Another year has come and gone, and it’s January once again. I’ve always been particularly fond of January because it happens to be my birthday month! My mother and my son are also January babies, so for my family, it’s a time of celebrating, even though the month of big celebratory holidays has just passed.
Having experienced a January birthday thirty-something times, and having heard the complaints of Mom (who is actually a New Year’s Day baby!), I’ve tried really hard to prevent my son from being able to make the same complaints of “ugh, I don’t like having a birthday in January!” If you are lucky enough to have a birthday in, say, June, you might look back fondly on things like scavenger hunts, swimming, pinatas, clowns, and hordes of children at your birthday parties. For the January birthday-boy or -girl, however, these are not the typical experience.
Many times, well-meaning folks hand those born during the first month of the year a gift in December, and say, “this is for both your birthday and insert-December-holiday-of-choice-here.” Please, don’t do this to the children in your life who celebrate a birthday in January. Yes, I know that times are tight and that it might seem silly to buy two gifts within a two-week period of time… but kids notice this sort of thing, and it bothers them.
Sometimes you might be tempted to skip out on a January birthday party. The weather is frightful, you’re all partied out, you’re out of cash, and snuggling on the couch with your family watching movies and drinking hot cocoa sounds like a much more appealing option than running out for yet another gathering of too many people stuffed into an overheated house. It’s really not fair to the birthday child, though. Try to make it to the party, if at all possible.
If you’re the mom of a child born in January, a successful birthday party may require a special effort. Once the kids get rowdy, and they always do, it’s a difficult proposition to get them all into their snowpants and boots to go outside, particularly if they’re under 6 or 7 years old and still need help pulling on and buckling and tying and snapping. Consider taking the party out of your house entirely, and having parents drop their kids off to you at a bowling alley, roller skating or ice skating rink, or indoor amusement center. This saves you the trouble of sweeping muddy clumps of snow out of your living room, and also gives the kids a relatively contained place to get their energy out.
A January birthday does not have to be a reason for your child to say “woe is me.” A bit of forethought and planning can go a long way toward giving your son or daughter happy birthday party memories. Be sure to have a contingency plan if you live in an area that is prone to rough winter weather (one year we were living in Connecticut and had to have a “snow date” for my son’s party), plan to relax about the extra mess and chaos if you’re planning to have the party at home, and consider pushing the party off for a week or so if the birthday falls immediately after the hustle and bustle (and travel!) of the holiday season, to raise the likelihood that more people will be able to make it. What have you done to make your child’s (or your own) January birthday extra special?