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How to Make a Child’s Birthday Special Around the Holidays


My poor children. I don’t know why, but my husband and I were really adept at making holiday babies. My daughter was born within days of Thanksgiving, and my son was born two weeks before Christmas. Even as a child, I remember thinking how awful it must be to be born around Christmas. How must these kiddos feel with their birthday being overshadowed by the biggest gift-giving season of the year? Then I go and do that very thing to my kids. Sigh.

Of course, I had little control over when my kids would be born. But now that I am a mom of two “holiday babies,” I try very hard to make sure their birthdays are set apart from the other, bigger holidays of the season. Here are some tips for making sure your child’s birthday is special around the holidays!

Make Your Child’s Birthday Special Around the Holidays

1. Never Use Christmas Wrapping Paper

I never have birthday wrapping paper on hand. But I always have a bunch of Christmas paper. A few weeks before my kids’ birthdays, I make sure to get birthday-specific paper or bags so I can make sure their presents are very clearly designated for their special day.

2. Spoil on the Birthday

One thing that I started doing a few years after my kids were born was to limit Christmas presents to only five: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read, and a gift from Santa. This formula allows me to do two things. First, I can spoil each child a little on their birthday with a few more gifts, making the event more personal and exciting. And two, it streamlines the Christmas giving (and spending) like magic!

3. Transform Your Tree Into a “Birthday Tree”

If your child is born close enough to Christmas that you’ve already decked the halls, try transforming your Christmas tree into a “birthday tree” for the day. String streamers like a garland over the branches. Tie colorful helium balloons to the branches. Maybe even top the tree with a birthday hat! When your kiddo wakes up to find the tree has magically turned into a birthday tree, they will be over-the-moon excited!

4. Ask Family Not to Give “Combined” Gifts

Luckily, my family has never tried to do this to my kids, but I know others who have had this problem. Grandma will send a gift and label it, “Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!” Okay, Scrooge! If this is something you think you’ll have a problem with, gently ask your family members not to give “combo gifts.” Even if they have to send smaller or less expensive gifts to accommodate the double-punch of giving for your kid, it’s better than a combo gift.

5. Have a Family Party on the Actual Day

My kids get two birthday parties: one with their friends (see below) and another with just our immediate family on the actual day they were born. I feel like this really emphasizes the specialness of the actual day of their birth. I will allow the birthday kids to choose dinner for the evening, and we will have cupcakes and open presents from me afterward. They look forward to their birthday dinner all day!

6. Have a Friends Party a Few Weeks Out

Because my kids are born two weeks apart, I throw a joint birthday party with their friends on a weekend between their two birthdays. They get to do something fun with their best friends, cousins, and extended family members, eat pizza and cake, and open lots of gifts. While they may insist on having separate parties as they get older, right now, they really seem to enjoy the giant joint event. So, I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can get away with it!

7. Celebrate a Half Birthday Instead

I haven’t tried this with my kids, but other moms with “holiday babies” throw their kid’s grand celebration on their “half birthday” instead of during the holidays. Of course, they’ll have a small celebration on the actual day, but the big shebang happens six months from there. Many moms who live in colder climates find this works for them because they can give their kids the kinds of parties they may not otherwise have, like a pool party or a party at the park or the zoo. And they can give them seasonally-appropriate gifts, like a bike, that they may have to wait several months to play with if they got it on their real birthday. As long as your child is open and accepting of the idea of a delayed birthday party, this may be a great option for your family!

Being born near the holidays can be a real bummer for kiddos if they feel their big day is overshadowed or forgotten. Hopefully, these tips can help you distinguish your child’s day so that they feel special on their birthday!

Do you have a “holiday baby”? How do you make your child feel special for their birthday around the holidays?


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