When my daughter was born on a cold December night, I was overwhelmed with love. I cuddled with her as my husband and I listened to Christmas music. We found an ornament in the hospital gift shop with her name on it. We dined on a Christmas dinner that year that someone else prepared.
Having a baby in December? It was better than I expected.
Fast forward 10 years and nearly as many birthday parties later. December birthdays can be sweet, but they can be hard when it comes to throwing birthday parties. Luckily, I have years of experience and 10 tips to share that will make your child’s next December birthday party as fun and stress-free as possible.
1. Plan in advance. Everyone is busy during the holidays. There are gifts to buy, parties to attend and special activities at school. I recommend picking a date for your party as far in advance as possible.
2. Be flexible with your date. Every year our town hosts a holiday parade on the Saturday closest to my daughter’s birthday. The whole town goes. Thus, to avoid competing with it we usually have her party a week or so after her birthday.
3. Consider piggybacking on a special holiday event. Once we took my daughter and her friends to a “Visit with Santa” event. The kids visited businesses in a shopping center collecting candy or toys before meeting Santa. The treats served as their goody bags (bonus!) and afterwards we celebrated with cake at our house. That party was one of the easiest we’ve had.
4. Think right before or after the holidays. If you can wait until the weekend before Christmas, then kids are ready to attend a birthday party. By then, they’ve already visited Santa, had their school party, performed in the holiday play, etc. The same goes with right after the New Year. All the holiday excitement is gone and kids are bored—and available.
5. Skip the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Not only is it Kwanzaa, but most people are traveling or entertaining relatives.
6. Prepare your child that not everyone can come. One year, a friend couldn’t come because she was celebrating the holidays early with out-of-town family. However, it’s no different from other times of the year. My oldest child has a summer birthday and someone is always on vacation.
7. Go full-out birthday party mode. Yes, Christmas music blares from every stereo and the stores offer gifts galore for Hanukkah’s eight nights. That makes it even more important to celebrate with a standard birthday cake and typical birthday party decorations.
8. Prepare your child that someone may double-up on a birthday/holiday gift. Most kids don’t do this. Usually, the two-for-one gift is from a relative. It’s not the end of the world.
9. Give yourself a pep-talk. I’m not going to lie. Planning and throwing a birthday party amidst all the other things you have to do during the holidays is hard. But we are parents. We are nothing if not strong!
10. Remember it is your child’s special day, no matter where it falls on the calendar. I like to remind people of this fact whenever someone says, “It must be so hard having a birthday in December.” Because it doesn’t have to be hard, it can be awesome.
Throwing a birthday party during the holidays? It can be done. And, if you keep these tips in mind, it can be a happy birthday indeed.
Katy M. Clark is a writer and mom of two who embraces her imperfections on her blog Experienced Bad Mom (experiencedbadmom.com)
Party Time in the Greater Philadelphia Area
Need some ideas? These local party venues and entertainers in the Delaware Valley can give you a party to remember.
Go on an Adventure – Combine the joy of the season with an exciting excursion. The Wilmington & Western Railroad has holiday and Santa themed rides all December. wwrr.com/ride/schedule/default.aspx
Book a Field Trip – Did you know you can book your own field trips at museums? Go for a self-guided or guided option for groups of 15 or more at Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum pleasetouchmuseum.org/visit/groups
Indoor Fun – With cold weather outside, give kids the chance to work out their energy inside! Laser tag, play zones, trampoline parks offer plenty of opportunities for large groups. Try xbos.com/home.html or skyzone.com/newark