Yesterday we celebrated my niece Iris' 5th birthday with a Halloween themed party for her school class (as can seen above). Filled with ghosts and ghouls, skeletons and Boogey men, it was a spooktacular celebration filled with music games and party food - so far so good!
But during our wonderful half term holiday last week, Iris confided - "I do love Halloween but I don't want my birthday to be Halloween every year." It got me thinking about all the different holidays and celebrations out there, waiting to pounce upon your child's birthday and overshadow the main event.
Whether it be Halloween or fireworks night, Christmas or Easter, it's hard to carve out a celebration which stands up on its own merit, away from other holiday hype and paraphernalia.
With Christmas coming up, my heart always goes out to all the children who get lumbered with have a birthday over the Christmas break. Anywhere between Christmas Eve and New Year's day must be the absolute pits for a birthday as a child or adult (although the latter, of course, depends on how much you enjoy celebrating your birthday as the year's progress.
If you're a parent in this predicament, we've come up with some simple but effective ways to help your little one feel that their birthday is being celebrated for what it is, and not as part of a bigger, more dominant holiday. If you've got any tips please let us know by commenting below.
1. Save the bigger presents for their birthday rather than the holiday. Although especially hard at Christmas, it allows your child to feel that their birthday is the most important event and not being overshadowed.
2. Don't use holiday themed wrapping for birthday presents. It's a simple thing but it shows you've gone to the extra effort and they haven't been and afterthought in the planning. Stay away from bunnies and chicks at Easter, spiders and pumpkins at Halloween and santas and snowflakes at Christmas.
3. Create a special tradition which is centred around your child that can be fit into the day. How about letting your child pick their favourite cake for the desert rather than the traditional holiday themed puds, or letting them decorate the tree with their choice of birthday streamers.
4. Keep one room in the house completely free of holiday decorations so this can be completely designed around your child and their birthday.
5. Finally, why not get your child to pick another date in the year to celebrate their birthday? They could change this every year and is a fun thing for them to think about and organise. Perhaps they want to have a summer party instead or a trip out which might not be appropraite to the time of year of their original birthday. This also gives them the chance to make a choice completely for themselves which is special in it's own right.