Parenting

Holiday Birthdays Tend To Be A Major Bummer For Kids

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I have one kid born on Halloween. I have one kid born a week after Halloween. I have one kid born five days before Christmas. When they were tiny, we thought it was cute. We thought it was adorable that they shared their birthdays with special days. Now they aren’t so little. Now we know the truth.

Holiday birthdays suck.

Holiday birthdays mean my kids never have a day of their own — ever. Birthday parties straight-out suck. Everyone’s busy. Everyone is broke. Everyone has something to do and somewhere to be: a trunk-or-treat or Halloween party, a Christmas party, a trip to a relative’s house. So they end up with no party at all, or a party scheduled so far from their birthday as to be ridiculous. Congratulations, you just turned six … a few months ago. We tried to celebrate our Christmas baby’s birthday in the middle of the summer once, as a half-birthday party. It was totally awkward and weird and we never did it again.

And even if kids with holiday birthdays get a party, it ends up combined. Halloween birthday? HALLOWEEN BIRTHDAY PARTY! Your birthday becomes a festival of skulls and costumes and spider cakes, since everyone’s in the mood to celebrate Halloween, not you. If they’re headed to a party, they want to celebrate Candy Day, not your birthday. Believe me. This is fun for a few times, then the novelty wears off, and the desire for a non-pumpkin party starts to (understandably) creep in.

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Christmas? Everyone wants to play Christmas carols and wear Christmas sweaters and eat candy canes. You can’t like, throw a sheet over the Christmas tree or something. And everything’s rented out already for holiday parties, so just try to find an indoor venue, plus everything outside is frigid, unless you live in the Florida Keys. Sweet baby Jesus in the manger, my oldest son has literally had one birthday party, with friends, in his whole life. He’s almost ten, and it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Judge me all you want. You try rounding up a quorum of kids at Christmastime.

And oh, the very worst part of holiday birthdays for the birthday child: everyone wants to fucking combine presents. My poor Halloween baby and near-Halloween baby get Halloween-themed birthday gifts every year. Yes, they still appreciate them, and gifts are not required, but let’s not pretend that gifts are not a traditional part of a child’s birthday party.

And don’t get me started on my poor Christmas child. Christmas children have the worst holiday birthday of all.

All the children who don’t have holiday birthdays get multiple special days per year. Children who have holiday birthdays get one subtracted. The biggest kid holidays are generally Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. Easter’s a movable feast, so no one has an Easter birthday. Halloween and Christmas birthdays? You’re down a day. My Halloween kids get one day and Christmas — but at least they get presents twice. My Christmas baby has Halloween … and Christmas/birthday. Most people can’t make it to his celebrations, and later give him a combined birthday/holiday gift while everyone else is also receiving gifts.

Worst. Birthday. Ever.

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Everyone’s bustling around to get ready for a holiday. And my kids get lost in the shuffle. That includes us, by the way. We try hard to keep the kids’ days at the forefront, but that’s really difficult. Holiday birthdays mean people do things half-assed. They buy your cake at the last minute. They buy your decorations at the last minute. In fact, your decorations are usually holiday decorations (i.e. skulls or Christmas trees). My kids get costumes and Christmas crackers, just sort of by default. And then someone forgets wrapping paper, even if we make a serious effort not to, and they end up wrapping stuff in holiday paper. Major downer.

Holiday birthdays mean you cede so much control over everything associated with your kid’s special day. It sucks royally. We ought to have thought of this before we conceived when we did. I prayed my oldest son wouldn’t be born on Christmas Day. Thank god he missed it by a few. But he left the hospital on December 22rd, and that was close enough for both of us.

Holiday birthdays suck. They suck for kids. They suck for parents. They suck all the way around. Maybe you don’t have a holiday birthday. Or maybe you happen to love your holiday birthday, or your kid’s holiday birthday, and I’m sure you will tell us all about that. But you can have some sympathy. You can refuse to combine presents. You can make sure you don’t wrap your present in holiday paper. You can suggest a party that doesn’t involve costumes.

And most importantly, you can RSVP and attend the parties for kids like mine, so they feel honored and recognized on their special day too.

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