My first two babies were born on either side of Christmas, early December and late January. Over the years, I tried to separate their birthday celebrations a bit by moving parties into late November or early February, but like Kate’s experience in her guest post below, my daughter actually likes doing Christmasy stuff on or before her birthday. This year, after a birthday breakfast, we cut down our tree, and our Christmas elves always arrive on her birthday (see upcoming blog post on the elves!)
Thank you to Kate Oliver for this guest post on Christmas Birthdays and family traditions!
Guest Post by, Kate Oliver, LCSW-C, Help4YourFamily.com
As a child therapist, I cannot overemphasize the importance of rituals in a child’s life. Having rituals, especially around a holiday, can bring comfort to a child who may be feeling out of sorts due to all of the other changes that happen around holidays like strange (to them) people, changes in schedule, and, depending on what your traditions are, changes in expectations. Often during holidays, children are expected to have more patience during adult oriented activities or special services.
In my family we have many rituals, but one of my favorites is the one my husband and I started, but my daughter took on as her own.
When my oldest daughter was born in early December of 2001, my husband and I were concerned about her feeling like Thanksgiving and Christmas were going to squeeze out her birthday. To address this concern, we decided that Christmas season, for our family, would not start until her birthday is over. To reflect this, we decided no decorations, no Christmas carols, no cookies or talk of Santa until after her birthday. The day after her birthday, after a celebration just for her, we would get our tree, my husband would put up the lights while she watched, and we would bake a first batch of cookies.
Once my daughter got old enough to really take this all in, she decided that her birthday will mark the start of Christmas. She loves that she has had essentially the same birthday party for the past three years. We have offered to take her and her friends out but she is adamant that anything else is just not good enough.
So, now my daughter’s birthday party is each year follows this pattern: a sleepover where she and her girlfriends eat pizza and make special hot chocolate at a hot chocolate bar that she and I create; after hot chocolate, everyone watches A Christmas Story; in the morning, I make cookies while my husband puts up Christmas lights outside and the girls help wherever they are so inclined. It’s special to her and it is great for me and our family because it gets us motivated to really kick off the holiday season with a special celebration.