The December Birthday Blues

December Birthday Blues

My birthday is in September, and like so many others whose birthdays fall during the “normal” months of the year, it’s a pretty big deal. My birthday is all about me, myself and I. Even if I have to work that day or have meetings or deadlines, it’s always a special day and I always feel like a queen.

But it’s not so easy for some of us. When I met my college boyfriend (now husband) I inherited a slew of holiday birthdays. In December alone we have my brother, his mother, his stepfather, my father and our son…it’s bananas! Every years I’m struggling to buy gifts for people who are notoriously hard to shop for (see: husband, father in law, father, etc.) and then having to do it AGAIN for Christmas. But I try not to make a huge deal about it, because they are already getting the short end of the stick. My husband’s birthday is on Christmas Eve, for heaven sakes, and I’m complaining about having to buy two presents? He has never had a birthday party on his birthday, never had friends over as a kid on his big day and everyone (including his wife) complains about having to buy him two gifts. I mean, that really sucks. And now my little boy (whose birthday is December 20th) will have the same problem. For his first birthday last year, I asked the husband for some advice from a December birthday boy on what to do to make sure those birthdays still seem special. Here’s what I got out of it:

1. Make sure they know it’s a big deal – Whether it’s your cousin or friend or boyfriend, make sure they know their big day is a BIG DEAL! Odds are they haven’t had great birthdays in the past, so make sure to make it something special. Even if it’s Christmas Eve, try and set aside a part of your day to celebrate them, and them only. Have a cake and candles ready, and they will be eternally grateful!

2. Get rid of the Christmas decor – Last year for my son’s first birthday party, I literally covered the Christmas tree in balloons. I’m not kidding. That was a big point my husband made to me…don’t let the decor scream Christmas! Don’t use holiday-themed paper plates and make sure it’s obvious there is a birthday going on. Don’t wrap the gifts in green and red sparkly paper. He said it always bummed him out when people would throw what were essentially Christmas parties, and then throw his birthday in as an afterthought. Make an effort to present your celebration as birthday only, and save the holiday decor for later.

3. Be sensitive – Here is where I have some trouble…it’s important to make sure you are being empathetic to your friend’s feelings regarding their birthday. I spent a few years stomping around and telling my boyfriend/husband that he needed to stop acting like a baby when it came to his birthday (I know, I’m a charmer), but once I really tried listening to how he felt about it, I realized it was a much bigger deal than I thought. He had felt robbed of a normal birthday as a kid, and that still affected him as an adult. I don’t want my son feeling that way, so I will do everything I can to make sure he knows how special his big day is, regardless of where it falls on the calendar.

4. Accentuate the positive – Yes, a Christmas birthday sort of sucks. But (BUT!) it isn’t all bad. Every year on his birthday, my husband has the day off work! Every year he is with family and people who love him. His family members, who live all over the country, are usually all together on his big day. He gets out of doing many Christmas chores (like putting together insanely complicated kids toys after the kids are in bed) because it’s “his” day. I think I would give up my September birthday for that one.

So this Christmas, if you’re celebrating a birthday other than that of Jesus, just remember to make it special. Your loved ones won’t forget it!


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