Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December Babies

Yesterday I received a noticed from a private online community that I'm a part of. These little notices go out every day reminding members of upcoming events that other members have posted, new photos in the community, new notes, upcoming birthdays and things like that. In yesterday's notice there were three birthdays listed. Mine, this guy's and this guy's. We all share a birthday that falls within a week of each other - just before Christmas.

I got to thinking about December birthdays and how my mom and gma made mine special when I was growing up. It's sort of funny the giggly/excited feeling I still have whenever I think of how much I looked forward to my birthday every year, as a kid. We'd have dinner and gma & gpa's, and gma made my favorite meal (roast beef with potatos, carrots and gravy, with homemade biscuits), and my favorite cake (dark chocolate with dark chocolate frosting). After dinner I'd open presents, then we'd have cake & ice cream (peppermint stick, if the store had it). When all that was done we'd leave gma & gpa's house and drive down Candy Cane Lane, before we'd head home. Upon arriving home, it was time to get into our jammies and come watch Rudolph and Santa Claus is coming To Town. Those were the two that were usually on, on the night of my birthday. I always had a very Christmasy birthday, and I loved it. The traditions are different now as an adult but they're still very Christmasy, as that's the day we get and/or decorate the tree!

I've talked to a lot of people over the years with December birthdays and many of them have commented that they felt somewhat left out, or overlooked, because of the hustle & bustle associated with Christmas preparations. I'm sure there isn't a good parent out there that ever means to do this, but as a mother of seven, I can sure see how easily that can happen. None of mine have a December birthday, but if they did I know exactly how I'd celebrate it with them, even with the busy Christmas season just ahead.

Your mileage may vary, but in our house birthdays are a big deal. There are streamers and balloons, cake and ice cream, presents and a special dinner. That day is a day to celebrate that special person coming into our lives and we enjoy doing that. If you're like us in that regard, or even if you're looking for some specific ideas for a December birthday, I hope this helps:

• Buy your gift or gifts earlier in the year. Don't let the Christmas shopping season be the time you buy a birthday gift for a December birthday. There are great sales all year long, so plan well in advance.

• Don't wrap your birthday gift in Christmas wrapping paper (or in a Christmas gift bag). It may seem like a small thing, and it may seem handy if that's all you have, but for kids especially it's sort of a big deal. Kids notice wrapping paper, and many would much rather see brightly colored birthday paper on their special day, than Christmas themed paper. When you buy your gift(s) earlier in the year, be sure to buy birthday wrapping paper as well.

• If you're exceptionally busy with Christmas baking and other preparations, try to make a list in a planner format for the days before and after the birthday, so that you can divide your plans among those days, and set that birthday aside for just the birthday celebration.

These may seem like small things, but to kids they're really not. They see how other kid's birthdays are celebrated at different times of the year, and they know the difference between that, and the 'hurried-up-December-birthday'. Granted, some kids (and even adults) like to have their gifts wrapped in Christmas paper, and some kids like to do "Christmasy" things for their birthdays, but the important thing is that you make it their day, rather than letting a December birthday be an "add-on" to your Christmas planning.

I know for myself this year, all my kids will be here and if one them doesn't bring peppermint stick ice cream for me, they're getting firewood in their stocking.