People born on or near December 25th often have mixed feelings about Christmas. We’re used to having our birthdays swallowed up and forgotten by everyone, including parents. When almost any other date on the calendar comes to mind, someone invariably thinks, “Oh, that’s near so-and-so’s birthday!” When December 25th is mentioned, one’s birthday comes in near the bottom of things remembered.
I’m fortunate that I was born into a family of holiday birthdays. My older sister was born on Halloween, my grandmother on July 4th, and my niece on New Years Day. At least I’m in good company.
For those of us whose birthdays fall on or near the big day, here are some tips for surviving the big day intact:
1) Hang with our fellow afflicted. Do you know others who were born on Christmas? Throw a party. Every year in the California Bay Area, there is a Christmas Babies Birthday Party — it’s for everyone born within one day of Christmas. The rules are simple — absolutely no Christmas decorations, no Santa cakes, none of the usual stuff we Christmas babies must contend with.
2) Just accept that everyone will forget. It’s not you, it’s them … and the holiday itself. Nobody but your closest friends and relatives will remember, and some of them will forget. Try not to take it personally.
3) Celebrate your birthday apart from Christmas. If you like, throw a birthday party without Christmas decorations. Recognize the day of your birth as a date distinct from Christmas.
4) If you just can’t abide them, opt out on Christmas parties and gatherings. It’s your birthday and you can be anti-social if you want to. You might send out a regrets card that says “it’s my birthday, so I’m celebrating that” or something to that effect.
5) If the family throws a party and you can’t stand Christmas symbols on birthday cakes and decorations, then ask that they not be used. Ask politely (even offer to buy them) for non-Christmas birthday decorations. I know I have a standing rule with my family — please no Santa, elves, poinsettias, or Rudolph the non-existent-reindeer. The Incredible Hulk, Ninja Turtles, anything but Dasher and Dancer and the gang.
6) Don’t feel like you’re required to have a happy birthday at any time. As depressing as Christmas is for many people, it’s often even worse for the December 25 birthday folk. It’s not only the holiday season, it’s also the day we get a year older.
7) When the doorbell rings and your friends arrive, and the looks on their faces let you know they have just remembered, and they run out to the car to hastily scribble “and happy birthday, too!” on their Christmas gift tags, try to be forgiving. Let a smile be your umbrella.
8) And if someone gives you a Christmas/Birthday present, feel fully within your rights to say — at their own birthday parties — “Oh, no, I don’t have a birthday gift for you. You know your Christmas gift six months ago? That was a Christmas/Birthday gift!” It’s funny how quickly they get the point.