Every year, I get to hear the fantastic story of my birth. It is a saga of drunk military doctors, an emergency helicopter ride, and a woman who had a bed down the hall from my mother who named her child Christmas Carol. I was born on Christmas Eve. This birthdate, which I had absolutely nothing to do with, manages to illicit a lot of reaction from any and all people who see my driver’s license. The prevalent reaction is pity.
People instantly assume it must have been so tragic for me to have been born on a holiday the day before Christmas. To be honest, I feel like I am lucky. I never had to go to school on my birthday, and I have rarely had to work on my birthday. I am also always with my family for my birthday. I set up boundaries when I was a little kid and announced that I would “not open any gifts on my birthday wrapped in Christmas paper.” Completely obnoxious, but it stuck and it worked. Throughout the years, I figured out more things that made my birthday not feel like a stepsister to the main show happening the next day.
How to Have a Holiday Birthday: Advice for Parents and Kids
1. Set up your pocket: Long before I was born, my grandmother hosted a huge Christmas Eve party. There was no way I could stomp my foot and demand the entire day be about ME. (What would Santa say?!) We created a time frame for my birthday, and it was from the moment I woke up until just after lunch. As soon as lunch was over, Jesus took the wheel.
2. Use birthday decorations: I know holiday decorations will be SO available, but resist! Splurge for the birthday banners and balloons. I just took a look over three decades of birthday photos, and you really have to squint to see ANY Christmas decorations in any of the photos.
3. No holiday- or winter-themed gift wrap: This should be obvious, but it had to be said. Birthday wrapping is an entirely different look and energy from Christmas wrapping. I once had a great-aunt who gave me a birthday gift wrapped in paper with poinsettias on them, and I was certain it wasn’t for real birthday wrapping. The next day, my Christmas gift from her was in the same wrapping and I was bummed. (This is where I remind you I was seven.)
4. Half birthday celebrations! My family started celebrating my half birthday when I was in the first grade because I was so sad about not being able to have a party. It has been a tradition we have softly kept ever since. I enjoy having a 1/2 birthday so much that I made sure to start the tradition with my son (who does not have a holiday birthday).
5. No combo gifts: Please, please, please resist the urge to do combination gifts. When I was fourteen, I was given CDs for my birthday, but I didn’t have a CD player. Sure enough, the next morning … Combo or theme gifts can work if they aren’t totally dependent on each other. (Again, remember your audience. A 30-year-old isn’t really going to care that much about this, but a five-year-old? VERY much.)
6. Do not send all greetings in one breath: This should never come out of your mouth: “Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!” Break it up. Try out: “Happy Birthday! I hope you are having a great day celebrating. How is your Christmas?”
Do you have a holiday birthday? Do you have any tips or advice for others?
Famous People with Holiday Birthdays:
All images, unless otherwise noted, are from PR Photos
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