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How to survive when birthdays and holidays collide


By Tiffany Haywood

In a family where four of our six children have birthdays in the middle of the busiest holiday seasons of the year, survival is key. Here a few tips I’ve learned to keep my holiday cheer intact when birthdays and holidays collide.

Be Flexible

Tip: Be willing to move party dates around. Scheduling birthday fun before or after a holiday will take the pressure off yourself and your guests.

A holiday is a holiday. A birthday is a birthday. Forcing one day to work for two different celebrations seems like the easiest option but it isn’t always best.

The day I found out my oldest son’s birthday would be two days before Thanksgiving was the day I realized I would need to get creative to make sure his special day stayed special regardless of where it landed on the calendar.

The first lesson in surviving a birthday-holiday collision came on his first birthday. The party date landed right in the middle of everyone’s preparations and plans for Thanksgiving. It was a disaster!

Rather than insisting his birthday celebration be on his birthday I had to change the date around. Depending on when the actual birthday lands in relation to a holiday I now schedule the party before or after. I learned to be flexible.

Plan Ahead

Tip: A rule of thumb is to give yourself at least two months to pick your theme, place and date.

Birthday + Holiday + Last Minute = Madness! Timing is truly everything when it comes to surviving birthdays during the holidays. Yet we all know kids don’t always work on time schedules. I always start by asking my children what they want to do for their birthday months before I need to start planning.

This extra time gives you room to schedule more than just one way to celebrate. I can schedule an entire weekend with time for family and friends simply by knowing what we want to do and where. It also allows me to schedule around any holiday events that may pop up.

Keep it Simple

Tip: Keep things simple. Look for local businesses, venues, and events that focus on your child’s interests and possible birthday themes.

I know, I know. We all love to go above and beyond when it comes to planning our kids’ birthday parties. We want all the amazing themes and details we can find. Yet when it comes to birthdays during the holidays sometimes you need to remind yourself to keep it simple.

The downside to planning an over-the-top birthday during the holidays is making more work for yourself and your guests. You don’t want to them to see a theme and decide not to attend.

You can take the pressure off by keeping things simple for both you and your guest so your holiday birthday party becomes the place to be.

It can be hard to find new and fun ways to celebrate as a family, especially during the holidays, but taking the time to plan ahead can make a huge difference. Planning includes looking for places, venues and events in your community.

Here in Fayetteville, we have so many amazing things to do, places to see and foods to eat for everyone and every personality you can imagine. It’s really easy to find something for everyone thanks to all the small businesses, restaurants, events and venues here in Cumberland County.

Throwing a party for a gamer? Check out your local gamer clubs to see if they host parties. Many offer multiple games and systems kids can play throughout the party leaving happy gamers and parents all around.

Does your budding artist want a party designed to spark their creativity? Look into your local pottery or paint and design shops to see what their party packages include. Your child can have all the fun painting and crafting and you get to skip the mess.

Learning about the city you live in can help you find the fun that fits your child and your family best.

Make Things Easy

Tip: Offer guests gift ideas/options on the invitation.

During the holidays, people are already shopping for gifts so it can be frustrating trying to think up one more gift idea for a birthday.

One way I help guests is by listing a few gift suggestions or ideas on my invitations. I normally offer no more than three suggestions, giving them room to give from the heart without the pressure of trying to figure out what to give.

Every Moment Matters

The key to surviving as a Mom with children whose birthdays land in the middle of the busiest holiday seasons is not to sacrifice their special days for the sake of a holiday.

I want them to understand their birthday is just as important to us as the holiday it’s near. Pulling that off isn’t always easy but it is possible.

My biggest tip for survival when birthdays and holidays collide is to remember the most important gift you can ever give is being present in the moment. Make this year’s celebrations about the moments and your survival is guaranteed!

Tiffany Haywood lives in Fayetteville with her family and authors a lifestyle blog called TheMrsTee.com.