When Birthday is also a Holiday

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Celebrating a Christmas birthday

Nov 2010

My little girl was born on Xmas day '08 and we still havent decided how best to celebrate her birthday. For her 1st birthday we had friends over for Xmas day and didnt get chance to fish her birthday cake out of the fridge before she went to bed. We have had a lot of suggestions ranging from throwing a 'half' birthday every year in July, or simply throwing her a party several days before or after Xmas day... which seems like an awful lot of presents in a short space of time. Other people have suggested having the first half of the day for Xmas, and the second half for birthday, but that wont work for having school friends over for a party, and leaves the 'presents' problem unsolved. Can anyone suggest a simple solution? I'm fairly disorganised and I'm worried that it we decide on a July solution it wouldnt get off the ground. Erica

My son was born at Thanksgiving so I've struggled with some of the same issues around celebrating. What has worked best for us is to have a birthday party earlier in the month...too close to Thanksgiving and friends are going out of town...a half birthday in July is a good idea conceptually but my son would not really understand that this would mean that around his birthday there would not be a celebration (except perhaps with immediate family)...he wouldn't really remember that the party in July was for him...it would feel more like he wasn't getting a party at all!! So, I think it depends on age and ability to understand the concept...perhaps by middle or high school that might seem cool. Perhaps celebrating sometime after the New Year when people don't have tons of other social engagements, are back in town, and all the holiday gifts are long forgotten? On second thought...it would be hard from my son to wait until after his birthday too...I guess alot depends on how your child would react...while she/he is still so young you can of course do what is most convenient to you as they don't really get when the exact date is Good luck Thanksgiving Mama

It's pretty standard to have a child's ''friends'' party not on the day itself but sometime in the 2 weeks before or after. I think you could have a birthday party on a weekend a week or 2 before (or after) Christmas-- no problem. I've known kids to celebrate as much as a month in either direction, just because of complexities of the family schedule. Maybe Christmas day, you could have a birthday dinner with a cake and singing with just the people who'd regularly be there and have a bigger party with your child's friends (and relatives?) a couple weeks earlier or later. I might leave it up to my child to decide when s/he opens family presents-- on Christmas itself, or at the party. -Happy Celebrating!

Our family has two Christmas season birthdays --my sister on the 26th and my niece (her daughter)on the 27th. We always celebrated the half-birthday June 26th when she was a child, and considered that her birthday. Now as adults, we are frequently together over the Christmas holiday, and can celebrate in person her ''real'' birthday....So do what works for your family--but it can change over the years.... moveable feasts

My son's birthday is 5 days after x-mas. We hold his birthday party mid-December, so his friends won't be likely to be out of town or too preoccupied with the holidays. Then on his actual birthday, his dad and I give him his presents from us, and celebrate as a family. This helps to spread out the gift giving, and gives more of a separation between his birthday and x-mas.

We don't do the 1/2 birthday thing, but when he was younger, I was able to hide some of the gifts he received and dole them out throughout the year (he was too young to remember they were gifts). I can't do that anymore, though. Have a holiday baby

Aside from all the other suggestions, which are excellent, why not just think about when it's less stressful and more convenient for you, and potentially more interesting for your child? How about January? Do a family thing on your own on her actual birthday, if you want, or just change it to January, when all the holiday frenzy is done. Or I guess you can convert to Islam or Judaism, then it's really no issue. (kidding) janet

My daughter was also born on Christmas day and I always wanted her to feel like it was a great day to be born. We celebrate the day as Christmas when the kids first get up with gifts, stockings, etc. We switch to birthday mode for a special breakfast, menu chosen by my daughter, with a gift or two wrapped in birthday paper. Our tradition is to go to a relative's house for dinner and they always make sure there's a birthday cake. When we've had a party to celebrate with her friends, we just schedule it for the first week or two in January when everyone is back in school and that works fine. If there seems to be an overload of gifts, put a few things away and take them out at a later date. A birthday on any day should be fun!

You could do a small family celbration, and then have a party with her friends in January after school starts up again. That way, folks aren't a stressed with ''to do'' lists and have more open schedules. anon

I have an almost-Christmas birthday. I would not pursue the half-birthday thing. Instead, I would plan a real party for her on the weekend before or after Christmas. Most birthday parties aren't on the day itself anyway because they fall on weekdays. Then, on Christmas Day, make some small tradition to honor and mark it. Soon you'll have a toddler, and you'll want to move your dinner time up anyway, and she won't let you forget about dessert. A cake and a birthday song shouldn't be too hard to manage. Or a special birthday breakfast after the stockings with candles in the waffle or whatever? Just something so it's not forgotten, with a real party just for her on a near Saturday or Sunday.... Anon

We have 3 girls whose bdays are within 2 weeks of christmas (apparently I'm quite fertile in early spring;-) We opt'd for a spring bday celebration (around may) when they were young it was called the ''birthday gala'' On their actual birthdays, we celebrated with a special dinner and cake that they picked. Explaining as they got older, maybe 5ish, why we were doing this. As they each got a little older, maybe 10ish, we let them chose. mom of 4

My birthday is December 26 and after many years of celebrating, I'd love to offer up some info to help you. While I think the half-birthday idea is the usual response, in general it doesn't really solve any issues and screams of avoidance (Funnily enough, I married a man whose birthday is July 4 and he loves my birthday). I think it best to focus on how fabulous it is to have a holiday birthday, celebrating your love for your daughter and your shared story of her birth. If you are a religious family, she may grow up to feel that the day of her birth is particularly special.

It will be a given that many friends will be unavailable for celebrating your child's birthday. While this is the sad truth of the birthday, it doesn't have to make for miserable years. Perhaps there is a friend or two who practice (or not) another faith and would be available, or whose family is small and have time to spend with her. Also, as crazy as it may sound, (when she is older) the movie theatre is a wonderful place to visit on Christmas, and could be a special treat for your daughter and a friend. My mom always wrapped presents in paper that was clearly birthday-oriented, and there were never hints of Christmas in my cake. You could take this one step further and decorate her bedroom in full birthday regalia with ribbons and balloons, birthday fairies, butterflies, whatever lighthearted decorations you can make. Some holiday decorations are mildly-themed and could provide additional fun touches without feeling related to Christmas. You might also decorate a tree in your yard with birthday colors, or have a birthday tree in your home. The whole family may want to change clothes to differentiate celebrating Christmas, and the birthday party... photos will show a sense of separation of time for the events. For good humor, take along a birthday hat when getting pictures with Santa. As your daughter grows up, I think it best to be open in your communication with her, validating any of her gripes about timing, but also reassuring her that her birthday is but one day to celebrate how wonderful she is to you.

Your point about quantity of presents isn't lost on me. While I did receive many presents at once, my mom also made a point to provide small gifts throughout the year ''just because'', however I know it was an effort to purchase things that weren't just available during the winter months. Since your daughter is still quite young, you might try to hold back on the gifts and open them over a period of a month or so, in order that she not be overwhelmed. I recall one year when I had post-birthday let-down after opening many presents... my mom resolved this by enlisting my help in gathering up all the gently used toys and books that I no longer played with, and donating them to a children's orphanage. This could even occur before the holiday to make space for new gifts, and I promise you the lesson will resonate for years to come.

Lastly, there will be those inevitable remarks made by unconscious individuals regarding how Christmas birthdays are the worst, but model healthy remarks quickly and positively so that your daughter grows up to appreciate her day. And yes, all of this might make for extra work during December, but at least it isn't twice each year. Happily Born December 26, aka The Day After Christmas

Postponing daughter's December birthday party

Nov 2006

My daughter's birthday comes right after the winter holiday season. Last year, I felt totally overwhelmed by all of the presents that come from 3 sets of grandparents celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah. I am also struggling with a party venue as our house is too tiny to have more than 2 other kids over at a time. My daughter counts at least 5 kids as her best buddies. I am seriously considering having a family b-day celebration in January but postponing her ''friend party'' until the summer, when we would celebrate her ''half b-day'' at a park for free without the threat of rain. I wanted to hear from others who did this with their kids or who had this set-up when they were a kid. Is this a good idea or should I just suck it up and throw a party on her b-day? Anyone have any suggestions about how to celebrate her b-day with her friends in a relatively low- key way without having to rent someplace? Capricorn's Mama

I laughed when I read your post because my daughter's birthday is in July and I was thinking of relocating her friend party to be in the winter as all her friends are always away on vacation during the summer. So another thing to think about. I got all geared up to have a wonderful celebration for her this past summer and then practically nobody came! I would say, suck it up if you possibly can and have the party. My sister whose birthday is Dec 20th still regrets that she never got to have a birthday party. And children get to old for birthday parties before you know it patricia

we had a 7.5 party for a baseball fan who wanted a baseball party BUT was born in the month of January, we had the day of, family only with gifts, we had cupcakes at school and then in july with A's tickets in hand we sent out invites for a 7 and a half party-it was a smashing successno one batted an eye.. birthday fairy

I am still, all these years later, annoyed that my birthday is right after Christmas. Call it Capricorn sensibility, but it means I get fewer presents and I want my fair share of stuff! Also, I have to wait a whole year after xmas to get more presents, when frequently I want something mid-year. YES, have her half party in the summer. Why in the world would you kill yourself having a bday party in December when there are a million other celebrations to have? Sure, have a very low-key get together with family, a small cake and a simple happy birthday song.... so long as you give her the real thing in the summer, when you have the energy for it and everyone can appreciate it more anon

Dear Capricorn's Mama: my daughter will turn 9 two days after Christmas. When she started elementary school, we started celebrating her half-birthday with her friends in June, while having a small family celebration on her actual birthday. She highly recommends having a half-bday party(and so do I), because as she sees it, now she gets two parties! I found it was very chaotic to have a kid party right after Christmas, too many gifts at once, too many thank-you notes to write, can't have an outdoor party, etc. Perhaps when my daughter is a bit older she will choose to dispense with the half-bday party, but right now it works well for us lisa

As someone who has a birthday right after the holiday season (Jan 2) I wanted to lend my experience to the discussion. Growing up, I always felt like I lost out a little on my birthday celebration because of its timing. I remember feeling especially hard done by by what I called the ''combination gift'' - given as a joint Christmas/Birthday present. Deep down, I knew that that single gift could never be as good as the two gifts I would have got if my birthday had been a bit further apart from Christmas! As an adult, of course I can understand the fatigue of celebrating and gift giving that happens around the holidays. But your child will still want their birthday to be a day at which they are at the center, and which is celebrated with as much enthusiasm and joy as if if it happened at any other time of the year. It's not going to seem fair to do it any other way. Mostly, whatever you do, don't diminish the importance of or attention to your child's birthday just because it happens to occur in the midst of a lot of other celebrations. A ''half birthday'' six months later would be a nice idea, but will never seem the same to your child as the celebration that happens on the big day itself. New Years Baby

I was the kid with the December birthday (Dec 29th) and I can tell you from experience that as a young child, I hated if my birthday got combined with the other holidays in any way. I didn't have many birthday parties with friends, but if my mom had offered to throw me a birthday party in the summer on my half birthday, I would have thought it was great for two reasons--one, I had another special day, and two, I might get a few new SUMMER things to play with since birthday and Christmas were pretty much all one thing. Holiday Birthday

I think you're making too big a deal about it. I also don't want to start renting out spaces for my kids.....I just think that's over the top and don't want to play into it. However, I love my kids' birthdays because it is so meaningful to me and them. So I definitely vote for doing it now and getting it over with. Have a 1/2 birthday too if you want, with more kids. But for now, maybe....schedule it for a park anyway and have the back-up plan be your house (there's probably a 50% chance it would be OK.) Or, have a b-day party ''open house'', where people stop by over the course of an afternoon, so they come at different times. Or, clear all your furniture into the garage/one bedroom as best you can for the day, and invite the 5 kids. There must be a way to fit a few extra kids in your house?!? love kids' parties

I can relate! My birthday is December 24, and I'd definately recommend postponing the birthday party to say some ordinary date in mid-late January. My mother always gave me just a small present on my birthday due to all the competition. She then celebrated my birthday with a party on June 24, my half birthday ( which also happened to be her birthday). This was OK except I never got to have a birthday party/ celebration during the school year which I would have preferred as a kid. I would recommend a special though small birthday present on the actual day and the annual social celebration/ party to be mid- late January-- the same date every year. FYI, as an adult, I now like to invite a few dear old friends to have brunch out with me on Christmas Eve morn, and am quite willing/ flexible about celebrating my birthday just about anytime during the year when I feel like it. Good luck Anon

Oh dear. I'm torn over this one. As a mom, I can relate to your feeling overwhelmed about getting a party together for your daughter in the midst of the holidays. However, as a kid whose birthday fell on Dec. 28, and who subsequently got shafted a lot on the birthday party and gift front (''Here's your birthday/Christmas present''), I'd say try to do something for her. It doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe just have her four or five friends over for cake and playtime? I don't think you need to orchestrate anything elaborate, but I wouldn't necessarily put it off until summer. Her birthday is always going to fall around the same time of year, so this issue will keep coming up December baby

My birthday is Dec. 22, and I always loved having it then. The difference in my experience and that of other Caps, I think, is that my mother was born on Christmas Day and never had a single party as a kid. Her first birthday party occurred when she was in her late thirties. She was bound and determined to make my birthday special. She made it an integral part of the holiday season. Every year, we went out to dinner and a show (e.g., Nutcracker, Christmas Carol) to celebrate as a family on my actual birthday. That type of thing was too pricy for us to do regularly so it was quite wonderful. Then, on a weekend night within a week or so of the actual day, I would have a kid party. Sometimes, yes, a few kids would be out of town, but small parties are nice, and I imagine my mother checked with the parents of my best friends when setting the date. I guess it also helped that we weren't exactly running in the trip-to-Aspen crowd. Frequently, a holiday theme would be incorporated but in a way that made me feel special rather than cheated. For example, one year we made peppermint ice cream with candy cane pieces. Sometimes, my mom decorated my cake and/or the table with sleigh and reindeer. That kind of thing. At a certain age, I remember some slumber parties with sleeping bags arrayed around the Christmas tree. Since I always had a separate party and separate presents on my birthday from my family members, I never cared too much if peripheral people did the combo gift thing. Often, those gifts were from people who would not have noted my birthday at all except that they were going to see me because of Christmas. In the end, I think my birthday ended up being a bigger deal than my brother's ordinary Feb. birthday, but oddly enough, he never seemed to mind. I think it became part of the seasonal tradition for him, too. A final benefit was that I didn't feel the same post-birthday letdown as other kids because Christmas was always right around the corner. Needless to say, I'm all for December birthdays -- don't change it! anon

Sorry to jump in late with a suggestion. While this may not help you this year, it may help in years to come. First off, I want you to know that I have only one child which may be why this seems rather ''excessive.''

My daughter's birthday is December 23. We always have her ''friend'' birthday party on the weekend after Thanksgiving. It's a great time. Not too close to Christmas, Hanukah, or other year-end celebrations. We usually have it at a location other than home because our home is very small. For her 5th birthday, we rented our preschool for $100 for 4 hours and brought in all of the party goodies; for her 6th birthday we had a bowling party with a few kids and the 7th birthday party will be at MOCHA.

On her actual birthday, we have a do something as a family, like go to a park, museum, rainforest cafe or other event. She has a birthday cake, opens family presents (in birthday wrapping paper) and we go around the table and mention one or two events, or celebrations we had during the year, Blythe learned how to ride a two wheel bike, she learned how to read, went skiing for the first time, spent time at the animal rescue center, etc.

We have not ''celebrated'' half birthdays, but have let Blythe invite a friend or a few friends to a baseball game or other special event in June.

For what it's worth, I used to think people who had babies in December and January were selfish. I was just happy to have a healthy, great kid. And like many other parenting issues, I've had to readjust my thinking Mom of a December Birthday Daughter

My daughter's birthday is on Christmas day and I've always told her she was the best present ever. When she was a baby, we heard so many negatives (from adults!) about how bad it was to have your birthday any time around the holidays that I've made it my mission to be sure she knows her birthday is special. We temporarily suspend Christmas the morning of to enjoy a birthday breakfast with a menu of her choice and birthday gifts (wrapped in birthday paper, please). She also chooses a special outing (something simple - dinner out or a place to visit, etc.) the week following and we've always had a birthday party but scheduled it some time during January.

We tell her her birthday will always be a holiday and she'll get to celebrate every year surrounded by family. Last year, her older brother said, ''You're so lucky your birthday is on Christmas.'' Mission Accomplished

Daughter's birthday is 3 days after Christmas

October 2003

My daughter turns one year old three days after Christmas. I want to have a party for her to celebrate (you only turn one once, right?), but don't know the best was to handle it given the holidays. We also have about 3 different Christmas celebrations with family members during the same week. I want to make her birthday something unique, but don't want to tax or burden other people. Any ideas from other parents out there who have kids with birthdays during the busy Christmas/Hannakuh/Kwanza season? Sophia

My son was born one week before Christmas and we wanted his first year BD to be really special so we just picked a date in January (around the 3rd week, I think) and had a huge family party at my mom's house. I have a very large extended family (7 aunts and uncles who have kids of their own) so we decided to fly to L.A. and have it in Grandma's back yard. Nothing expensive or fancy just lots of family, lots of good food, and my son got a ton of toys and clothes. It was a very special and memorable event for us and he still enjoys looking at the photos now that he's older (almost 7). So I would suggest having a very small family celebration on the morning of his actual BD (maybe letting him play with his own cupcake and open a special gift that morning or evening) and then have a big celebration at the beginning of Dec. before all the holiday madness starts or in January after it's a little calmer.
Congrats on making it through the first year!

My advice won't solve your upcoming dilemma (your daughter's 1st Birthday) but this seems as if it will be an ongoing problem since the Christmas/Hannakuh/Kwanza season won't change dates nor will your daughter's birthday. I have a younger cousin (about 15 now) who was born on December 22 into a bi-cultural family who celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah. Since the beginning she has celebrated her 1/2 birthday on June 22 with the big party and gifts on that day and a much smaller celebration with close family and a couple of close friends on her actual Birthday. I don't know all the specific since she lives in Seattle but this seems to have worked for her over the long run and in essence she kind of gets two birthdays. She is an only child though, so there are no other sibling birthday^Rs to contend with. I do agree that you may want to mark the first birthday with a big blow out and maybe other parents' suggestions can help. However, remember that it seems that a child's 1st birthday party is more for the parent's benefit since the child has not yet able to form strong attachments with other children and all the adults there who want to hold, cuddle, and interact with the child can be overwhelming leading to a big meltdown. My son also had a nap through 1/2 of his party.

My son's birthday is 12/27. We have celebrated his birthday in mid-January and that worked well for us.

My twins are born 3 days before X-mas. My husband is Jewish. I am Christian. Believe me- the holidays are very busy for us- to the point of being overly stressful. They are turning 4 this year and this time I am having their party on their half birthday in June(our younger son is born at the end of November so we are having HIS first birthday party during the holidays this year because family will be here). What I have heard other parents do is to celebrate their Dec. babies' birthdays a little late- in January. That way, the holiday stress has passed for everyone. Not only is it stressful for the adults, but it is OVERWHELMING for the kids. They get a load of presents 2 or 3 days in a row practically and it is TOOOOOOO much! After this year I plan to have my Novemeber baby's birthday in Novemeber and my twins' birthday either in January, or at their half birthday in June. They don't know the difference and it is easier on everyone.
Birthdayed-out Mama

My daughter's b-day is the 29th of December so I am in the same boat. I have always thrown her big, fun grown-ups and kids and family parties with lots of good food and maybe a pinata or a theme of some sort (more theme stuff now that she is older - she is almost 8). Anyway, people seemed perfectly willing to put aside x-mas for half a day to celebrate with us. I usually postpone her actual party until right after New Years and on her actual b-day give her gifts from us and grandparents. Anyway, it has worked out fine.

the first birthday is so much a landmark and celebration for the parents too; I wonder what type of celebration you would enjoy?; maybe a small group of fam./ friends at home; I'd guess more people will be able to make time to come than you might think; plus think of baby's disposition and whether or not he can handle a lot of people. Take your baby to Tilden Park's Merry Go Round at night, too. Even though it's very much a Christmas-y thing, it is so magical that time of year and it makes a neat birthday treat. My 12/21 baby is turning 2 and I think we might just go there with a friend or 2 for her ''party'' this year. 1/2 birthdays or Unbirthdays (whenever you feel like it) might be good much later (I'd say after 5 or more y.o.)to divvy up the presents but at this point you prob. want to commemorate the real day, I'd say go for it, whenever you can that's near the birthday. I'm thinking of my December babe's birthday as a blessing because it has helped us pare down on the material accumulation and do simpler and fewer gifts. (after older sib. we don't have space for one more toy; watchout, it happens so quickly after the first year as I recall!) anon

Birthday the day before Thanksgiving

Okay all you thoughtful, creative people - I need a little help. My daughter was born the night before Thanksgiving last year. Luckily, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays whose date floats, so her birthday won't always fall on the exact same day as the holiday, but I am trying to figure out how to make her first birthday special and still have a fabulous Thanksgiving, too (it's my favorite holiday). My daughter is not a turkey! We already heard those jokes last year when she was less than one day old! Add to this the fact that family from both sides will want to travel here for her first birthday and we only have one guest room - well, I'm exhausted just thinking about it! (My brother and I shared a birthday and it was kinda cool for me because he was 10 years older, and we always had two special cakes. Not sure how it made him feel when I arrived on the scene just in time for his last solo birthday cake, but I digress). At any rate, I want to set the precedents right from the start, especially with the relatives, who are starting to ask about our plans (Good gracious! I'm going to have to get the baby's room decorated, too, aren't I?). I appreciate in advance your thoughts. Ann

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for a birthday -- and the date changes every year so its not always an issue. My son has his party a week or two before or after Thanksgiving and then people remember his birthday on Thanksgiving, too. We also have 1/2 a birthday cake on the 27th of May for fun. I think this year his birthday is a school day for the first time ever.

As an aside, the school district isn't fond of Fall birthdays, but many kids have no problem with being youngest in their class. It was just as surprising to us that some kids were 18 months older, at least. My son is 8 now, and 4th grade. Some of his friends turned 10 at the end of third grade (!).

We have found something to do about birthdays that IS very helpful. Starting 3 or 4 years ago we decided to have parties just for even number birthdays, and do something else special for the odds. It makes the parties more special, and the alternatives are good fun too. My kids have asked to go out to dinner, or to take their friends to the movies, etc. Heather

I was born November 28. For some reason, I didn't really associate my birthday with Thanksgiving until I was in my late teens. Perhaps when I was little, my mom had the party a week or two away from T-day, which was also a major celebration involving visiting relatives. I think a first birthday is a special occasion, and if your relatives all want to come, think of it as a one-time deal, not a precedent. Therefore, you can arrange the party any way that works for you. Don't let them get you feeling you have to do things a certain way; it's your child and your home. Perhaps they can all stay at a nearby motel. If you don't have room for them all, tell them there's no room for them, and that you need to keep your home routines stable for your child's sake.

As a late-November baby myself, I do have some thoughts about kindergarten entrance. If California is still using the December 2 kindergarten cutoff age when your daughter is 4, she is likely to be the youngest child in her classes all the way through school. This is not necessarily a problem, but I would suggest you give careful thought to whether she is really ready when that time comes (and, believe it or not, it will come). I was always the youngest child in my classes, and I had a hard time keeping up, socially and academically. In retrospect, I believe I would have done a lot better had my parents delayed kindergarten for me. This may or may not be true for your daughter; but I would encourage you to consider both options in terms of what will serve her best in the long run. Louise

For the first B-day party, it would be pretty easy to just have the party on the weekend (probably Saturday) closest to the B-day. Your child is too young to know the difference of a few days. Everyone schedules their big parties on the weekend anyway (though there's usually some sort of celebration actually on the day), so it shouldn't be a big deal to continue this practice as the child gets older.

Another idea, if this celebration is still too close to the big event (at least it isn't Christmas--your child will probably not get combination Thanksgiving/B-day presents!), is to celebrate the child's half-birthday with a big party. So you'd have a big party on May 25th (or whatever) (only problem I see is that this might be on Memorial Day sometimes--I guess you just can't win!).

Regarding all the relatives--ask them to stay in a hotel. You can't be expected to put up everyone in one guest room. In fact, it's kind of an advantage if they all want to come, because then you can avoid having ANYONE stay in your house (oh, we don't have room for everyone, and I wouldn't want to play favorites, so we'll just have everyone stay in this nice hotel....). I'm afraid you probably WILL have to at least clean up the baby's room, if not actually decorate it, though! Good luck! Dawn

Take some slow deep breaths! My son was born 12 years ago on the day before Thanksgiving and it has been fine!

We enjoyed having his first birthday party as part of our Thanksgiving celebration. It was very nice having all the family there and we kept the birthday party part low keyed. [At one year old, he was not even aware that his party was a shared event.] For later years celebrations we have had the official party on the weekend before or after Thanksgiving so he could have a real party and just a small family party on the actual day.

As far as decorating the baby's room & hosting your family... I recommend deep breaths for that too and only doing what is truly important to you. If you're doing something because you think the relatives may expect it, and it doesn't really matter to you if it gets done, then don't do it! With a one year old, you're entitled to not have a Martha Stewart style party or home! Brenda

My son's first birthday will fall on Thanksgiving this year and I couldn't be happier. Family will already be here to help and since it is a long weekend-type holiday, everyone will be relaxed and I don't have to feel guilty about tearing people from work. Thanksgiving is a family holiday not a gift giving holiday, so all the gifts will be for him. To me it is truly a day of thanks for the gift of my son. Anyway, I suggest that you let your family take care of their own accomodations- supply them with a list of places to stay in your area (or tell them to bring sleeping bags to camp out on your living room floor). My current possibilities about how to do the actual day itself are:

1) Family Bonding - Ask family members to shop for and help prepare most of the meal the day before, so it is ready to go and spend as little time as possible the day of in the kitchen. Have dinner at around 2:00 with a really nice birthday cake for dessert and then have gift-opening and a party/socializing afterwards.

2)Easy Does It - Have a gift-opening party with hors d'oevres mid-day and go out to a nice restaurant for dinner and birthday cake with the family later 3)What If... - any combination of 1 and 2 As my son gets older and is more able to participate in birthday events I will most certainly ask him how he would like to see his day spent, but for now I think it is important that Mom not be too stressed by having to pull it all off by herself. I am assigning myself the role of chief delegator and definitely making sure that my family will be there to help so that we can all enjoy the occasion. Phyllis

the first birthday is so much a landmark and celebration for the parents too; I wonder what type of celebration you would enjoy?; maybe a small group of fam./ friends at home; I'd guess more people will be able to make time to come than you might think; plus think of baby's disposition and whether or not he can handle a lot of people. Take your baby to Tilden Park's Merry Go Round at night, too. Even though it's very much a Christmas-y thing, it is so magical that time of year and it makes a neat birthday treat. My 12/21 baby is turning 2 and I think we might just go there with a friend or 2 for her ''party'' this year. 1/2 birthdays or Unbirthdays (whenever you feel like it) might be good much later (I'd say after 5 or more y.o.)to divvy up the presents but at this point you prob. want to commemorate the real day, I'd say go for it, whenever you can that's near the birthday. I'm thinking of my December babe's birthday as a blessing because it has helped us pare down on the material accumulation and do simpler and fewer gifts. (after older sib. we don't have space for one more toy; watchout, it happens so quickly after the first year as I recall!) anon