By Jenna Morton
Countdown: Before you pull out the Advent calendar, craft a simple birthday cake out of construction paper. Make enough 'candles' to place one on the cake each day until the party. (Best used if the birthday is before the 24th, of course.)
Decorating: It might not be practical to keep the tree and other traditional decorations out of sight until the birthday (or to take them down in time), but try to have at least one room that's Christmas-free. You can also surprise the birthday boy or girl by decorating the doorway to their room the night before; they'll wake up knowing you're going to focus on their birthday, even if it's Christmas Day.
If you have an Elf, be sure they remember the day, too!
(photo via Flickr)
Presents: Make sure there are birthday presents, wrapped in birthday paper. It might seem like a no-brainer, but wait until you're rushing at the last moment and find yourself checking the reverse side of all the Christmas wrap to find something you can decorate with balloons.
Food: What's a better way to let your kid know you care than by letting them eat KD and hot dogs on Christmas Eve? Whatever the date, let them choose the menu for at least one meal that day.
The Party: If your child's birthday falls right in the midst of all the holiday hoopla, you likely pick a different date to celebrate, perhaps the weekend before or even after the New Year. Why not consider celebrating on their half-birthday? Have a big bash on June 25th, rather than trying to cram a party in the weekend before Christmas. You can even play up the Christmas theme and bring a touch of winter to the party – hang paper snowflakes, use green frosting to turn ice cream cones into trees to decorate, play pin-the-nose-on-the-reindeer, and even have Santa make a guest appearance on his summer holiday. (A half-birthday party also helps with the gift-buying fatigue and spending-pinch you and your guests are likely feeling in December!)
(photo and cake by Salt Cake City)
If you are holding a party on a weekend before Christmas, you could make some solid Mom friends by setting up a spot in your house as a wrapping station. Invite parents to stay for the party, but encourage them to use the time their kid will be busy playing as a chance to get some Christmas to-dos checked off their list.
Chrismukkah it: Why can't all the special days just morph into something new and quirky? Create your own holiday! My brother, whose birthday falls one week before December 25th, likes to refer to that stretch of time as Svenmas (he also renamed himself Sven). There's a feast, presents, and much joking. (It also makes it easier to break the two gift rule, but I do tend to make it an effort worthy of two gifts.)