Merry Birthmas: the lazy parent's guide to December birthdays

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

At the risk of offending anyone with a healthy dose of too much information, my husband and I are March breeders.

In fact, this (weird, non-dinner table conversation) festive fertility must be an inherited trait, because we have an absolute glut of Christmas birthdays in our family.

When pregnant with my twins, with a due date of January 1st, many people lamented the disappointment of having "Christmas babies" on the way. And with all the youthful, looking-on-the-bright-side exuberance of a person who had yet to be deprived of long showers and uninterrupted sleep, I discounted everyone's theories and told myself that a yuletide birthday would be nothing but awesome for a child: December is the month for parties, everyone's in holiday mode and looking to celebrate. (Spoiler alert; children's parties aren't really the kind of partying people are looking to do.)

Nonetheless, I went on my merry, Christmas-loving way, wistfully contemplating naming my children Holly, Noelle, Angel or Gabriel (and can we all take a moment to thank little baby Jesus that my husband vetoed that idea).

But I've learned a lot about so-called 'Christmas birthdays' since my twins were born on December 30th – and to a lesser extent, our late-November baby. Here are a few take-away points to remember ...

1. Don't be a jerk

This is probably a safe stance to take for most things in life, but specifically relating to the topic at hand: don't be a jerk and do combination Christmas/birthday gifts. It's basically the equivalent of saying "Remember that gift I got you back in June? Yep, that was also your Christmas present! Surprise! You. Are. Welcome."

Birthmas presents suck. So for my kids, I try to separate the two events. For every other non-December child, a birthday is treated as a separate celebration, so it shouldn't be any different.


2. On that note, don't use Christmas wrapping for birthday presents

Even if this means wrapping your child's birthday gifts in tea towels, tissues or old Better Homes and Gardens recipes. It costs literally $2 to buy wrapping paper with balloons on it! You can do this!

Except I can't.

So if you are one of the 4.7 people (who aren't one of my children) I buy a Christmas gift for, and your wrapping paper is plain silver with a stripe, now you know why. I can't Christmas because birthday.

3. Still on presents: regifting, the literal gift that keeps on giving

We've all done it. If you're like me, you may even have regifted a gift to the person who regifted it to you in the first place.

For a child with a post-Christmas birthday who is not your child, this can be all kinds of awesome. If your own kid gets something they (you) don't want for Christmas you can pass it on to some other unsuspecting kid who has a birthday three days later.

4. Decorations make a difference

Depending on whether your child's birthday is pre- or post-Christmas, think about not putting Christmas decorations up, or taking them down before, aforementioned birthday occurs.

This works particularly well for people with a child born before Christmas because you can avoid adorning your house for longer. If you have a two-year-old this will be particularly easy because they will take the decorations off the Christmas tree immediately after you've put them on anyway.

As good as this is in theory, I'm waaaaay too lazy for this foresight, since my kids are born a mere five days after Christmas and generally the tree doesn't come down until July anyway.

5. Don't do the party thing

Along with thinking a child would just have to fit itself around my life instead of me fitting mine around the child, and that I would ever be on time again, pre-parent me thought having a birthday party for my kids would not only be a good idea but that it would be easy – NAY, fun – to organise around Christmas.

In actual fact, it's a minefield of declined RSVPs, hungover last-minute excuses and no shows.

What also hadn't occurred to me is that it's school holidays and people actually go away – or have family functions they want to attend.

And as it so happens, hanging out in 35 degree heat watching children narrowly avoid injury on a bouncy castle and get hopped up on wizz fizz at a kids' birthday party isn't necessarily everybody's idea of New Years Eve fun.

So this year I'm tryig the idea of "We'll have your birthday party in a month instead of New Year's Eve when no one can come" ... with any luck they'll forget altogether and I won't have to do it at all.

We'll see how that goes.

6. And lastly ...

For those whose child shares a birthday with the big J himself, I have some sage advice.

The first time your child flagrantly disregards the saying "This is your last warning", CANCEL CHRISTMAS and just do birthday instead.

This post first appeared on the blog Eenie Meenie Miney Mum. Follow the author on Facebook for more.