest has asked to go to the movies this year so we'll take him with a few of his friends and then go out for burgers or pizza.

For the person who asked about half oldest is very aware this now and we did get him a cake on his half birthday in August. My brother also took him on a special outing to play basketball. We did not buy him any presents or sing. It seemed to work out well and the time he spent with his uncle was very special to him.

Posted by: Mom_2_LED | December 5, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

My younger brother was born on Christmas Eve, and for a few years, did not ever have a "real" birthday (this is your "combination Christmas/birthday gift.". My grandmother gave him an officially notarized Quit Claim deed for her birthday in November. She said she certainly didn't need to add any more years and he could use her date as his celebration day.

Posted by: Christmas Eve - not | December 5, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

My b-day is the 16th. When I was growing up, we would trim the tree around my b-day. I would get presents. I don't recall having a b-day party. My daughter b-day is January 5th. She will be turning 8. We always give her a party. I don't think that people that were born close to the holidays should be left out of a big celebration. The only problem that I have is what to do with those kids in the winter time. This year she will be having an indoor pool party. She loves the water and i'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: KLT | December 5, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

ducky11: I think judging from my daughter's preschool (public) and day care (private), it is common for kids to have a friends/kids party every year starting around age 2-4. It depends how many other kids your child knows in the early year. But the vast majority do seem to have a friends party along with bring a treat to school or day care. The parties range from 2-3 friends invited over for a in home party to inviting entire elementary school classes (20-25 kids) at a party place like Chuckie Cheese, Gymboree, pump it up (depending on age). But not all parties accept gifts. Some do gift exchanges or donations to a charity type stuff. I asked for no gifts at my daughter's first birthday. But I was informed that is pretty rude. So now, I don't say anything and by default most people bring a gift. We invite a lot of sibling sets, which cuts down on the number of actual gifts.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 5, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

margcamp, it's true that kids need to learn that "life ain't fair", but they should also learn how to deal with that unfairness.

Our son, born December 31, used to be bothered that his sisters always had friends over for their birthdays, but he almost never did because most of his friends and their families were out of town or had other New Years Eve plans. We could have said "well, s*cks to be you; deal with it" or we could have done what we did, which is have a family celebration on his birthday and a party some other time. We tried the "half birthday" once or twice, but it turned out not to solve the problem because that made it late June and a lot of his friends were at the beach or otherwise unavailable.

FWIW, since my wife's birthday is December 30, when I threw her surprise 40th birthday party a while back, I had it on a Saturday in early December. That had two advantages; the first being that many, many more of her friends were available to come that day than would have been available on the actual day; and two, it made it more of a surprise for her.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 5, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Slightly off topic, but...
Is it normal these days for kids to have a birthday party with friends EVERY year? When I was younger I had two birthday parties with friends, one at age 7 or so, and one at age 11. None of this party every year kind of thing with massive amounts of gifts and stuff. Seems pretty materialistic.

Posted by: ducky11 | December 5, 2007 10:11 AM

I'll be 34 12/20 and I had "friends" parties up until 7th or 8th grade (those were pizza and video parties). After that, it was a few close friends over for Christmas Caroling (it rained!) and community theater outings (Christmas Carol of course). I did NOT have a Sweet Sixteen with friends, however (two family parties instead). Those seem to have turned into mini proms, at least on Long Island where I grew up.

So, I guess it depends on where you live.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | December 5, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

One thing to consider, for those of you with very tight budgets and at least somewhat generous grandparents of December/Jan kid...ask them to buy the expensive summer stuff. Like trikes/bikes/sports equipment.

No one thinks of those things in the winter (it snows a lot here--bikes are awkward at best).

Clothes and developmentally appropriate toys can also be staggered.

When a kid gets lots at once (the day before Christmas, then Christmas), he doesn't mind putting a few things aside for "school's out."

Posted by: Mom of one | December 5, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Here's our winter bday list:
DS #2: Dec 15
My Dad: Dec 16
MIL: Dec 26
me: January 26

I never suffered the holiday problem--far enough away from the holidays that most people were ready for a party.

My Dad and MIL have made it clear that they often felt overlooked as kids. Big rule--no Christmas paper for presents. Ever.

This year we've decided to take a trip to an indoor waterpark for DS' birthday. He's almost 3, and is developmentally delayed so he wouldn't enjoy a party anyway. I think we will probably emphasize a fun experience for his birthday while he's young rather than a party. We'll still take cupcakes to preschool (and he'll get bday gifts and cake on the big day), but that will be the extent of it.

Posted by: Beta | December 5, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

My daughter was born on December 23. Since we don't visit grandparents for Christmas, it's just immediate family for her birthday. So here's what we do: We all go out to lunch, then to a movie (there's always tons of special holiday releases). The benefit of this plan is that it forces us to slow down and just enjoy family time. Now that she's starting school, she has asked me to send in cupcakes for the class the week before vacation begins.

Posted by: Mary Anne | December 5, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

In this boat, too.

SIL b-day Nov 20's
Hubby's b-day - 2 days later
Hanukkah (changes!)
Daughter's bday Dec 20's

We do separate celebrations for all birthdays, so it essentially means our family (which thankfully is all local) gets together close to every weekend from Thanksgiving to the end of the year!

Birthday gifts/celebrations are always about birthday, not the holiday. It becomes difficult when daughter's birthday falls during Hanukkah, but then we suspend the Hanukkah gift giving in favor of birthday & treats (we still light the candles). Luckily, there are 7 other nights to celebrate!

I plan her birthday party in August/September for the week before winter break so everyone is still around. I send out "save the date" e-mails to the family & close friends so they know in advance, and send out the invites 4 weeks in advance.

If I find it's really too much, I reserve some of the Hanukkah gifts for Valentine's Day, or even President's day or a snow day!

Happy Birthday, December babies!

Posted by: Germantown | December 5, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

My nephews have birthdays 1/4 and 1/18. When they were small, I learned to buy their birthday presents while Christmas shopping, otherwise there was nothing left on the shelves. And I -- ALWAYS -- mailed the b'day gifts and cards separately from the Christmas gifts.

Posted by: jsc | December 5, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

With a Jan 7 friend. Here's what I did growing up--

**I had several trim-the-tree parties. My mom started the tradition when I started a new school and didn't know too many of the kids in my class. By Dec, we were better acquainted. We put up an old tree in the basement and we had fun decorating that.

**I got lots of combo presents, but my dad always made sure to give me the best present on my birthday.

**After leaving home, I usually threw a holiday party around by birthday. One year, my boyfriend, who later became my husband, surprised me with a birthday cake. He's a keeper!

**At parties or events I attend around the holidays, I make a point to tell the host(ess) that it's my birthday. Egotistical? No. My friends really want to celebrate and they appreciate the reminder. This worked out especially well when I turned 40 at a Soldiers and Sailors Home dance one year. 40? I was practically a little kid there. Birthday? I got lots of dances that night!

**It's fun having a birthday during the holidays. You get better food. People are in a holiday spirit. Everything is already decorated nicely.

**Keep in mind that no matter when the date is in the year, events can turn it into a major bummer. I had my tonsils out on my 6th birthday. Think of the folks who were born on Sept. 11. Bummer there. I got a double whammy when, on my birthday last year, I found out my father died.

**Ditto to all the parents who remind us that summer born kids don't always get to have their school friends at parties. Both of my kids are summer born.

**My friend born on Jan 7 throws her own birthday tea party every year. Rain, shine, blizzard. It's a tradition I try not to miss and I always bring a small present.

Posted by: Dec 19 Baby | December 5, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

My daughter was born around 6 in the evening of Dec 25. The family has always celebrated Christmas in the morning (as was my family's habit) and her birthday in the evening with a cake and presents wrapped in non-Christmas paper.

Her birthday party with friends (usually her close friends) would be scheduled when the selected friends were available. Once, it didn't happen until March! These parties were usually small and frequently included events like a movie at the theatre, ice skating or roller skating at a rink and food (not always including a cake) either at home or a restaurant.

She feels special because she shares her birthday with Jesus. I had my choice to have her either the 25th, 26th or 27th because it needed to be induces and chose the 25th. I also resisted naming her Carol, Noel, Chrissy, or Merry or any varients. (These were suggested by hospital staff as we waited for her to be born.)

Posted by: Historian | December 5, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

You know, you can plan ahead with those birthdays. You should have thought about that 9 months before.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Idiot - my girls were born 2 months early.

Posted by: Andrea | December 5, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

My b-day is 10 days after christmas and I hated it growing up because all my Christmas presents ended up being combined birthday christmas when my 2 siblings received similar individual presents for birthdays and christmas. I was told later that it was a finance issue, but parents save a dollar or two during the year and do something special for your childrens birthdays. I always make a point with my niece, her b-day is 10 days before christmas, to give her a special b-day gift wrapped in the appropriate paper and then a seperate christmas gift. She is 12 this year and loves that she gets special gifts on seperate days from her auntie.

Posted by: California Mom | December 5, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Great post and comments. Thanks! I was born on Christmas Day and recently set up a Web site at with tips on this exact topic. I'm hoping your readers will write in and contribute their holiday birthday experiences and advice to so I can post them and make the site an even-better resource for people born during the December holidays, and for their friends and family who want to make sure their day is still special.

Posted by: Devanie | December 5, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

In my son's kindergarten class last year, there were six December birthdays. The December parents got together, found space in a church basement, hired a puppeteer and in lieu of gifts, had a book exchange at a mid-December party. Each child had his/her own individual cake and the December birthday parents were a lot less frazzled then they otherwise might have been. The party had an added advantage for the children whose birthdays fell during Christmas break when many families are away.

Posted by: Capitol Hill Mom | December 5, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

This is slightly off-topic, but was brought up in another post. Just curious how many take their families out of state to visit grandparents for Christmas/New Years? It's become a bone of contention for me because this Christmas is actually the first Christmas we'll spend in our own homes since DH and I were engaged (our DD is now three!) Still, we spent $1800 on plane tickets for the three of us to see my in-laws over New Year's (not my choice). Aside from how financially ridiculous it is, I'm definitely feeling that as DD gets older, I want us to establish our own family traditions in our own home (and any/all other family is welcome).

Posted by: PLS | December 5, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Lots of December birthdays. Happy birthday to all of you.

For those of you asking for ways to avoid the excessive number of gifts at one time. here's an idea from a classmate of my older son's last year: The family noted in the invitation that the child would be donating all her birthday gifts to a specific charity.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

My daughter's birthday was yesterday. My own birthday is mid-January. Growing up, the January birthday wasn't too bad, but as I got older it got annoying--lots of "well, this is your Christmas AND your birthday gift combined" (nice that they could be so generous, but then my birthday would roll around and there'd be nothing special that day) and worse--lots of birthday gifts bought on after-Christmas clearance with no returns allowed, so if something didn't fit or I didn't like it or it was a duplicate, too bad. That, fortunately, has shifted--stores are nicer about returns of clearance items these days. But presents aside, the celebration was fine--the day is far enough from Christmas that those festivities are over and people are looking for an excuse to celebrate something at an otherwise no-fun time of the year.

My daughter's birthday has been similar--we keep everything separate and don't combine gifts or decorate for Christmas until after her birthday. We try to get gifts that will interest her for a full year and often things that are more "summer" toys (she got a new bike helmet yesterday). The difficulty with her birthday is finding time to celebrate. People are so busy with other activities right now that getting people to show up for a party is hard. My family includes three singers who are always off rehearsing or performing in something this time of year. Parties with friends are sparsely attended. One year only two kids of the twelve we invited showed up. Last year we put off her birthday party until February and had better attendance, but it just felt like cheating. That might go over better when she's older. We've also found that Sunday afternoons work out better for parties with friends--almost everything is planned for Saturdays.

Posted by: Sarah | December 5, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my goodness! I feel you. Here's my list. By the way, my son -- who is 23 today -- once told me, "I want separate birthday and Christmas gifts. It's not my fault you and Daddy couldn't plan better!" He was right. (smile)

Nephew and Nephew-in-law: 11/15
Grandmother and aunt: 11/20
FIL: 11/23
Brother: 11/30
Same brother & wife's anniv.: 12/4
Oldest son: 12/5
Mom: 12/12

And THEN there's Christmas!

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 5, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"I asked for no gifts at my daughter's first birthday. But I was informed that is pretty rude."

That's silly. You were probably informed that by parents who were worried that if they invite your daughter to their kids' parties and don't request "no gifts" that they'll be seen as greedy. Why would anyone think it's rude to requested to NOT bring a gift? What IS rude is inviting 25-30 kids to a party and expecting that they will all bring a present.

I have requested no gifts a couple of times for my kids' parties and it's always been appreciated by other parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

My birthday is very close to Thanksgiving (it gets as close as the Monday before), which is not a gift-giving holiday, but it's still a big event, very close to my b'day. I usually had a party for my friends the weekend before and my parents limited the number of people who could be invited. Then I'd celebrate with my family on Thanksgiving (since my mom hosted) and my grandpa (who has a birthday the day after mine). It wasn't a big deal.

My cousin's birthday is Christmas day and we celebrate his birthday in the morning and Christmas in the afternoon. I never remember him pitching a fit about any of it, but I didn't live with him either. I think kids follow the adults' example, so if you aren't freaking, they won't either.

Posted by: Jenn in NJ (formerly SF) | December 5, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

PLS--when my daughter was three, we declared a moratorium on out of state travel for Christmas for exactly the reason you brought up. We love our families, but wanted to establish our own traditions in our own home; we wanted our kids to go to church on Christmas Eve in their own church and wake up Christmas morning in their own beds. We didn't want to keep agonizing over whether or not to bother putting up a Christmas tree each year when we wouldn't be around on Christmas day. Families are more than welcome to visit us, but oddly, no one has taken us up on this--my ILs can even fly for free (retired airline employee) but don't want to be away from THEIR home on Christmas either, although they keep bugging us to pack up and visit them.

Posted by: Sarah | December 5, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Plan ahead nine months before?

Believe me, we tried, how we tried! But after three miscarriages, and I thought it would never happen--well, baby Nicholas was born on December 23, and after all we'd been through, we were grateful.

So far, almost ten years later, he still thinks he's lucky to have a birthday so close to Christmas, since he gets "three straight days of presents!"

We celebrate his bday with our close relatives either on his bday or a week or two before (the latter in the years I managed to get my act together early enough).

Sometime in March or April, we let him have a party with friends.

And no, we did not name him Nicholas after Saint Nicholas, although the hospital nurse thought we did.

Posted by: Annapolis | December 5, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Daughter born December 30, I can't believe there were women in the hospital having their babies induced for the tax break when I was there. Purposely giving your child a brithday sandwiched between christmas and new years is cruel beyond measure.
So, we are planning to celebrate my daughter's half birthdays on June 30. That way we'll be able to arrange parties without all the holiday exhaustion and out of town issues. December 30 will be just for us.

Posted by: rumicat | December 5, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE Capitol Hill Mom's idea! I only wish I'd known about it earlier.

Next year, when Nicky will be 11, I will try to plan a middle school-age group party.

Thank you for your post, Capitol Hill Mom.

Posted by: Annapolis | December 5, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

We love our families, but wanted to establish our own traditions in our own home ... Families are more than welcome to visit us, but oddly, no one has taken us up on this--my ILs can even fly for free (retired airline employee) but don't want to be away from THEIR home on Christmas either, although they keep bugging us to pack up and visit them.
Posted by: Sarah | December 5, 2007 12:39 PM

Sarah: I applaud you for taking a stand. Some would fold and give in to please everyone. You are doing the absolute right thing. Good for you!

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 5, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Puhleez. No one ever has trouble conceiving, no one ever has a high-risk pregnancy with unforseeable complications, etc., etc., etc. We are all perfectly in control of every detail of our and our children's fate.
Perhaps I could interest the 11:34 poster in some lovely beachfront property in the 22041 zip code?

"You know, you can plan ahead with those birthdays. You should have thought about that 9 months before.

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 11:34 AM "

Posted by: Plan Ahead??? oh, rite | December 5, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

PLS: We took our daughter for her first Christmas to the in laws and that was the last one. I agreed to see them every 5 years on Christmas and I have absolutely no interest in visiting my family on the actual day. We would have to fly to see my parents. But we extend a warm and gracious invitation to them each year and they have never taken us up on it. Some how, they can't seem to drag themselves out to anyone else's house on Christmas either. But my inlaws have since divorced, remarried, and have formed other families. So the whole one big happy family on Christmas day is not there. We do fly to see my family one weekend in December and do a pre Christmas with them. And we go up either the weekend before Christmas (this year) or the day after Christmas. Or they are welcome to come visit us the entire week of Christmas.

I always thought the no gift rule was cool too. But a parent came up to me and told me it was rude and she did not appreciate someone telling me what they should or should not do with their money. Wow!

Posted by: foamgnome | December 5, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I was born the day after Christmas (hence the name; it was either that or Holly). My mother was very careful to keep Christmas and bday separate. She hosted Christmas dinner, then invited all the relatives back the next day for my bday dinner. What a woman!

I have never felt gyped. It's a special time of the year to be born, and during school years, I always had the day off (now, I just take a vacation day). And my wedding anniversary is 12/28, so Christmas through New Year's is one big celebration. What could be better?

So thanks to my mother, who kept it special (oh yeah, and who went into labor after cleaning up from Christmas dinner).

Posted by: Joyce | December 5, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I was born on 12/22 and was brought home from the hospital in a huge, red stocking! Since then, my family always kept the birthday separate from Christmas. Tips: keep the family birthday traditions even if the holidays are hectic (in our house the birthday person picks the dinner and we always have cake), use birthday giftwrap for gifts, open gifts on the actual birthday, embrace the season and its activities (some years I went to the Nutcracker as a birthday treat and, on others, did a fun volunteer activity), have birthday parties a week or two early, etc. The key is to treat it like any other family birthday. For me, it's the kickoff to the best weeklong party of the year!

Posted by: makesforagreatweek! | December 5, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Plan Ahead??? oh, rite wrote: Perhaps I could interest the 11:34 poster in some lovely beachfront property in the 22041 zip code?

There is lovely beachfront property in 22041--Lake Barcroft!

Posted by: Beta | December 5, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't let what ONE snippy rude parent says affect what you do for your daughter's birthday parties, foamgnome.

Joyce - at the risk of telling you something you already know and don't care about, the term "gyped" is derogatory and a slur towards Gypsies.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like you all are raising really greedy, entitled brats. My grandfather's birthday was December 23 and he never got a birtday gift -- it was a combined Christmas and b'day gift. We were lucky if we even got a homemade birthday cake. No such thing as parties, hired clowns, rented moon bounce, skating parties, over=nights, rented social halls, hired limos for our birthdays. Jeesh. Tacky, tacky, tacky. You deserve what you raise.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

My birthday is December 28. I used to have my party (with school friends) the first weekend in december because otherwise no one was around, but other than that, I never felt funny about it. People forgot my birthday all the time when I was a kid (and still do), but I think that just happens to everyone sometimes. Not really that big a deal, as long as the people you are closest to remember to give you a call and tell you they love you. I am always extra-surprised (and happy) when someone sends me a birthday card, though, since usually people don't bother with it being so close to Christmas.

Not like there really is a "perfect" time to have a birthday, anyway... the kids who have summer birthdays are usually missing their friends who are all on family vacations and whatnot.

But in the end, these are just birthdays, after all, and it's probably better not to make too huge a deal out of them.

I thought this was pretty funny
"You know, you can plan ahead with those birthdays. You should have thought about that 9 months before. "
As if having a december birthday is such a hardship that children should not even be conceived if that is a possibility. Like it's some kind of chromosomal abnormality that must be avoided at all costs.

Posted by: reston, va | December 5, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

1:42pm, well, someone raised you to be a kind, generous, barrel of laughs. A birthday cake and sleepover? Only BRATS get that. That has to cost nearly TWENTY dollars. cheap, cheap, cheap. nasty, nasty, nasty. Your parents deserve you.

Posted by: atb | December 5, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like you all are raising really greedy, entitled brats. My grandfather's birthday was December 23 and he never got a birtday gift -- it was a combined Christmas and b'day gift. We were lucky if we even got a homemade birthday cake. No such thing as parties, hired clowns, rented moon bounce, skating parties, over=nights, rented social halls, hired limos for our birthdays. Jeesh. Tacky, tacky, tacky. You deserve what you raise.

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 01:42 PM

I agree that excessive gifting and partying can contribute towards a child's sense of entitlement/brattiness, but they are also good opportunities to teach kids manners. My mom insisted that I mail party invitations instead of giving them out at school so those who weren't invited didn't feel left out. I also had to serve all of my guests cake before I got some myself. I had to greet my guests at the door, thank all of them for coming before they left, thank each person for each present, and write thank you notes after the party was over. Birthday parties can be good lessons in proper hosting, manners, and appreciation for others.

My nephew's birthday is 12/22. I've vowed to always give him both a bday gift and a Christmas gift

Posted by: blkgb | December 5, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

All Time *itch: $20 could buy us a week's worth of groceries. It wasn't going to be wasted on a birthday gift. Pull in the claws and pamper your own spoiled brat with gifts. The world will thank you for it.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"$20 could buy us a week's worth of groceries. It wasn't going to be wasted on a birthday gift. Pull in the claws and pamper your own spoiled brat with gifts. "

Hmm... not a trace of hostility or bitterness there. Might I suggest some therapy if you can't even handle the thought of someone buying their kid a present?

Posted by: va | December 5, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

$20 could buy us a week's worth of groceries

In what decade?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's you. Your posts and attitude are as pleasant as stepping in a turd. Please don't have children.

Posted by: atb | December 5, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Cease with the insults people! They're off topic.

My b-day is Dec 30th. I remember my parents celebrating maybe 2 of my birthdays (okay, 1, my aunts hosted the other one) or flat out forgetting that I even had a birthday and always getting combined birthday/christmas presents.

I just took the passive agressive approach and made certain that those folks rec'd their combined birthday/christmas gifts in March.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | December 5, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

My daughter's birthday is December 3. One thing that we've always done is wait until after her birthday to decorate the house for the holidays. In doing so, we keep the focus on her day and then use that as a segue in the celebration of Christmas. We also make sure that any "special present" she gets is on her birthday. She seems pretty well adjusted, so I guess we've been doing the right least as far as her birthday is concerned!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

One sister was born December 27, she has a son born December 17. My other sister was born January 11 (A Boilermaker) and my father January 13. The whole Christmas/birthday thing was never an issue because we never confused the two. Separate gifts, party, wrappings. My son who was born in early August is the only one who has ever had a half birthday - his third grade class did it when they were learning the unbirthday song for the school musical, since he never had a school birthday. Oh, and talking about bad times to have a birthday, mid-April wins no prizes because the self employed do not get refunds, they pay. So whenever you have a birthday can present challenges.

Posted by: ellie | December 5, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like you all are raising really greedy, entitled brats. My grandfather's birthday was December 23 and he never got a birtday gift -- it was a combined Christmas and b'day gift. We were lucky if we even got a homemade birthday cake. No such thing as parties, hired clowns, rented moon bounce, skating parties, over=nights, rented social halls, hired limos for our birthdays. Jeesh. Tacky, tacky, tacky. You deserve what you raise.

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 01:42 PM

And in order to get the combined Xmas/birthday present we had to walk 10 miles. Uphill. Through the snow. While barefoot. And blindfolded.

Posted by: asd | December 5, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

You people really are the nastiest bunch of *itches. You should all go back to OB where you belong. With attitudes like yours, I hope I never come in contact with your spawn, "The Devil's Children."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! We're the nasty ones! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I'm amused.

Posted by: atb | December 5, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

You deserve what you raise.

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 01:42 PM

In response to whoever wrote this (no name was listed) ... If this is true, then that explains why I have a great life. By God's mercy and grace, and with the help of my loved ones, I raised two great sons who I am so totally proud of. Thanks for explaining my good fortune.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I clicked "submit" before typing in my "name."

In response to whoever wrote this (no name was listed) ... If this is true, then that explains why I have a great life. By God's mercy and grace, and with the help of my loved ones, I raised two great sons who I am so totally proud of. Thanks for explaining my good fortune.

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 04:05 PM

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 5, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

PLS, you're treading on dangerous territory there. :-) How would you feel if it was your family instead of your in-laws?

My wife is from this area; her parents still live about a 45-minute drive from us. My mother now lives in North Carolina, next to my brother and his daughters; it's about a 6-hour drive. (Mom moved there from New Orleans after she retired a few years ago, to help my brother raise his daughters.)

We see my family about twice a year. Mom can't drive that far because of age and health issues, so if she comes up here for a graduation, First Communion or whatever either one of us has to drive down, get her and drive back (and do the same at the end of the visit), or take a long, convoluted expensive flight (two connections, minimum).

We also wanted to have our own Christmas traditions, especially when the kids got older and sang in the church children's choir, etc. Plus, we have those December 30 and 31 birthdays. So, what we do is have Christmas here in Maryland, then drive down on the 26th and have another "Christmas" with my family that night. We drive home on the 29th so everybody's home for his/her birthday.

Yeah, it's a pain in the neck, but it means that my kids get to see their Grandmother, uncle and cousins; and we get Christmas and birthdays at home.

Now, Christmas Day is always a fight, because my mother-in-law insists that the big family dinner is always at HER house. So we get up Christmas morning, go to church if we didn't Christmas Eve, open gifts, have a leisurely brunch, and then go over to the in-laws in mid-afternoon and stay there until late at night. To me, it would clearly be easier to have MIL and FIL come to our house - it's a 45-minute drive for somebody; there are two of them and six of us - but no, that's not acceptable because it's not their tradition. Tradition dictates that Christmas is at the family matriarch's house - it was at my MIL's mother's house until she died at 92.

Oh, DW and I have had some discussions about our own family traditions vs in-law desires, and we've finally reached accomodation - but it took a while, and we still hear from both sides of the family about how we spend much more time/effort with the OTHER side.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 5, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"And in order to get the combined Xmas/birthday present we had to walk 10 miles. Uphill. Through the snow. While barefoot. And blindfolded.

Posted by: asd | December 5, 2007 03:14 PM"

Great comeback!!

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 5, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"You people really are the nastiest bunch of *itches. You should all go back to OB where you belong. With attitudes like yours, I hope I never come in contact with your spawn, "The Devil's Children."

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 03:50 PM"

Do what??!! This isn't the place for this kind of nastiness. Sounds like someone tinkled in your cereal bowl this morning.

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 5, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Okay ... to everyone on here who is about to have a birthday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

And to all of you: Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men!

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 5, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, heaven forbid we should offend gypsies but it's quite all right to go full steam ahead at offending someone who grew up in poverty. You jest at scars who never felt a wound.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

luv2laff is a big poopy face.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I used to enjoy comments on Washington Post parenting blog, but this has to be one of the most HATEFUL, self centered, rude blog that I have ever witnessed. Please just comment on the writer's question. Don't be so vicious to each other.

Posted by: Regular reader | December 5, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"luv2laff is a big poopy face.

Posted by: | December 5, 2007 04:32 PM"

Dag ... how did you know??!!

There's a reason my moniker is "luv2laff" because I laugh off people with ugly attitudes like yours. I won't let you get me unnerved and sink me down to your attitude level. Peace (and lots of laffs!)

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Not only is my mother's birthday December 30, but she has a younger brother with the SAME birthday. My mom has always had a hard time getting recognition on her birthday, especially since her brother was born when she was seven (she has eight siblings, and there are two shared birthdays in the bunch).

Posted by: Kat | December 5, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

My husband is December 18th and our son is December 31st. We always celebrate with cake, presents wrapped in b-day gift wrap, a party, etc. Never are their special days tied to our Christmas celebration. I have a June b-day and like having the celebrations spread out, but we can't pick our birthdays, can we?

Posted by: December | December 6, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

My birthday is 12/25, and I have two sisters, one born 12/30 and the other on 1/1. With 5 kids in the family, it was chaotic enough on Christmas that I really don't know whether I got extra gifts or got shorted, but it didn't matter. They were wrapped in Christmas paper, because my mom was kind of disorganized, but who cares. I got to open my Christmas-wrapped B-day gifts after dinner on Christmas. We'd have a chocolate birthday cake. As far as parties, I don't think I had one every year, but pretty close during the early elementary years. It would be during Christmas vacation and whoever could come, came.

My other sister's birthday always fell around on or around Thanksgiving, and kind of got lost in that shuffle (she was much older and past the party stage by the time I was old enough to remember stuff).

So my mom didn't excel at making a big special just-your-day birthday for everybody, but we were certainly happy. The only problem is that when I got older and didn't have the same your-special-day attitude toward other people's birthday outside my family, I learned that I *had* to make a big deal out of everyone else's birthday because that's the way most people I know seem to do it.

That's fine for young children, but when adults *have* to have their own-special-day, it strikes me as a bit silly.

Posted by: Vienna VA | December 6, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

What a great topic! Nice to know our family isn't the only one with a lot of Mothers and Father's Day babies (conception date).

We make sure that each birthday is handled as its own special day. I guess luckily no one is actually ON a holiday yet, just near it.

Growing up, I always knew I wasn't quite getting what others got and it wasn't as special- Feb is when people are still paying bills and weather is crappy and time for Valentines Day! But my family still did what they could and it always felt special to me.

Except when I got to high school- then EVERY year they had the science fair that week, and then in college EVERY year that was the week spring semester began and had to move back. Though it made a good excuse for a party right off.

Growing up, I can plan my own events now so it's more about being together "for me" rather than getting physical gifts. But I'm a lot more sensitive since my nephews were born even closer to the holidays and make sure any friends I have with close birthdays get a definite separate special birthday gift.

Posted by: Liz D | December 6, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

PLS- it would depend on how often you see the in laws during the year and how difficult it is for them to travel, AND what the bonds are between the wife and them.

You could always alternate- one year you go Christmas and summer, next year you go Thanksgiving and spring.

Posted by: Liz D | December 6, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"The only problem is that when I got older and didn't have the same your-special-day attitude toward other people's birthday outside my family, I learned that I *had* to make a big deal out of everyone else's birthday because that's the way most people I know seem to do it. "

Vienna, I had the same problem. I wonder if part of the reason I don't view birthdays as a huge deal (especially for adults) is because of my holiday birthday.

Posted by: reston, va | December 7, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

My bday is 12/23, my parents kept christmas and my birthday seperate when I was younger, but there wasn't parties. Now I ask for the event presents ie.. basketball game tickets, or the ballet. And yes my birthday is a family time.

Posted by: Flicka | December 9, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Thought of one major bonus of a holiday birthday- the combined b-day/christmas present. Enables you to ask for a "big" present that would otherwise be too expensive for either holiday.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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