Christmas Birthday Present Protocol
First and foremost, whatever you do, do not wrap a birthday gift in Christmas paper. Sure, you already have the rolls of Christmas paper out. Sure, it’s the thought that counts. Sure, it would be easy on you. But please, be good for goodness sake and make the effort to haul out a scrap of birthday paper like you would for someone born during any other time of year. Do you wrap a baby shower gift in Hanukkah paper? Or an Easter gift in Valentine’s Day paper? I didn’t think so.
Then there’s the conundrum of the combination gift. Do you or don’t you? The answer is simple: Whichever the birthday person prefers. Of course, for kids too young to voice an opinion, go with at least a few distinct birthday gifts wrapped in birthday paper. Even for babies. Why? The pictures, of course. You don’t want your kid to be flipping through the family photo album and not be able to differentiate his or her birthday from the holiday festivities.
As must as Christmas babies want a special day set aside just for them, you may notice that the older they get, the more this whole idea of the Christmas birthday guilt/pity thing starts rolling around in their head and they realize they may be able to leverage something here. That means, sometime around the onset of the teen years, a Christmas baby will actually request a combo gift. Something big. Something super awesome. Get it, if at all within the realm of reason and budget. Oh, and by the way, some people don’t think it’s cute to have a one present presented as two, such as a stereo wrapped in birthday paper and the speakers in Christmas paper.
While some Christmas babies frown on seeing their birthday presents under the Christmas tree, I never minded it—as long as they were wrapped in birthday paper. If you’re not sure what your child or Christmas birthday friend or family member would prefer, just ask. I liked being able to open a few presents (but not the big-ticket item) at a family dinner a few days before Christmas. Now I also open a birthday present on Christmas Eve, but just because I’m impatient. Some families open presents on Christmas Eve anyway, which works out well for an attention-hungry kid with a Dec. 25 birthday. No matter what, there really should be a time set aside for opening birthday gifts.
Finally, there remains the fact that in many cases a kid with a Christmas birthday gets comparatively fewer birthday gifts than siblings or others born during other times of the year. Sure, money’s tight during the holidays. Sure, it’s important to instill whatever value is the opposite of greed in your children. But please, parents, for the sake of equity and to avoid lifelong resentment and therapy bills, plan ahead and budget for an equitable birthday for your Christmas baby.
Oh, and guess what? Courtesy works both ways. If someone gives you/ your child both a birthday and a Christmas gift, the giver deserves two separate thank-you notes.