In honor of my family and friends with birthdays this week, I thought I would write an article on how to handle holiday birthdays. Today is my husbands birthday. Christmas Eve was my daughters birthday. My grandson’s is on the 28th. And, then there is my granddaughter’s that was on the 5th and my childhood best friend’s that is on the 31st. Plus a whole host of not quite as close friends and family. It seems like I just collect December birthdays in my life. You might think that there are just more people born in December. Nope, more people are born in summer months. It must be me. But, regardless of how I got into this situation, being surrounded by people with December birthdays has taught me a few things about holiday birthdays. And since everyone probably knows at least on person with a holiday birthday, I thought I would share what I have learned.
1. People with holiday birthdays tend to be quite sensitive about it. At some point, almost all of them have been slighted in some way on their birthday, and they remember. So, whoa be unto you if you forget. Mark it on your calender! Don’t assume you will remember because it is a holiday. Assume you won’t remember because it is holiday. I’m good here. I would have to forget half of the family to forget, which would be hard to do.
2. Don’t give them a combination birthday/(insert holiday of choice – remember there are other holidays in other months too) present. Unless you are giving them something that you could not afford to give for one or the other, and you know they are ok with it, just don’t do this. People with holiday birthdays perceive this as their birthday being too much trouble.
3. Buy them a birthday card and wrap their presents in birthday paper. You really can not imagine how often people with holiday birthdays get presents wrapped in paper meant for another holiday or receive a Christmas card that says Happy Birthday in it. My experience has been that this is one of the things that upsets them the most. And, it sounds like an easy fix, but sometimes it is not as easy as it sounds. One year after searching several major discount stores for paper, one employee told me that they don’t get any birthday paper in after the Christmas paper starts coming in until after the first of the year. So, this takes some planning. You may not be able to find something suitable the day before. Of course, card shops generally carry it, but they are more expensive, and if you live in a rural area like I do are difficult to find.
4. Don’t act like celebrating your loved one’s birthday is ruining your holiday. You may have haunted house plans on Halloween and certain things you want to eat for Christmas, but if someone you care about wants to do something else on one of those days because it is their birthday, you should try to find a way to make it happen. My daughter’s birthday is on Christmas Eve, so the day pretty much belongs to her, but as I write this – on Christmas Eve, the birthday celebration was over around six, and after we did some last minute baking a wrapping for Christmas. If you can give the person all or most of the day, do. If their birthday is actually on the day of a holiday – say Christmas, try dividing the day in half. Have Christmas brunch and birthday dinner or vice versa. There are twenty-four hours in a day, so, with proper planning, you can celebrate two events.
5. Do have two parties. Have one party for friends not actually on the big day, and a smaller family gathering on the day. Most people spend the holidays with family – often out of town, so it can be very difficult to get friends to come to a birthday party on those days (of course, do if you can as that would be ideal), but the family is usually around anyway, so it isn’t really that difficult to have a birthday celebration while they are already there.