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Birthdays & Special Holidays Can Be Tough (But They Don’t Have to Be)

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

It seems as though, in every family, birthdays come in clusters. For some, it’s in the spring and for others, like me, it’s in the fall. I’m not going to be the one to speculate who this is but I will note that Valentine’s day is a solid 9 months prior to October. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t birthdays scattered throughout the year otherwise, and some in slightly larger groupings than others, but, for me, there are 8 birthdays spread over the course of two months that are for people directly related to me at the beginning of fall. As fun and exciting as these celebrations are, they can lead so social burnout and an empty bank account if not handled accordingly.

I’m not normally a negative Nancy but there are some notable necessities that might help you navigate this time of year with fewer nabs and more niceties. (Can you tell we’ve been watching a little too much Paw Patrol in our house? Thank you very much Cap’n Turbot!) #momlife

Let’s look at a few things we can do to ease the activities over the course of this celebratory time:

Kid gifts only

Even though everyone, young and old, loves receiving and giving gifts, it might be easier for all those involved to keep birthday gift giving to the kidlets. This is not to say we should ignore our more mature counterparts on their special day but I think we can all agree that as you get older you find that it’s the people who matter most, not the things, in life. Celebrate by getting together for a casual game night or talkative dinner. Catch up and revel at the fact that yet another year has soared past.

Since I am mostly referring to family and close friends here, I believe it would still be acceptable to gift for milestone birthdays in order to keep up the spirit of giving. However, instead of everyone getting some small item for the person (which they may or may not want cause, lets be honest, if we - as adults - really want something… we buy it), perhaps everyone pulls in together, pitching what they can, to get a larger item for the milestone celebrator. Something that they might not have gotten for themselves due to cost or other variables. Another fun “gift” could involve an adventure like escape rooms or wine tours. This type of approach should keep costs down and spirits up!

Low Key FTW

Unless you are a pure and true extrovert, having an abundance of events and activities all bunched into a short duration of time can result in social burnout. If you’re drained in this way you can’t really enjoy the company of you your companions to the fullest. You know that; I know that; we all know that. Yet… we still seem to always nurture the mentality of “go big or go home” for birthdays and parties of all sorts.

Although I am notorious for trying to theme and decorate my kids’ parties as fun as possible, I still try to maintain a laid back atmosphere for my guests. The last party I hosted was my daughter's 5th. She had 14 friends over as well as her adult family members. There was a pinata and “Pin the Nose on Olaf” (Frozen movie theme), snacks were out for the entire duration of the gathering but otherwise, the party was treated like a big playdate with little structure and no expectations for the guests. Most people chatted casually as the kids played and after the gifts were opened people left as they saw fit. It was relaxed and enjoyable.

The less expectation we put into these celebratory gatherings, the more laid back and enjoyable they become for both the guest and the host.

You’re Your Own Boss

Not everyone needs to or wants to care about the social and economic impacts of these bunched up celebrations and that is AOK. If you are in the tribe that does feel the effects of this time of year, then stick with the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Silly (or Stupid, do what you will). Know when its time to scale back and/or leave early. These are your friends and family, they’ll understand. You can't be your best self if you are pushing yourself too far to please others. You’ll have a better time of it this way.

If you’re living your best life and looking for things to be grateful for then you can always find a reason to celebrate. Keeping things real and in moderation should allow you to enjoy everything as it comes will allow you to last as long the celebrations!


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