Tips for Handling Tandem Birthdays Tips

Brits Christine and David Lilley, turned 75 in 2016 within three days of one another. To celebrate, they did a tandem jump from an airplane. What an impressive way to shuck off the “getting old” blues!

The news of their brave leap, though, put me in mind of another aspect of planning a special birthday — handling the tandem birthday. Perhaps this is spouse’s having birthdays within days of one another (as with the Lilley’s). Or, the more likely fraught (unless you are the spouse of someone as obsessed with birthdays as me) shared birthday day or week of young siblings.

In my neighborhood there is a family of five with four birthdays all in December. Another neighbor’s two kids are both January born. So, what’s to be done to be sure each birthday gets the ba-ba-boom it deserves?

One Mom’s group considered the question for its community suggested separate parties will help each child feel special. Yet, they did caution that it was a good idea to weigh the financial considerations and gauge the ages of the celebrants in making the choice. Other advice was to ask the children what they want — maybe sharing sounds good to them. But definitely let them each make their own guest list.


In a forum on the topic, people suggested that the kids share their birthday parties until they are old enough to complain. Others added that giving each child a separate cake and avoiding joint gifts help. One respondent posted a pic of a 25-year-old and a 1-year-old both getting their own smash cakes!

Another post in a different parenting discussion thread on the issue offered great advice: “Long story short: be open to any/all ideas, including your children’s.”

By the way, while searching the web for shared birthday tidbits, I came across this jaw-dropping world record. According to Guinness, “the only verified example of a family producing five single children with coincident birthdays is that of Catherine (1952), Carol (1953), Charles (1956), Claudia (1961) and Cecilia (1966), born to Carolyn and Ralph Cummins (USA) all on 20 February. The random odds against five single siblings sharing a birthdate are one in 17,797,577,730 – almost 4 times the world’s population.”

Tweet: The random odds
against five single siblings sharing a birthdate are one in
17,797,577,730 – almost 4 times the world’s population.

Merging Birthday Traditions — Watch out!

A marriage is a merging of family traditions and different backgrounds or cultures. I was born and raised in Canada. My husband was shaped by his years in South Carolina. But what’s an annual tradition that really creates a crisis in our household? The opening of the presents!

Growing up we had to wait until the end of the day to open any presents. If we’d gone to Baskin Robbins’ for a birthday club free cone, we had to wait until we came back from there.

My husband’s presents were opened earlier.

So, he wants to present his gifts early in the day — or worse he waits until dinner only to offer them up in a public space (strangers watching me accept gifts? I love the birthday wishes, but I like to keep my presents private).

Now, thanks to Mental Floss, I know that the Danish put presents around the child’s bed for her to see upon first waking up. So, maybe my hubby is actually Danish? But, then, I guess he would also put a Danish flag

outside our door each year to announce that someone within was having a birthday.

Another Danish tradition? Baking a cake person — either male or female depending on the birthday child’s gender — and eating the head first! So, we’ll blow out the candles and make a wish to fend off bad spirits for a year, but then chop the head off my cake doppelganger? That doesn’t raise my spirits.


Photo courtesy of

When/where do you like to open birthday presents? Comment below to share!