One of my best friends, as a child, had a December birthday. I am old enough to remember the era before young adults talked about the scars of dual birthday-Christmas gifts and memories of having birthdays glossed over in lieu of holiday events.
My childhood friend, though, even in the 70’s – had forward-thinking parents. She was one of three children, and her parents ensured that her birthday felt special every year. As I stood in the grocery line today, what I thought of were the things my friend’s parents did each year to separate her birthday from the other celebrations. Here are a few things that I remember:
1. Early Invitation Mailing:
My friend’s parents always sent out EARLY invitations. We always knew when her birthday celebration was scheduled. If I remember, the invitations went out before Thanksgiving and her birthday was late in December.
2. Involve Your Child in the Planning
My friend lived next door. Each year her mom would ask her to help plan the party, invitations, who to invite, decorations, cake…this gal got to decide almost every detail. I was there for this process many times and it always felt special.
3. Tag onto a local holiday event.
One year my friend’s mom took us to the city Christmas parade. There were other parents there to help wrangle us, and we had a BLAST. Sure, it was a little early, but we all went out for breakfast afterward. It might have been my favorite party with my friend, because we got to play in the park afterward. Looking back, it was simple, but a lot of fun.
4. Special Wrapping Paper
I never saw my friend receive a BIRTHDAY gift in Christmas paper.
5. Save cake for Santa
I was always a little envious as my friend could leave a piece of birthday cake out for Santa. Each year, as the rest of us left out cookies, my pal left Santa a special piece of cake that she had saved just for him. I remember her mom telling her, “Santa LOVES birthday cake!” One year, my friend got a note from Santa telling her just that!
6. Schedule a party in January
A couple of years, my friend’s parents scheduled her party after the holidays. She was just as happy and because her party was in January, all of the children in her class (plus me) were able to attend. I don’t remember her feeling anything but elated that her friends were together and cake was on the table. This year, we are offering a special discount in January. If you decide to delay until January, you can have an added bonus of discounted entertainment! (See coupon below).
I think the primary thing my friend’s parents did was separate her birthday from the family holiday activities. Her birthdays always seemed fun to me and I don’t recall one birthday for my friend that seemed clouded by other things or pushed aside for busy holiday times. As a parent, planning a party close to or during the holidays can seem to be added stress, but in the long run, you won’t regret it!.