I was at the DMV recently and after handing over my license, the clerk, with pity in her eyes, said, “Oh, you’re born the day after Christmas? You poor thing.”
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I’ve come to expect that sort of response from friends and co-workers — and liquor store cashiers. And to be fair, having your birthday near or on Christmas is sort of a raw deal. You basically have to share your big day not only with everyone around you, but also with Jesus and Santa. It’s weird.
You think planning a birthday party is difficult? I see your July birthday and raise you a December one.
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Because everyone is booked solid in December, thanks to holiday parties, family dinners, and shopping, it’s difficult to schedule a birthday bash.
On my 21st birthday, for instance, due to my friends’ hectic schedules, I ended up celebrating in October. November has also functioned as an interim birthday month.
Over the last few years, I’ve been successful with booking the first weekend of December — which is still a good three weeks before my actual bday. You gotta do what you gotta in order to be with those you love, as well as to separate your birthday from Christmas as much as you can.
My parents did the best they could with my birthday while I was growing up. I was always greeted with a legit birthday cake — not a fruitcake or gingerbread house, or any other Christmas-y dessert.
Birthday gifts were always separate from Christmas presents, with each of them wrapped in birthday wrapping paper, not Christmas paper. And the friends and family who actually had the nerve to conjoin gifts were swiftly reprimanded, even though one or two “birth-mas” gifts usually snuck in underneath the Christmas tree.
Even if your family isn’t as ~on top of things~ as mine, being a Christmas baby definitely has its perk, too. Those two-for-one gifts were actually a pretty sweet deal if I was gunning for a big gift, like a pair of skis or a desktop computer.
And I never celebrated my birthday at school or work because I always had the day off. So instead of awkwardly sharing birthday cupcakes and receiving half-hearted birthday wishes — not to mention a group of half-strangers singing me an off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” — I’ve always been able to sleep in on my birthday, spend time with my best friend and parents, and do pretty much whatever I’ve wanted.
And, as a Christmas baby, no one can forget your birthday — ever. Why? Well, it’s two-fold. First, since you’re so eager to separate your day from THE day, you probably make a bigger deal out of your birthday than those around you, resulting in your D.O.B. being permanently engraved on their brains and Google calendars.
And two? Because it’s Christmas! A time of festive cheer filled with lights, decorations, and a spirit of generosity. I mean, the season is filled with merriment, a.k.a. tons of food, sweets, and drink, so basically everyone is always in a good mood and usually ready to party.
Unless they’re partied out. Which tends to happen around a lot during December. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, and all the gatherings that go with them, sometimes your nearest and dearest are just too exhausted to celebrate with you.
Which brings me back to separating your birthday from Christmas itself. Having a Christmas birthday is as exciting as it is disappointing, but, like everything else in life, it all depends on your attitude.
I’ve had years in which I utterly hated my Christmas birthday, and years in which I absolutely loved it. But isn’t that true for all birthdays?
We Christmas babies might have to share our birthday with old, bearded men, a red-and-white color scheme, and gingerbread-scented everything, but you know what’s the biggest pro of all?
You. It’s *your* birthday, and that’s what makes it wonderful and special and unique.