When Your Child’s Birthday is on a Holiday

I am sure you all remember having a childhood friend whose birthday fell on a major holiday. The upside is that it was easy to remember what day their birthday was! The downside was that perhaps their birthday got less attention because it was on a holiday.

My son’s birthday, December 5, happens to fall on Sinterklass, or Saint Nicolas Day. We live in the Netherlands, so this is the equivalent of having your birthday fall on Christmas Day in the States. It was hard enough having his birthday in the same month as Christmas, but now it’s on the very same day as a major holiday.

Here are a few things we plan to do to keep his birthday a special day even though it is shared with a major holiday.

1. Celebrate the birthday on a different day. Generally a birthday party occurs around the time of one’s birthday but rarely (due to scheduling and/or other logistics) on one’s actual birthday. In other words, it’s common to celebrate a birthday on a different day than one’s actual date of birth.20141126_202313

2. Give separate gifts. We have a birthday gift planned and a Sinterklass gift planned. One will be an obvious birthday present, wrapped in distinctively festive birthday paper while the other will be an obvious Sinterklass present wrapped in distinctive Sinterklass paper. Young children are quite concrete, so keeping the gifts separate will help them feel like that they got to enjoy celebrating both their birthday and the holiday.

3. Do at least one special “birthday thing” on the actual birthday. Even if a majority of the day will be filled with holiday-related events, doing just one special birthday activity will honor the day as your child’s day of birth. It could be making a special breakfast or going out for an ice cream cone. I plan to take my son on a lunch date for his birthday.

4. Tell his/her birth story. I have a tradition of telling my children their birth story on their birthdays. Again, this helps recognize and honor their special day.

What are some things you have done to celebrate your child’s birthday that falls on or during the holiday season?

Sarah Johnson is a crunchy mama to four boys. Her family feels blessed to currently live abroad in the Netherlands and enjoy exploring all it has to offer. 

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