First Christmas and First Birthdays – All in 2.5 Weeks

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I was supposed to post on Christmas Day, but I got busy with other things and forgot to get my post ready.  So Merry belated Christmas everyone!

When I found I was pregnant last year.  I did the math to see when the baby was due. I estimated my due date in the last week of January.  I was relieved.  When I was younger, I knew too many kids who complained their birthdays were so close to Christmas that people just lumped their birthdays and Christmas together.  As a parent, I could also imagine the challenge of paying for Christmas and birthday gifts at the same time and trying to maintain calm with all the excitement of two celebrations so close together.

When we found out we were having twins, our doctor said, “anytime after 32 weeks they could arrive.”  So, I did the math again.  32 weeks was the last week of November.  So, we could expect babies anytime in December or January.  I hoped the babies would arrive in January because I knew that the longer I carried them the better. But, I realized early on this in pregnancy, that everything wasn’t going to go exactly as I planned.

As my pregnancy progressed, my doctor said he thought we should be prepared for a cesarean delivery at about 36 weeks. So, I got out my calendar and I did the math again. That would be the week between Christmas and New Year’s. While there is a certain novelty to having a Christmas baby or two, or a New Year’s baby or two, or one baby born in 2008 and one in 2009, I selfishly didn’t really want to spend my holidays in labour, or in the hospital, or in the NICU with premie babies.

I held my breath, but there were no Christmas babies and no New Year’s babies. It turned out that the girls weren’t in any hurry to arrive. At almost 38 weeks, I had my scheduled cesarean delivery.

So, this was our girls’ first Christmas.  They are 11.5 months old.  They were old enough to realize something was going on.  They enjoyed looking at playing with the decorations on the tree.  They played with tried to eat the bows and wrapping paper.  They put their toys anything they could reach in to gift bags and took them out again, over and over again.

As I’m putting away the toys and books they got for Christmas, and washing the new outfits they got as gifts, I’m thinking we’ll be doing this all again in less than 2 weeks for their birthdays.

My concerns about having Christmas and birthdays so close together remain. But I also have some new concerns. The girls have lots of new toys and clothes for age/size 12 months. They don’t need anymore outfits this size or toys for this developmental stage.  I’ve asked their grandparents, who always buy their grandchildren each a new outfit for Christmas and their birthdays, to buy clothing in the next size up. Hopefully they will get gifts that they won’t outgrow too quickly or overlook with all the excitement.

I’m also concerned that with their birthdays being so close to Christmas, and their being twins, it will be even harder to ensure they both feel recognized as being special and individual children.

Does anyone else have birthdays and Christmas this close together? How do you manage Christmas and birthdays and other celebrations in your families? How to make sure birthdays are special when they are shared?

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17 thoughts on “First Christmas and First Birthdays – All in 2.5 Weeks”

  1. I have two set of twins–the older were born in the first week of the December and the younger were born three years and 10 days later. Our kids are still young (4 and 1), but we are going to try celebrating the elder birthday before Thanksgiving and the younger birthday after New Years. On their actual birthdays, we’ll just do a small family dinner with cupcakes. It is what it is and they will sometimes feel a birthday around the holidays is unfair. Mine is in the first days of January, so I know the pain. We all do the best we can.

  2. My son will be 1 in January. I felt kind of bad but we didn’t get him anything for Christmas, knowing that his grandparents would spoil him and his birthday is coming up. He doesn’t really need any more toys but we will probablyget him something. I don’t see this scenario playing out as he gets older though, and wants both Christmas AND birthday toys!
    .-= Susanne´s last blog ..We wish you a Merry Christmas! =-.

  3. My girls were born on January 2. A full five weeks earlier than that perfect day in February. I had calculated so perfectly when the perfect time to be pregnant would be. I did want to be huge in the sumer. I hate the heat and I didn’t want them to be born around the holidays for fear of constantly getting the shaft. Then, we were surprised to find out we were having twins at 17 weeks. When the doc told me to expect them early January/late December, I didn’t even think about the holidays. All I could think was making it to a healthy delivery!

    As the holidays approached this year, I began thinking about how the girls really will get the shaft. We ended up over doing Christmas and probably the birthday gift, too. It is a great idea to buy clothes and toys that the girls will grow into because we aren’t fortunate to have the spacing of a few months to get something different. My birthday is in November and I always felt like I got the short end of the deal because I didn’t get new stuff half way through the year like my older sister!

    But I like to also be thankful for the good things this holiday/birthday season. We are a military family and it is great to have Dad around for all the first big holidays! I know that it won’t always be like this!

  4. My niece and nephew both have birthdays in the first week of January. This year my sister in law had Christmas for them as normal, a small party with just family on their birthday and then had a big 1/2 birthday party for them in July. Because they are young and the only niece and nephew it is fun for all. A backyard BBQ is not as expensive as a family party around the holidays and they often get more clothes that makes mom happy. Maybe this idea could work for you!

  5. I don’t have this issue with my twins, but I myself have a December bday — 10 days before Christmas. As a kid, it really didn’t bother me much at all! If I recall we we often saved my birthday party until we were on winter vacation, and my bdays were sometimes holiday themed by choice (Christmas cookie decorating, ice skating, etc were frequent choices). I think the festivity of the season only added to the fun, for me personally.

    As an adult and parent, though, I see the problems with gifting. Too many presents close together (hard on the wallet as well as the toybox), and then nothing for a whole year. I love the idea of celebrating half-birthdays in the summer — though its really hard to actually commit to that and have friends and family play along!
    .-= Kristin Hutchinson´s last blog ..Crafty Christmas Project: Handmade Wooden People =-.

  6. I was due on Feb. 16. I was all, yeah a Valentine’s baby. They were born on Jan. 7. I agree that it is hard to make a birthday special when you are just catching your breath from Christmas. Here is what I do:

    –Put away the Christmas decorations as quickly as possible. We just did our yesterday. The house now looks normal and that puts me more in the mood of being excited about the birthday party.
    –I think it is true that we don’t give huge gifts for their birthday because they have gotten SO much for Christmas….they are the only grandchildren on both sides if that gives you any idea of the amount of gifts. But we still make the day very special.
    –I do a special breakfast (last year was doughnuts with candles to sing).
    –This year we will go eat lunch with them at school (they are in pre-K) and take cupcakes to share with all kids in both classes.
    –Then the party is the Saturday after. I always try and stretch that so it feels farther away from Christmas. I struggle with gifts from friends. I don’t want parents to feel like they have to give two gifts…that can be really expensive after Christmas. So this year we are having everyone bring a wrapped book to do a book exchange. Then there will be a present opening time but everyone will get something and we won’t end up with a bunch of toys we don’t need.
    –My husband and I, along with the granparents, will give some gifts to them too on their actual birthday. We’ll do a special dinner.

    I am a planner by nature. As a former school teacher, one thing I wanted to avoid was having a child in the fall and having to deal with when to send them to school. I never took the whole twin/early delivery thing into account since I surely didn’t plan on having twins.

    As far as I can tell, they have always enjoyed their birthdays (they’ll be five this year) and have pretty quickly moved past Christmas by the time we arrive at Jan. 7.

  7. Our older son now 6 has b-day in the begining of Dec. and instead of doing Christmas we do Channukah. So instead of 1 day we have 8! Since we have twins + 1 it adds up to a lot of stuff! On top of his b-day gifts. So do we give him gifts?! No way! Instead we are the ones who throw the birthday party. Our family lives on the other side of the globe so we make a party when my in-laws visit in early Nov. which they do annually to celebrate my m-i-l and son’s b-day and we also make sure we have a party with his friends. Some times we will go in with a grandparent on something big or we will get him something small that he can use at school. But we try to limit what we get him since he is in stuff overload already! Our twins have a May birthday and are now 3.5 but we follow the same policy since my in-laws come in May too and everyone is quite happy with it so far.

  8. My girls were due Feb. 14th and I ended up in the hospital the week before Christmas. They had to be delivered 8 weeks early on December 23. We all spent their first Christmas in the hospital.
    Luckily I had a whole year to prepare everyone for the fact that combining Christmas and their birthday was just not acceptable. It is now a standing rule that the birthday celebration is the weekend before Christmas and there is NO Christmas wrapping paper allowed!

  9. I have 23 month old twin boys who will be turning 2 on January 29th.

    As this will only be the boys’ 2nd birthday I haven’t had too much experience with it but so far it’s kind of a pain in terms of timing.

    My birthday is in June and I loved having my big celebrations spread out like that. I feel bad that the boys’ now have everyting all at once (it seems) and then nothing for the rest of the year.

    The way I have done it this year and last is to buy a bunch of gifts for them and then divide up what is for Christmas and what is for birthday.
    It’s not ideal but it’s what has worked so far.

    This past summer I did regret that there wasn’t a birthday to celebrate so that the boys could get some fun summer toys etc. I guess we will just be buying that stuff as it’s needed, which is kind of a pain but it is what it is .

    So far it’s not great but I’m hoping it will become more “normal” as time goes on and we will all just accept it.

    Not much else we can do!

    Carrie

  10. My twins turned one on December 24. This was a huge Christmas at our house. They were born at 35 weeks during a wicked snow storm last year. As a result, my three year old spent Christmas at my friend’s house, my husband spent Christmas curled up on a tiny plastic chair, and I spent Christmas in a drugged haze (c-section), incredibly grateful for two healthy babies and the pain pump. So….

    We had a big birthday party with family on December 24. Elmo decorations, pink and blue birthday cakes, etc. Santa came on the 25th. I think when they get older, I will dedicate one room in the house to birthday decorations only. This year, we were all grateful just to be together. Ditto on the no Christmas wrapping paper!

  11. In our immediate family, we have birthdays to celebrate Dec 2, 16, 17, 26, & 30. One is a child and the rest are adults. None of the adults gets a celebration(anymore) and the child always gets a really low key event. The ones with the birthdays before Christmas all report that they almost always got a gift for their birthday and a separate gift for Christmas. The two after Christmas say they almost always got a larger gift for Christmas and only one gift for both occasions.

    I have to admit, that most years, I was one of the people purchasing a more expensive gift for my brother (our Dec 30th b-day) and calling it good for his birthday.

    My mother, on the other hand, made such a big deal of my brother’s birthday each year, that his 4 sister’s, as adults in their 40’s, still resent it. She incorporated his birthday celebration with a New Year’s Eve celebration. He didn’t receive many gifts … but he always had a blow out of some kind that lasted in to the wee morning hours … one year it was a New Year’s Eve cruise, another year it was a dinner theater event followed by breakfast, another year it was all day and night at Disneyland for their New Year Celebration … etc.

    For the record, my brother loved doing this in place of getting gifts …

    And for the record … as a person who has to come up with all these extra gifts at this particular time of year, every year, I’m not so fond of the Dec. birthdays either.
    .-= M´s last blog ..The Things That Didn’t Get Done =-.

  12. My twin boys were born on my birthday 12/17. So I have tried to make the difference for them since I know how it feels to have a birthday so close to christmas. Many years I got birthday/xmas presents and was quite resentful as a kid. I understand it now. They are only 2 now so it really hasn’t mattered to them. In the future I have pondered the 1/2 birthday idea or waiting until the middle of Jan. I would love more ideas.

  13. My husband’s aunt’s triplets AND singleton all have birthdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They get parties the weekend of their birthday, but I have to admit that everything does get lumped together with general holiday jollity. Their parents get them separate gifts, but I think most of the extended family gets them a single gift. Now that they’re teenagers, I don’t think it’s as big of a deal, since they’d rather celebrate their birthdays with their friends than us anyway. In general, extended family gives Christmas gifts, but not birthday gifts, and that goes for the kids whose birthdays are on opposite ends of the year from the holidays too. My mother-in-law, their aunt, always makes a point of getting them un-Christmas-y birthday gifts.

    One upside to having holiday birthdays is that there’s more family around to celebrate with them in person. In fact, this year, the singleton, turning 16, put off his birthday celebration until the night before the extended family Christmas celebration so that more of us would be present. We went straight from his party to the town’s Christmas parade.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..2009: Family =-.

  14. My girls were born in May, but my birthday is January 2nd. I was a “surprise” baby and came along 13 years after my brother and three sisters. I only remember having a couple of birthday parties ever, and often was just taken shopping on New Year’s Day (this was the 70s, and there were no good stores open on that day back then!) since my parents wrapped up all my presents for Christmas and forgot to hold any out for my birthday! We have a ton of family birthdays in December, including Christmas Eve, but it seems like having a birthday the week after Christmas might be the worst of all 😉 As an adult, I find that the 2nd is too soon after New Year’s for anyone to want to come to a party or go to dinner, and as a child, it was usually the day we headed back to school. I would think a birthday at least two weeks after Christmas would be better! But as long as you make an effort to recognize their birthday as a separate event, and then I guess you have the whole issue of celebrating them as individuals (why are twins so much more complicated?!), then you’ll be okay.

    I remember one year, my (then) husband and I received ONE gift for my birthday, his birthday (Christmas Day), and Christmas!

    Good luck :)
    .-= Nolan´s last blog ..crawling, talking, waving, eating =-.

  15. I feel so overwhelmed by busy time at work this time of year, Thanksgiving, girl’s birthday, Christmas, and we always go on vacation the last 2 weeks of the year.

    We celebrate birthday and half-birthday in June. Last year, when the girls turned 2.5, we invited another set of twins that share a December birthday to celebrate with us. It was fun for us all, as we all understood the significance of half-birthday.

    I hope to continue this tradition.

  16. My mom and her brother have their birthday January 3, and my husband’s birthday is the same day. It stinks! I know my mom and her brother disliked the shared birthday celebrations (they aren’t twins, just three years apart) and I feel bad now that celebrating with my mom always takes 2nd place to celebrating with my husband. And last year, my dad actually forgot my mom’s birthday (not like him at all, and devastating to her after 40 years of marriage)!

    My mom says she celebrates the whole month of January. I think the idea of pushing the birthday party to the following weekend (or making it further from the holidays) is a good one.
    .-= Jen from Diagnosis: Urine´s last blog ..this cat has made a pussy of me =-.

  17. My twins are turning 1 January 23rd. I feel really bad that we are asking people to come to a party just a month after Christmas and even though we don’t expect gifts, we just want to celebrate our twins 1st birthday with family and friends, I don’t want people to feel like they have to give anything. Also we have to plan a party for a decent number of people only 1 month after Christmas. Then 1 1/2 months later, my son will turn 2. Since it is his 2nd birthday we won’t be doing something as large, but it is tough to have birthdays so close to the holiday and each other.
    .-= Amy´s last blog .. =-.

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