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:
Celebrity Holiday Birthdays 1 of 27
Christmas Eve: Max Miedinger 2 of 27
Christmas Eve: Ava Gardner 3 of 27
The town where Ava Gardner was born has set up something called the "Ava Gardner Heritage Trail" to lead fans of Ava's towards sites of interest.
Christmas Eve: Mary Higgins Clark 4 of 27
Mary Higgins Clark is constantly writing. She was a single mom to five young children (her husband died from a heart condition), and yet she always made time to make writing a priority in her life.
"When my children were young, I used to get up at five and write at the kitchen table until seven, when I had to get them ready for school. For me, writing is a need. It's the degree of yearning that separates the real writer from the 'would-be's.' Those who say 'I'll write when I have time, when the kids are grown up or when I have a quiet place to work,' will probably never do it."
Christmas Eve: Kate Spade 5 of 27
What I love about a post on Kate's site right now? She counts down to New Years and NOT Christmas. As someone who often resists the urge to count down to Christmas (because Christmas time = BIRTHDAY!) I can really appreciate her 31 Things to Do Before December 31st.
Christmas Eve: Ricky Martin 6 of 27
Ricky will be spending his birthday on Broadway this year. He is currently staring as Che in the revival of Evita. Playbill put together a great video of clips of some of their favorite theatrical performances of Ricky over the years.
Christmas Eve: Stephenie Meyer 7 of 27
Christmas Eve: Ryan Seacrest 8 of 27
If the rumors are true, Ryan will be celebrating this year's birthday with a new girlfriend. Daily Mail and many other outlets are gleefully sharing the photos of Ryan "hanging out" with 38-year-old model Shayna Taylor.
Christmas Eve: Dresden Shumaker 9 of 27
It's me! I'll be going out with friends to celebrate my birthday a few days after the big day. On the actual day, I plan on eating for lunch the same meal I have consumed for every birthday for decades: Spaghetti-Os and red velvet cake.
Image Credit: me
Christmas Eve: Louis Tomlinson 10 of 27
Louis from One Direction turned 21 last year and told MTV he just wanted to keep things quiet and simple. No word yet on how he plans to spend his 22nd!
Christmas: Humphrey Bogart 11 of 27
Humphrey's birthdate was the subject of much speculation during his tenure in Hollywood. Seriously, there is an actual Snopes page set up to discuss when his birthday is, as there was a question about whether or not a studio had changed the date in order to make Humphrey more likable. Spoiler alert: He was, indeed, born on December 25th.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Christmas: Jimmy Buffett 12 of 27
Fans of Jimmy's in
margaritavilleAnna Maria Oyster Bar celebrate his 1/2 birthday every year. Makes perfect sense. Island shirts are hard to find in long sleeves.
Christmas: Barbara Mandrell 13 of 27
Barbara is never one to shy away from work on her birthday. Over the years, she has created three Christmas specials.
Christmas: C.C.H. Pounder 14 of 27
A few years ago, C.C.H. Pounder tweeted out about her birthday with family. "Thank you for your tweets of 'happy birthday'!!! yesterday was one of the best birthdays of my life together my family !!!" I know exactly how you feel, C.C.H.
Christmas: Annie Lennox 15 of 27
In 2010, Annie created one of my favorite Christmas albums. You have to wonder if she just got fed up with sappy pop star holiday songs and took the charge with this album of thoughtful and special songs. Annie, who has often said she is not a religious person, still manages to bring something magical to A Christmas Cornucopia.
Christmas: Sissy Spacek 16 of 27
Last year, Sissy published My Extraordinary Life. She called it a collection of non-fiction short stories (AKA: her autobiography). Reading some of the excerpts from the book made me laugh because her personality seems to be so similar to other people I know who have holiday birthdays. It's this "we don't really want to make a splash, but please do notice us" mentality.
Christmas: Helena Christensen 17 of 27
This year, supermodel Helena Christensen will be turning 45 on December 25th. I KNOW.
Christmas: Dido 18 of 27
New Year’s Eve: Anthony Hopkins 19 of 27
I will confess to always being just a tad jealous of people with holiday birthdays on December 31st. New Year's Eve just sounds like a GREAT birthday. But then again ... the grass is always greener. When I think of Anthony Hopkins and birthdays, I immediately think of the speech his character gave in Meet
Brad PittJoe Black. Watch Bill's birthday speech.
New Year’s Eve: Ben Kingsley 20 of 27
Sir Ben will be turning 70 this year. He is gifting us with a hush hush Marvel movie next year! Vanity Fair has some good scoop on that.
New Year’s Eve: Diane von Furstenberg 21 of 27
In a fantastic piece in W magazine, Diane talks about her birthday and where she gets her strength. This paragraph stuck with me:
"Born on New Year's Eve, 1946, in Brussels, Diane Halfin was the only daughter of a Romanian businessman and a Greek mother who was a Holocaust survivor, having been freed from Auschwitz just 18 months before Diane's birth. 'She made me so strong,' von Furstenberg says. 'She never allowed me to be afraid. If I was afraid of the dark, she would put me in a dark closet to teach me to be unafraid.'"
New Year’s Eve: Bebe Neuwirth 22 of 27
In an interview with Time Out New York, Bebe talked about her holiday birthday:
"Having your birthday on New Year's Eve is nice because everyone remembers it. But it's also the only birthday that people actually notice when it ends. If you're out celebrating your birthday on July 14th, nobody looks at their watch at 12:01am on the 15th and says, 'It's not your birthday anymore!'"
New Year’s Eve: Val Kilmer 23 of 27
Val celebrates his birthday two times a year. According to an interview with Star Pulse, he shares that his parents allowed him to have another day in the year, one not so close to Christmas, to celebrate. "My birthday is on New Year's Eve, so my parents pitied me, because when you are born so close to Christmas you just get one Christmas/Merry Birthday present. So they would also celebrate my birthday on the Fourth of July."
New Year’s Eve: Nicholas Sparks 24 of 27
Nicolas is embracing his holiday birthday. He has launched "12 Days of Sparks" on his website, and fans can log in to be treated with a new fact about the author each day as the countdown to his birthday begins.
New Year’s Eve: PSY 25 of 27
Lately, PSY has been VERY busy on his birthday! Last year he is rumored to have retired "Gangnam Style" after his Dick Clark New Year's Eve performance. No word on if he will be performing this year.
New Year’s Eve: Scott Ian 26 of 27
Scott is another musician who is often working on his birthday. Last year, Scott and his band, Anthrax, were hard at work on a cover album.
New Year’s Eve: Joey McIntyre 27 of 27
All images, unless otherwise noted, are from PR Photos
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