Birthday Grinch

By Chelle Cordero

September 25, 2013 4 min read

That little bundle of joy you brought home, your personal Christmas present, might not feel so special about being overshadowed every year on his or her birthday.

When everything is adorned in holiday decor and your budget is stretched thin from holiday gift giving, it's hard to make the birthday child feel like a star. Being denied that special day can make a child feel cheated, especially when siblings are opening holiday presents, too.

What's a parent to do? After all, you can't change the calendar ... or can you? Here are some suggestions from parents who've learned to deal with the same thing.

Make sure that you schedule a separate celebration for your child. Most families hope to keep costs down, and separate parties and presents can be a strain. However, there are ways to throw a fun party and still minimize the budget. Since it is so close to other family gatherings, simply host a smaller children-only party serving cake and ice cream. Extended families can save their visits and presents for the holiday celebrations.

If you've saved for a very special or expensive gift for your child to put under the tree, then by all means go for a less expensive gift for his or her birthday. Showing your child love does not need to break the bank. Younger children usually enjoy coloring books, crayons, puzzles and other trinkets. Older children might enjoy toiletries, CDs, computer games and popular books. Teens will appreciate posters, makeup, books for an e-reader and clothing. Pick things you might normally buy your child, but try to make it a little more special. Funky wrapping paper or handmade cards can add an extra personal touch. No matter how convenient it might be, refrain from using the holiday wrapping paper to wrap the birthday presents.

Ensure that the celebration does not appear to be a winter or holiday party. Depending on your budget you could arrange a swim party. Contact a local school, community center or hotel to find out the possibility of bringing party guests there for an indoor swim. Even an indoor party can have a beach theme with cardboard palm trees, plastic sand pails used for goodie bags and a picnic with towels on the carpeting. Consider serving cupcakes made in ice cream cones and topped with sprinkles and cherries, baking a cake in the shape of a whale or even making a simple sheet cake look like a beach. Tiny umbrellas complete the look. Fantasy castles and superhero costumes may be the perfect touch for your child. Summer vacation postcards make great invitations, too, and will clue your guests into the slight shift in the calendar.

If planning too many activities in such a short amount of time seems overwhelming, you can rearrange the calendar. Throw a unique birthday party by celebrating your son or daughter's half-birthday. This might work better for an older child who will not be easily confused by the time warp. Emphasize the half-birthday theme by scheduling the party at half-past the hour, serve a half-circle birthday cake, send invitations that look like a ticket torn in half, etc. Imagine how happy your child will be to celebrate their December birthday with a backyard barbecue and a Slip 'N Slide.

It's not solely children who like to feel special and remembered on their birthdays, take it from the wife of a man born in December. If your significant other is a winter baby, try to keep the day special. Dinner out doesn't have to be at an expensive restaurant, it can be a local diner or even take-away food. If it's a workday, think about sending flowers, balloons or a cake for the break room. You can remember the day with something special, while staying within your December budget, such as a new paperback novel by a favorite author, an envelope with scratch-off lottery tickets, a travel mug for the commute to work or even just a romantic birthday greeting card.

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