Planning a holiday birthday party

by Julie Snyder

Holiday Birthday PartyI was so excited to discover I was pregnant. I wasn't as thrilled that an already stressful time was going to get busier.

The baby was due December 18. Like other parents having a holiday baby, I was hoping the birthday wouldn't get wouldn't get absorbed by the festivities.

Over the years, we've had mixed success with his birthday parties, with winter storms dampening some and holiday activities hampering turn-outs. When it comes to holiday birthday celebrations, no one solution fits every family. Some kids insist on celebrating their actual birthday, while others enjoy having a day that doesn't involve the holiday. Planning a holiday birthday party may take a few years to get it right.

When your child's birthday falls near a holiday

Carry on as usual

It's a crazy time of year with the holidays. Throwing a party will take a little extra planning. Communicate with your child's friend's parents to make sure they will be in town.

"My parents made a point to give me a separate celebration, and still do now. As a child, I hated missing out on cupcakes at school. I love it now because all my friends are back in town for the holidays so we can all get together," Erin said.

Combine with the holiday

What could be more convenient than celebrating a special day with the whole family? That's one option open to those with a birthday right around a major holiday. It's easy to celebrate -- you're making arrangements to serve food and have guests, anyway.

"My daughter was born on Christmas. We have a small 'Birthday Tree' to keep them separate from the other presents. Her own tree makes her feel special and it discourages combo gifts," Melissa said.

Have the party earlier or later

A party right near a holiday can be disappointing. Everyone can be too busy to celebrate. Many families choose a small celebration on the birthday and a party with friends in early December or later in January or February.

"My son was born on December 28. We all agreed his birthday would be separate from the holidays, every year. Until now, we had his party by the second weekend in December, before the holiday got into full swing and his preschool friends all left for the holidays. This year we've planned his party the beginning of the year, when everyone is back to school," Linda said.

Tips from the kids

What matters to the kids? We asked and found out!

No 'Merry ChrisBirthHannadaymas' gifts. Everyone deserves their own special birthday recognition," James stated.

"My birthday's January 3. Usually my big present is the start of school, but you know what? Life is tough sometimes. Make sure that there's no Christmas themed stuff and it's okay," Becky said.

"Don't try to give your kids ingredients for their Thanksgiving dinner. It will not impress. No one wants to unwrap a turkey. Someone once gave me cranberry sauce, hopefully as a joke," Hannah said.

"Sing Happy Birthday, have a cake and give separate presents, even if the celebration happens on Christmas Day," Karl suggests.

"Make sure and invite guests on a day there's not going to be a blizzard," Jon -- who was born in a blizzard -- quipped.

"Think about a gift that your child will enjoy all year long and keep the "winter" themed gifts for Christmas. If you only receive winter toys, you get pretty bored in summer," Julie offered.

It's a tough time to have a birthday, but it's a magical time, too. What to do when your child’s birthday falls on the holidays?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.