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December Birthday Ideas – Do’s and Don’ts of Celebrating a Birthday During Christmas

Allie's birthday is December 28, three days after Christmas. The poor girl has a birthday between Christmas and New Year's. Talk about rotten luck.

I remember that December 24 and 25 and 26 and 27 and 28 in 2010, and I remember how long the days were and how much I hated being on bedrest and how uncomfortable I was. I was so ready to have the baby out and be done with pregnancy bedrest.

Even though she was a couple of weeks early (like four), she was born because my blood pressure was so high. And she lost the birthday lottery. 

Although in truth, I'm not sure that a late January birthday is all that much better than a late December one, but at least there's no Christmas in January.

So the real reason for my post today is not to discuss my pregnancy but rather to share what you should and shouldn't do for December birthdays. 

Not that I am an expert being that my birthday is in July (summer = best time for birthdays), but my daughter and my husband both have birthdays the week of Christmas (Joe is December 23), so I know what I'm talking about here.

Do's and Don't's of December Birthdays

  1. DO separate the birthday from Christmas as much as possible. This means an honest to goodness birthday cake, presents that are wrapped in birthday paper, birthday decorations, and birthday traditions.
  2. DO go for an experience instead of a birthday party. People are partied out when it comes to the Christmas season, and I have found that not too many people come to birthday parties during that time. More on parties later. What we have done several years in a row is to do a family experience with the birthday girl at the front and center. One year, we went to the Great Wolf Lodge which is amazing but a bit pricey. This year, we're going to spend the night at the Hershey Lodge which will give us two whole days in their Water Works fun zone.
  3. DO give an experiential gift instead of more toy clutter. Toys are nice, but after getting Christmas loot, they get lost in the crowd. Some popular gifts here have been:
    • A date with Mom (one on one time) at the special movie theater with recliners
    • A zoo or museum membership that will allow you to visit free all year long – but it has to come with a special date to go with Mom or Dad (or both) and just the birthday kid
  4. DO take her to the toy store. Your sweet one may have gotten loads of Christmas presents, but she might like to be in control, too. Give her a gift card to the toy store with a coupon for a special date with Mom or Dad. Go out for hot cocoa or ice cream and make a special trip of it. Allie has been asking to get to go to Walmart and pick out her own special toy for months. That's all she wants for her birthday.
  5. DO turn the tree into a birthday extravaganza. Cover it with streamers and balloons and the kind of bows that you put on birthday packages (NOT Christmas bows!). The idea is to stop having Christmas for one day and make it all about a special birthday.

    I couldn't find the source for this image, so if it is yours please email me for credit.
  6. DO preserve your family's birthday traditions. In our family, we get a birthday donut. Your family is probably different, but do your birthday thing even though the big day is close to Christmas. It will be inconvenient, but isn't it always inconvenient? Your little people are important enough for us to be inconvenienced now and then.
  7. DO remind your friends and family to follow your lead. This means no combined birthday/Christmas presents, no Christmas wrapping paper, and only birthday-specific cards. If presents come in wrapped up in Christmas paper, unwrap and rewrap them. It will make a difference to your birthday girl, I promise.
  8. DO throw a summer-themed party like a picnic in the living room or a luau. Who cares that it's snowing? A summery theme will make the day stand out significantly from the Christmas season. Oriental Trading sells summer-themed party supplies all year round, so check them out for the paper products and favors and such.
  9. OR DO wait a few months and throw a half birthday party instead. The grandparents may still want to give their birthday gifts in December – and that's okay – but help your sweet one to focus on a half birthday instead of the real thing. Plan the party for May or June when people are generally at home and gifts are few and far between. For us, Grace's birthday is June 2, so I am going to steer Allie into a birthday either in the spring or the late summer.
  10. DO make a birthday sign or banner for their bedroom door. Search on Pinterest for birthday decorations, and you'll find thousands of ideas. I've never done this because Allie sometimes wakes up during the night and moves over to my room.
  11. DON'T forget to consult your birthday girl (or boy). Maybe she loves that her birthday is at Christmastime, and she's looking forward to a hot cocoa bar and decorating gingerbread houses. 
  12. DON'T make a big deal out of the time frame. I personally hate that Allie's birthday is in December. I hate that all of her presents come at the same time and I hate that she can't be satisfied with just her Christmas loot because she's always waiting for what's coming up.

But here's the thing.

She doesn't know any different, and she's perfectly okay with her December birthday. 

I am going to push this year for a half birthday party, just to spread out Allie's gift receiving, but I tried it when she was a toddler and it didn't work out too well. 

The bottom line is that what makes a birthday special isn't really the shape of the cake or the wrapping on the gift. It's a loving family who makes the birthday kid feel valued and important – and you can easily do that using this list even if you skip the party all together.

I asked Joe once whether he felt cheated by having a birthday two days before Christmas. “No,” he said. “My mom always made a big deal out of my birthday, and I knew it was special. It didn't matter when it happened.”

That's success.

December birthday party ideas - It's so easy for people to lose December birthdays in all the celebrations and parties, but it is important to celebrate the birthday kid! I'm going to do #9 for sure!

© 2016 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

11 thoughts on “December Birthday Ideas – Do’s and Don’ts of Celebrating a Birthday During Christmas”

  1. My son’s birthday is on the 29th and it relate SO MUCH! I always try to do something special for him. I’m going to try to make a priority every year for him. I love this article, it’s so perfect.

    Thank you!

  2. Interesting that post-December 25 babies wait for the upcoming gifts. It’s great that they aren’t given combined gifts. It save people so much time and money to give one card and one gift wrapped in Holiday paper. One sock for Christmas and one for birthday is a classic. I’m a December 24 baby. Please know that the experience gift is a good idea, but still a consolation prize for the parties they will rarely if ever have. Of course, her friends won’t come over if you try for a party, but will expect gifts at their own parties. It also reinforces the idea that her birthday is different from everybody else’s–and she, uniquely, gets nothing to show for it. Half-birthdays? Not serious; try that in a restaurant some time.

    • Well, actually, we did a half birthday party for Allie this year. It was a great success. Her friends all came. We also went out to a restaurant and told them that we were celebrating her birthday, and they sang and made a fuss. She said it was the best birthday ever.

        • My birthday is on December 25th and I have milked half birthdays for all they’re worth! I love celebrating my half birthday! Its not the same as a birthday party on the same day, but it’s special and quirky and totally up to me when exactly I do it and – outside in nice weather! (Currently 27 years old)

  3. My sons is on the 24th….and while he doesn’t seem to mind the date he doesn’t understand why he can’t have an actual party on his birthday. I love the birthday tree idea. I am going to do that this year. I always try to make a point of Christmas eve being his day. Thanks for the ideas.

  4. This is a great article. My son’s birthday is Dec. 17th. We always celebrate his birthday with mom, dad, and sisters on the day but save a fun filled family party for the summer. He loves having “two” birthdays along with 2 cakes every year. We usually have a birthday cookie or cupcakes in Dec. and let him pick a bakery cake for his summer party. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents don’t always agree with holding their gifts until summertime but most have come around over the last 8 years!

  5. As one who has a son with a December 16 birthday, these are great tips. My son is 21 now and it’s not as big a deal to him, but in all his younger years, we made a concerted effort to not even start decorating until after his birthday. My own birthday is December 22 and I always felt cheated out of the celebration so I wanted to make sure he never felt the same. I think it gets hard when you try to have other people follow your lead, but at least his immediate family made the effort.

  6. December 13th baby here, and while we’re at it, December 14th birthday as well (my brother was born 3 years and one day after I was). Needless to say, I have never had a singular birthday to myself until I turned 21. It was either lumped in with Christmas (my dad was famous for that one) or me and my brother had one big day to celebrate both days. I firmly ascribe to the thought that December babies should get separate days from Christmas for their birthdays, and me and my husband have made it a sort of tradition to go out to a movie and lunch/dinner on my birthday. He didn’t realize how big of a deal it was that I wanted a birthday separate from Christmas until we dated, and I guess it made my family realize that I’d rather not be the afterthought during the holiday season. If any of my children had gotten the curse of the December birthday, I would have made sure that they got their own special day as well. Thankfully, I managed to have all three in the spring/summer, so they got lucky there. I’d never wish my experiences with my birthdays on anyone.

  7. Thank You so much for the great ideas. Both of my kids are December baby’s (14th and 16th, 5 years and two days apart). I try to make their birthdays as fun and memorable as possible. They get to pick there theme and each of them gets a cake to there liking. We will have to try a half birthday this year. I know they would love that!

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