When I was growing up, I remember being very disappointed I was never at school to be celebrated on my birthday like most of my classmates were. Being a December baby born just two days before Christmas on December 23, I was often at home with my family during my birthday. While I can appreciate that low-key home time now as an adult, it wasn’t my favorite feeling as an extroverted kid.
Because when your birthday is two days before your favorite holiday, all of your exciting times of the year fall within the same week. That means you have to wait an entire year to celebrate again, and the post-holiday blues can be real.
I’m lucky that early on my mom could tell this was hard for me, and we came up with a few ways to make me feel special throughout the year and during the busy birthday/holiday season, so I wasn’t overlooked. Read on to discover the ways we made my December birthday special growing up.
Avoiding an Overshadowed December Birthday
Having a half-birthday in June to celebrate throughout the year
I’m pretty sure I was the one who decided I wanted to start having a half-birthday celebration on June 23, six months until my actual birthday, after learning about the idea of the un-birthday in Alice in Wonderland. I was just a young girl, but I realized that I could be celebrated at another time of the year—thus, June 23 became a special day for me.
Moving forward, my mom would get me a little cake and a present, and we’d do something fun on that day—nothing big, just a little something. I’ve kept the half-birthday tradition alive into adulthood too. In fact, I knew my husband was the one when I told him about my half-birthday tradition in our initial few months of dating, and on the first June 23 we were together, he made me a Funfetti cake, hung a banner, and took me out to dinner. We’ve been together 14 years, and he’s never missed a half-birthday, nor has my mom.
Wrapping presents in birthday paper and never giving a combination birthday/Christmas gift
I know wrapping paper sounds insignificant, but it has always mattered to me, so it mattered to my family too. When I was growing up, and to this day, I’ve really appreciated when my gifts are wrapped in regular birthday paper. I know most people have nothing but holiday wrapping supplies around in December, but taking the extra step to make it birthday-appropriate mattered to me. It was another way my parents made sure my December birthday wasn’t overshadowed by the holidays.
Also, giving someone with a December birthday a combined gift for both their birthday and Christmas? That was (and is) a big no-no. Just don’t do it. Because you certainly wouldn’t give someone a combination birthday and Christmas gift if their birthday was in April, would you?
Making each birthday all about birthday things and never about Christmas
To this day, I’ve never done a Christmas activity on my December 23 birthday. My parents were careful to make sure we did regular stuff or birthday stuff on that day. We’d go out to lunch, we’d have some of my friends over for a little party or we’d do whatever I wanted to do—and that would never be a typical Christmas/holiday happening. When we woke up the next day on Christmas Eve, it was all about Christmas. But on December 23, it was just my birthday, and that was important to me.
Yes, our Christmas tree is up, and yes, we’re all feeling those Christmas-y feelings, but I still avoid holiday activities on December 23, and I probably always will.
Throwing in surprises here and there
In my 39 years of life, I’ve had four surprise parties held for me—because I love surprises. And it’s also awesome because it means I don’t have to ask people to do something for my birthday—someone else asks them for me.
I’ve always felt like it’s hard to ask people (outside of my family) to make time for my birthday, being that it’s just two days before Christmas. I know most people have a ton of family/holiday/travel commitments at that time, so I’ve never been the one to put together my own birthday celebrations. That usually meant I would just do something small with my close friends or family on my actual birthday. So it means a lot to me that my parents and my husband held a couple of surprise parties for me throughout the years on or right around my birthday, which has given me a chance to have bigger parties.
And once again, as an extrovert who loves people and celebrations, having a big birthday party is a very welcome thing, especially in December, when my birthday could easily be overlooked.
I think the people in my life have always done an amazing job of making sure my December birthday is never overshadowed by the holidays. If I could change my birthday to something else during the year, I probably would. But as an adult, it’s not as big of a downer as it was as a child. And to all my fellow December babies, I’m sending you a great big happy birthday—wrapped up in regular birthday paper, of course!