My birthday falls at Christmas time. Christmas birthdays are a bit odd. A straw poll unveils people who felt that as children they suffered from ‘joint’ presents, kids who had Christmas in the morning and a birthday in the afternoon, thus diluting the excitement. It’s a testament to my own parents that I never felt that way.

How birthdays change after you've had kids - you'll chuckle in recognition at Mummy's birthday plans...

It’s my party

I’m lucky, in that  my birthday falls just before the big day, and so as a child and teenager, I remember everyone being in the party mood, relatives had all come to stay, and it felt like Christmas was all about me. Christmas was even better due to the early high spirits. Conversely, my Aunt whose birthday fell 4 days after Christmas, rarely had any fanfare, and I regularly forgot to send her a card.

These days I’m less concerned with the date, and more so with the status quo. B.K.* a birthday would typically follow these lines:

  • 8am – wake, raise eybrow at clock, doze off again.
  • 9.30 – wake again, to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon sandwiches. Doze off.
  • 9.45 – surface to breakfast in bed, flowers, champagne, expensive gifts, and a happy husband.
  • 10.30-11.30 – Lounge around the house, take a bath, get dressed in smart clothes, apply make-up. Make-up!!
  • 11.30 – head into the city, for some relaxed shopping, coffee, light lunch, maybe a glass of champagne….
  • 4pm – go back home, shower (yes, shower!), shave legs, apply body lotion (remember that stuff?), remove and actually re-apply make-up, perfume, hair product, stockings, gorgeous dress and fabulous shoes. Transfer contents of handbag to glittery clutch.
  • 7pm – uncork champagne, and consume bottle, with canapes.
  • 8pm – jump into taxi and head to celebrity chef’s latest venture. Consume ‘Tasting Menu’ of 7 courses, with accompanying set of wines.
  • Midnight – order taxi and head home for romance.

A.K. it is more likely to look like this:

  • 8am (if I threaten them a lot the night before, and get lucky) – wake to full on lights, the birthday song and a chorus of ‘Open ze eyes!!!!’
  • 8.01 – groan oooompf! as two S/M-sized bodies jump into bed too, one of them wielding a light-sabre
  • 8.05 – struggle awake as Daddy hauls his ass out of bed and stumbles downstairs, muttering ‘Be nice to Mummy’.
  • 8.15 – finally concede that the presents need opening, slurp some Nescafe courtesy of Daddy and struggle upwards in bed. Open presents that come with wide eyes of anticipation and expectation of pleasure. Shed tears of genuine delight.
  • 8.20 – receive extra ‘gift’ on loan of 26 cuddly toys  with solemn declaration of intent to return them at at the end of the day.

"Birthday Gifts"

"Birthday Breakfast

  • 8.30 – trip downstairs, supported by toddlers, to the breakfast table, where, to be fair, waffles are served with berries and pink cava.
  • 8.30 – sip cava, get hot flush, feel sick, and stick to juice.
  • 8.45 – clear dishes, put Scooby Doo on TV, hastily shower (no time for hair wash), dress, apply moisturiser (just that) and get kids dressed.
  • 9.30 – head to farm village lugging handbag the size of suitcase. Check there is calpol, wipes, tissues, plasters, ventolin, felt pens, and notepad in there. Hopefully there is money and a phone. Visit to Santa. Queue, with hundreds of kids. Ignore antics of said children. Issue threats, squeal about giant gingerbread house, hand over best part of last paycheque for ‘official photos’, and leave, via the gift shop, dragging outraged children.
  • 12pm – throw cheese, cucumber and bread at the table and hope those that are hungry eat enough to get through till teatime.
  • 12.30 – unload washing machine. Unload tumble-dryer. Unload dishwasher.
  • 1.30 – make beds and open curtains.
  • 2.30 – close curtains – dark again.
  • 2.35-5pm – Negotiate endless game of Ludo with irate poor losers. Try desperately hard not to win.
  • 5-6pm – console Ludo loser and explain that it’s ok for Mummy to win – it’s her birthday!
  • 6pm – watch children’s show, cook lasagne, set table, open cava, consider applying make-up, get distracted, welcome MIL, flop at kitchen table, eat, drink, drink more, drink even more, somehow manhandle kids to bed, fall asleep with 4-year-old male.

The perfect Christmas Birthday! 😉 Jamie who….?

* B.K. Before Kids 😉

Of course, once you’re a parent, the only birthday that matters is your child’s. Here are some tips on making yours a success:

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