I celebrated my first Christmas on Dec. 25, 1997 at two days, 15 hours and 19 minutes old.
Two days after being born, I was packed up like a parcel and taken home. The doctor didn’t exactly approve, but it was Christmas Eve and my mom didn’t want my four-year-old brother to celebrate in a hospital room. I was supposed to be born on Dec. 27, but my mom was worried she’d go into labour early and ruin Christmas for my brother. My arrival was scheduled to make room for the holiday. That was the first time it overshadowed my birthday. It’s happened 20 times since.
Whenever I tell someone my birthday, I get one of many questions.
“Do you still get birthday gifts or just Christmas gifts?”
“Do your parents wait to decorate until after your birthday?”
“Does anyone ever forget your birthday?”
First of all, my parents aren’t evil, of course I still get birthday presents. Second, I’m not evil either, why would I make my parents wait until two days before Christmas to decorate? As for the third question, every single year.
My extended family swears my mother told them I was born Dec. 23 or Dec. 24 or really any day in December except the 22. It doesn’t bother me much, it just makes listening to them sing Happy Birthday through the phone that much more awkward.
But having a birthday in peak holiday season means people sometimes don’t have time to celebrate it.
As a child, organizing birthday parties was a hassle. What parent wants to drag their kids to a party when there’s a million other things to do? And who has money to spend on a birthday present when they’re buying Christmas presents for everyone else?
While my cousins and friends could rake in hundreds of dollars slipped inside their birthday cards, I received socks. Literally.
While other kids could have pool parties or outdoor barbeques, my childhood birthdays were held at the skating rink. I’m not sure why my parents and I figured escaping the cold of the outdoors for an equally cold indoor event was a good idea, but I celebrated every childhood birthday on the ice.
My 16th birthday was supposed to be my first surprise party. After a week of storms that turned everything the eye could see into ice, my mom told me, all in one sentence, that she had planned the party and had to cancel. Surprise! Bet that never happened to someone born in July.
I know I’m luckier than some. A Dec. 22 birthday is better than Dec. 24 or the dreaded Dec. 25 birthday. But it’d be nice to just have my own day for once. I imagine a birthday where Christmas isn’t the center of attention. I picture a birthday where I spend the day celebrating, rather than last minute Christmas shopping. I wish for a birthday where all my presents are wrapped in birthday wrapping paper and there’s no mention of Santa.
I’m thankful for my birthday celebrations no matter what, I’m sure all Christmas babies agree. But the next time you meet one of us, please don’t assume our parents rob us of a birthday present or that we hate Christmas. Just treat us like anyone else with a birthday.
And with that, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a happy birthday.