Memories of Being Born Near Christmas

Shortchanged
by Jill
My birthday isn’t until Jan. 13, but my sister’s is Dec. 20. We both got shortchanged. “Here’s your presents Amy, Jenny, Susie and Kathy. Here Jill, its your birthday gift too.” We’d all get one pair of earrings.
Now I have a sister in law with a birthday Dec 26. I think hers is worse.

It’s a Curse
by Jaclyn C.
Thank you for addressing the curse of the holiday birthday I have had to grow up with. My mother made a point of it to make sure I had a separate birthday party every year when I was a child, so that I didn’t feel that my birthday was overlooked. Now that I’m older I appreciate what she did for me, and not only do I get excited about my birthday, I get excited about everyone’s birthday. My large, ever-growing family meets on Dec. 24th for a huge holiday celebration, and I expect to hear Happy Birthday this day now. It is actually comforting that I get to spend the days before or after my birthday (New Year’s Eve as well) at a time of year where joy, friendship and kinmanship are abundant. I never really had qualms with my birthday being December 26, it’s just that December 24-31 is one long, long celebration for me. (I never had to go to school on my birthday either, so now that I am an adult, I make sure to take the day off well in advance). My parents offered to “celebrate” my birthday June 26 instead, but I refused to do so when I was younger. I enjoy being part of a such a wonderful time of year. (I make sure that most people don’t forget it’s my birthday either)

And I am in agreeance, Rule #1: No Christmas wrapping paper on my birthday present!!! If your birthday is the fourth of July, I wouldn’t wrap it up like the star-spangled banner….

Happy Birthday to all Christmas babies!!!!

Jewish and Born on Dec. 23
by Liz

Here’s one for your Diversity Folder. My daughter Jordan was due in early January, but I guess she didn’t get that memo. We started celebrating Chanukah, as usual, lighting the menorah, opening presents, etc. We were a few nights in, and I started leaking amniotic fluid. I drove myself to the hospital (I wasn’t in labor) and my water broke as I walked from the car to the front door. Nothing, nothing, nothing. No labor.

The doctor started getting nervous because my water had broken. Pitocin. 3 hours, 3 pushes and we welcomed Jordan to the world 12/23/03. I was released from the hospital on 12/25.

Since she was a week and a half early, we were totally unprepared. There was no food in the house. We had little cash on hand, but that didn’t matter. There was no place to even get drive-thru in our town on Christmas. I think we had cereal or scrambled eggs for dinner.

After skipping a few nights of Chanukah, we picked up where we had left off, even though the holiday was officially over, we continued our celebration.

She can never have her bday party on her actual bday. We’ve started having a combined Chanukah/birthday party – which she loves – for now. She still thinks of it as double presents, although sometimes she gets one double-budget present from aunts/uncles. She’s almost 7 and thankfully the novelty has not yet worn off.

A Christmas Eve Birthday Gets Old
by Heather

I used to love having my birthday at a time of year when everyone was a little jollier and friendlier than normal. When I was little, my grandmother made sure I had twice as many presents as any of the other kids and let them know why. I also never had to go to school on my birthday.

I started seeing the cons when I wasn’t able to have that customary drink on my 21st birthday. Not that the bars were closed, but everyone was busy with family. Not that I needed the drink, but I wanted to be with friends and they were all with family or in church. About this time I also started getting tired of my family’s tradition of all getting together on Christmas Eve instead of the Christmas day to celebrate the holiday and exchange gifts. A decade and a half and a husband later, I’m still forced by guilt and tradition to spend my birthday with my entire family celebrating Christmas a day early. Sure, they all say happy birthday to me and my aunt tries to make me feel special by baking me a birthday cake each year, but it’s not the same. If I want to celebrate my birthday with friends, I usually have to do it two weeks prior or after. This year, my husband took me out for a romantic birthday dinner — three weeks prior. I keep threatening that one year I’m going to say “to hell with family!” and spend Christmas Eve celebrating my birthday the way I want to spend it. Wish me luck.

Mid-December Birthdays Are No Fun, Either
by Frank

I’m 49 today (Dec. 14). These are my thoughts for today.

As birthday celebrations go it’s nothing unusual. I have no sense of an event. No sense of joy. No sense of anything unusual happening. For me, I have a birth day that doesn’t really exist. It is drowned in the frenzy leading up to Christmas.

Due to Christmas, I understand that it’s hard for distant friends and relatives to post a birthday card so that it arrives on the right day. Over the weeks spanning my birthday I am drip-fed a few birthday cards inside a glut of Christmas cards. Some of those Christmas cards also wish me a happy birthday.

The same happens for presents in the post. They arrive in the post an random days. Often packed with a Christmas present. Usually late because of the Christmas postal delays.

Sometimes I receive a single present that is combined for both celebrations and it has been so since I was a small child. As a child I found this unfair and upsetting. To start with it resulted in disappointment that a birthday present could not be opened until Christmas. Later in life I just don’t care. To be honest, I’d rather I got no presents so that I wouldn’t be reminded that my birthday is
part of Christmas now.

Yes, my siblings (born in March and May) also suffered the occasional combined present but that would be because it was unusually large and expensive. I would get combined presents because my Birthday could be pigg-backed onto Christmas conveniently and at a cost-saving for postage too.

My birthday meal was yesterday but my birthday’s today. So today’s main meal is likely to be leftovers from yesterday. That’s the trouble with a birthday around Christmas – it’s just an after-thought or insignificant appendage to Christmas.

Yesterday my birthday table was adorned with festive Christmas candles and, as usual, my birthday in a wider sense is surrounded by Christmas decorations and activities relating to Christmas.

Over the last week I have been Christmas shopping like half of Planet Earth it seems. Today I will be wrapping and packing Christmas presents and writing Christmas cards too. I need them in the post to ensure everyone gets their cards and presents in time for Christmas.

Is it too much to ask for my birthday on my birthday?

My sympathies and best wishes to all of you having a birthday in the middle of December.

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