Mark your calendars now…any future birthdays of mine have officially been changed (by me) to sometime in January or February, forevermore.
I am a Christmas baby by birth. Not a Christmas Eve baby or a Boxing Day baby or any of the other days in December, who I understand also have to deal with birthday-related weirdness (my condolences, I assure you). It’s just the way it is. You can change your name legally, but not your birthday. At least I’m not a leap year baby.
But I’m going to say it: a Christmas birthday sucks. Here are the main reasons why.
- I never actually know when my birthday “is” going to be. Since it’s so obviously inconvenient for Christmas morning to be my birthday, it’s either at night (if everyone has energy, which is never), or the day before, or the day after, or two days after…it’s based entirely on last minute whims and overall convenience and who is on hand for the holidays. If you asked me what day I celebrated my birthday last year or the year before, I’d have no actual idea because it’s completely random and only rarely on Christmas day at all. What actually often happens is that my husband or other close family members who gave me a combo gift will apply gentle but firm pressure to have it as close to Christmas as possible so that they don’t look like they didn’t get me something nice for the extra thing the gift is supposed to be for — while I try to space them out as much as possible so as to enjoy each more.
- Holiday guests and commitments abound. I generally enjoy having guests for the holidays. But, if there was a way to not have any guests on my birthday, I would appreciate it. You end up feeling selfish doing anything you want to do without consulting them (and often several of them), which is super lame on the one day you wouldn’t have to normally worry about that. If you are a guest in someone else’s home, it’s actually even weirder. They are trying to accommodate your birthday into their already-foreign holiday plans but it’s an obvious wrench that changes things up on a day that people tend to fear change and emphasize traditions.
- There is just too much pressure and hype to enjoy yourself. Imagine you are sick with the flu on Christmas. Well, isn’t that the absolute saddest! But don’t worry, we’ll make it up to you on your birthday, dear heart. Wait…is it your birthday, too? Ohboy. In short, if I’m sick or am just having a bummer Christmas, well, congrats, I just managed to ruin both of my big days for the year in one shot, after waiting all year.
- Parties are super hard to plan and (understandably) sparsely attended. My 3-6 person family (whoever is present for the holidays) will sing and I’ll have dessert of some sort but the only time I’ve ever had a birthday party was when I was 7 years old. I’m still not sure when it was…it certainly wasn’t remotely near Christmas time or no one would have come. I’m pretty sure even that one featured Christmas decorations.
- Nothing is open. Good luck going to a spa day on Christmas, or even to your favorite restaurant. Ain’t going to happen, unless you love the Hunan Palace or your ideal birthday would be spent in front of a movie screen. (If so, would you like to switch birthdays with me?)
- Birthday decor can’t possibly compete with Christmas decor. By the time my birthday roles around, Christmas is all around. Unless I left one room purposefully barren to decorate whenever my pop-up birthday happens, no cute balloons are are going to hold a candle to the tree/stockings/lights that are already obviously celebrating a different, quite well done-up holiday (by the way, you are on your own if you want birthday decorations. No one is going to even think during the holiday bustle…so you better get a-blowing and break out your own crepe paper). If you have birthday presents wrapped in non-holiday paper, consider yourself super lucky. I’ll often open something on Christmas morning, only to find out it was supposed to be my birthday gift, and vice versa. It may seem like a small difference, but it’s confusing. If I’m lucky enough to get one of each, I’m often not sure if I’m thanking something for a birthday or holiday gift.
So, I’m over it. I’m done with having a floating birthday that revolves around other people’s (and my own) loaded Christmas plans. From now on, I will celebrate my birthday in January or February, after the holidays have settled. I will plan ahead of time what I’d like to do, and will maybe even have a small party. I will not serve anything that involves egg nog or cinnamon. It will smell like birthday cake, not fir tree. The balloons will be pastel and huge. Any combo gifts will be opened on either Christmas if they are in holiday paper or on my birthday if they are on non-holiday paper. I will use any gift cards I got on Christmas and my own money to buy myself birthday presents if no actual birthday-only presents appear.
It will be glorious. It will be…like a birthday.
Do you have any holidays that you have decided to observe on a nontraditional day? Which ones and why?