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12 Ways to Separate Birthdays and Holidays (And Keep Any Birthday Special, Period)

By caseymullins |

Birthdays are a big huge deal to me and I believe that there should be a firm separation between Birth and Holiday. Obviously with Addie’s birthday being December 14th, our competing holiday is Christmas — but no matter what holiday your kid’s birthday falls close to, I believe every effort should be made to distinguish between the two. Maybe it’s because my dad’s birthday is in December or because mine is sometimes making out with Easter or Mother’s Day.

Since Addie was born, I’ve developed some practices that keep birthday memories exclusive and super special without spending too much. Cody thinks I’m silly, but I’ve been told by those who have December birthdays all my efforts will one day be appreciated.


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Keeping December Birthdays Special

We don't do big parties

It's 11 days before Christmas. The whole world seems to be in this uptight fury about money and gifts and all the wrong things. December birthday parties are not well-attended in my experience, so we save the party for her half-birthday when it is warm, sunny and school is out. (We do, however, let her pick a friend or two to go out to dinner with us and have cake and a special activity. Last year she chose a carriage ride.)

Looking for a unique cake for your child’s birthday? Try these fun alternatives!

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About caseymullins



Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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24 thoughts on “12 Ways to Separate Birthdays and Holidays (And Keep Any Birthday Special, Period)

  1. kt says:

    my boy’s bday is the 20th and my hubby’s is the 23rd. i’m a pro at seperating the two. we do a party, and our tree is up…..but there are no presents under it. we like to call it “birthday season” at our house. thanks for the fun ideas!

  2. domestic extraordinaire says:

    I also have a December child and she gets so frustrated that people just lump her gifts together. They also do this for my January child as well. “Since we probably won’t see you for a while….”

    We started a tradition where they get x amount of gifts on their birthday and x is how many years old they are. It’s mostly little things that I pick up here or there, but they enjoy it!

  3. Mariss says:

    My husband’s birthday is the 23rd and he is bitter about his childhood birthdays being horrible because of Christmas. I try very hard to keep his birthday separated from Christmas stuff. I also NEVER wrap his birthday presents with Christmas wrapping paper. That is just wrong!

  4. jeannine m says:

    My oldest daughter’s birthday is Christmas Eve and I am a pro and seperating the two. We have a family party and all her presents are to wrapped in “birthday” wrapping paper. After almost 16 yrs (she will be 16 this yr) she has never been shafted on her birthday :)

  5. cici says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’m due after Christmas and this is extremely helpful!

  6. Lou says:

    My birthday is on the 20th and I hate having birthday & christmas presents combined into one when I was a kid, ditto with the christmas cards that had ‘PS happy birthday’ scribbled into it. My husband’s birthday is on the 31st, so we get to do the festive season + 2 birthdays all under 2 weeks. Lucky our daughter’s birthday’s in July!

  7. Kelsey says:

    Casey, my favorite part of this entire article is that Addie looks absolutely beside herself with glee in every single picture! We’ve got a little one who turns one next week, so we’ll be taking all the advice we can get!! Thanks. =)

  8. R's Mom says:

    Thanks for the tips! My dad’s birthday is December 26, and now my son’s is Dec. 30. The one thing my dad has always said is important is separate acknowledgement of the birthday, and we will try very hard to make R’s birthday a separate, celebratory event…and not just something that gets lumped into Christmas & New Year.

    The flip side of this, however, is my birthday…October 29. I know Halloween isn’t a holiday in the sense that Christmas & New Years are, but I always loved having my birthday near Halloween. It was an excuse to have fun costume parties for my birthday, and even as an adult, when I see pumpkins and halloween decorations go up, it gets me excited for my birthday. In fact, I always sort of saw Halloween as the continuing celebration of my birthday…I had my big day, and then two days later got to do more fun stuff. So I am trying to capture this feeling for my son.

  9. Jessica says:

    Loved your practical advice that is helpful to parents. My dad’s birthday was on Christmas day and a German Chocolate Cake was his favorite. Thanks!

  10. saida says:

    My birthday Xmas eve it was always hard on my parents once my Sis n Bro was born but some how my mom always found a way to make it special …Im spanish so every Xmas eve my family will have huge get togethers music ,food n kids running wild but nobody was aloud to open gifts just me n they always sang n had cake for me ….now i have two kids of my own and birthdays kinda non existant but a guy id me once n told me celebrate two wks before or after so u dont get ript off n honestly i highly suggest it lol cuz i always got the one gift for both from family members lol

  11. Linda says:

    My “baby ” brother (almost 52) has a Dec. 19th birthday. I have to be honest I don’t remember a lot of his birthdays. I do know we had them separate from Christmas.
    His daughter was born on Christmas night. We promised her to always keep her birthday separate from Christmas. And we did.
    Two years ago (nearly) she had a daughter on Dec. 23. They are keeping her birthday separate also.
    Everyone has their own day.
    For everyone that has a December birthday——-HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

  12. Bella_Rose says:

    My daughter’s birthday is December 23rd. We also skip the big party in favor of a “half way there” party in the summer time. Also, we refuse to wrap Birthday gifts in Christmas Paper, same goes for Christmas cakes, they are a NO-NO… When it’s birthday, it’s birthday, when it’s Christmas it’s Christmas… We also celebrate early, and then just have cake on her actual birthday. She loves it. I also give her one gift for each year old she is. We did her small celebration today, and she informed me it was her best birthday ever! That’s a good sign, IMO.

  13. Emmie Lake says:

    As a twin born on December 13, I can relate. My mom was great about making our birthday special by allowing us to have a party with no Christmas involved and as many friends as we wanted, and even two separate cakes/candles. Christmas decorations and music were not even a thought until after our birthday. We did get the combined birthday/Christmas present… share (!) from the occasional friend or relative, but oh well. Wait until high school and college when exams are on your birthday and friends are too stressed out to even remember your birthday!

  14. Megan says:

    These are all good ideas. Two of my cousins have December birthdays, including a Christmas birthday. Now my daughter will turn 1 on the 27th. My son’s birthday is the end of July and that has its own issues, because schools no longer give out class lists with everyone’s contacts in them, so his friend parties have been taking he and a friend to LegoLand Discovery Center and Rainforest Cafe. This is a big treat since it’s a 90 minute drive from us. The one caveat I would give is on the combining presents. My 19 year-old cousin has ASKED my mom to combine her Christmas and birthday gifts so she can get a more expensive gift(Toms shoes) that she really wants. As Addie gets older, she may occasionally request that and people shouldn’t hesitate to do it if the birthday kid asks. The Christmas birthday in my family always has her birthday party the weekend before Christmas, so we are going to do my daughter’s party the weekend after New Year’s.

  15. Krista says:

    Dude, you are the coolest birthday mom EVAH. I wish you could have been around to give my parents some pointers… (mine is the 9th). And totally true, no one ever shows up for December parties – although I remember 2… one where we made gingerbread houses, which was kind of a cool birthday activity 20 years ago when it wasn’t so popular, and one when we had a ridiculously fun sledding party.
    And the whole 2 gifts in one thing? yeah, my relatives all did that and then my brother got 2 gifts since his birthday in August. Sucky.
    Balloons rule though, my boys birthdays are in March and we have always done balloons!
    Sadly I’m probably going to be the lame mom that has one family birthday party for the kids since these twins are probably coming in March too… 4 birthday parties in the same month? I don’t think so! I may have to resort to doing milestone parties for each kid in varying years…

  16. mamalang says:

    With a son born on the 16th and my husbands bday on the 27th, we’ve become a bit of pros. We don’t get our tree until the weekend after his birthday, which actually kills him as he LOVES Christmas. But it makes getting the tree even more special for him, as it’s part of his birthday celebration. We do his friend party in January, and the family gets together near his birthday. I don’t think he’ll ever feel slighted. I swear I’m going to do the half birthday thing one year, because I have some amazing ideas for a summer birthday and my kids are all fall and winter babies.

  17. Patty says:

    My sister was born on the 24th. Something I always made sure to do was wrap her gift in birthday paper, not Christmas and she always appreciates it. Your tips are great, I am having my first baby any day now so I will be using them in the future!!

  18. adrienne says:

    great ideas to use for my feb 13th baby! thanks

  19. P says:

    Thanks for all the ideas! I needed this! My hubs birthday on 19th and my son is X’mas Day baby(how about that?) My daughter’s Nov baby, so from Halloween on its invites, party, thank you notes, endless shoppings/errands again and again until after NY’s Day…..

  20. jean says:

    My daughter’s bday was Christmas Day. She was born Christmas and we went home from the hospital on my bday–Dec. 30! I’ve always said she was my Christmas present and getting to take her home was my bday present. My Mom always kept my bday separate and we did my bday on the 30th no matter that it was 5 days after Christmas and the day before New Year’s Eve. I always got separate presents. That’s what I wanted for my daughter, too–even with her bday be ON Christmas. So we always had all Christmas celebrations during rhe morning and early afternoon. Then around 5 pm it was bday–there was cake and ice cream and bday presents. When she was around 10 or so we suggested your “half bday” idea and her Dad offered her his bday as that day (his bday was July 2nd) but she refused — she said she always felt her bday was special and never felt like it got lumped into Christmas. She’s 29 now and still keeps her bday celebration for Christmas evening–her oldest daughter’s father was born on the 4th of July–that makes for some interesting negotiations on those 2 holidays. They get every other holiday each year but they get her for their bday–with Mom’s on Christmas and Dad’s on Independance Day they have had to work out a way for her to share both the holiday and the bday. Maybe what made her like her bday was she felt her bday over rode even Christmas because the 25th was Christmas until 5 pm, then Christmas was over and it was Michelle’s bday.

  21. Sandra says:

    Great ideas. My son’s birthday is December 19th and he is only 3 and we have already had some struggles with his birthday being close to Christmas and people not coming to the party. Most of my family has been great though so he has a special day. I would like to share something my mom did in the past though. Her birthday is Dec. 26th. One year one

  22. Sandra says:

    Of my step-brothers wrapped her present in Christmas paper. Well in July that year his present was wrapped in Christmas paper also. No one has done it since.

  23. melanie says:

    It’s hard to separate my sisters birthday and Christmas since her birthday is the 25th! We always say happy birthday before anything else, have a cake and birthday presents separate from Christmas ones. The rules are no Christmas wrapping paper and no Christmas related gifts. We are adults now and I honestly can’t remember how it was for her as a kid but when she turned 21 my dad took her out Christmas eve so she could experience her first drink at midnight and not wait around until after Christmas to go out with her friends. It can be hard as a kid so its super important to be supportive as a family to really make it her special day

  24. kim says:

    We enjoyed this

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