Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Christmas time Birthday

I am one of those lucky people who has a birthday squashed in between Christmas and New Years. We late December birthday people are getting more and more company all the time. There is a news article today about how that week is becoming the most popular week of the entire year for births, and that statistically significant numbers of parents are having births induced just before the first of the year so as to get tax breaks. In fact, that's what my very practical mother did lo these many decades ago.

I like my birthday, though that doesn't mean that I have not at times felt scorn, disgust, and disappointment with those who treated it like an inconvenience or as an opportunity to efficiently combine Christmas-birthday celebrations. In fact, I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for the creator of "For Your Christmas Time Birthday" cards (especially the ones with birthday cakes surrounded by poinsettias and holly).

Given that we are fast approaching late December and the Holiday Season, I would like to provide parents, other relatives, and friends of people with late December birthdays with some helpful hints for how to be more sensitive about the situation.

Hint #1: If you sigh and say "I'm just too busy dealing with gifts for Christmas and planning my holiday parties to think about your birthday now, but I'll try to send you a card in January" or otherwise act like we are burdening you with our inconvenient birthday, we will hate you.

Hint #2: If you give someone a card/gift and say "This is for Christmas AND your birthday", we will hate you.

Hint #3: If you take your own useless Christmas gifts and stick birthday wrapping paper on them and give them to us, we will hate you.


Most - but not all - of that was meant as a joke.

In recent years, I have become exceedingly fond of my birthday because it is during the semester break. Many years ago when I was celebrating a Milestone Birthday, I decided I wanted to spend it in an ancient place, surrounded by ruins and History and beautiful landscapes and culture, so my husband and I went to Greece. Then life got busy with a baby and new jobs and getting tenure and stuff like that, so I didn't really do anything exciting for my birthday until my next Milestone Birthday. Then I decided I wanted to spend it in an ancient place, surrounded by ruins and History and beautiful landscapes and culture and so on, so my husband and daughter and I went to Italy. We had so much fun that we have gone somewhere fun and interesting every year since. Next week: Portugal.

My relatives will just have to regift their unwanted toasters and embroidered Santa socks to someone else. Five of my relatives have birthdays in January..

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Every month can have its difficulties: My birhtday is in July, just a week after my younger cousin's, so people usually "efficiently combined" both celebrations and made one cake for the two of us. Not. Funny. Especially since it was redcurrant cake that we just knew would have been made anyway, with all these ripe redcurrants about.

Thanks for the advice on asking for another reference letter in addition to the short one from my advisor. I did that, and I'll see how it turns out.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Have a wonderful time in Portugal. It's one of my favorite places to visit. If you're in the Lisbon area, you simply must go to Sintra for a day and climb all the way up to the Castelo dos Mouros, and while you're up there may as well visit Pena Palace.

And if you get a chance to visit Coimbra, the old university there is amazing.

Lisa said...

I love having a birthday between Christmas and New Year's. I used to get an extra party because we would still be visiting relatives on my birthday, and nobody can be at my grandma+grandpa's house on their birthday without a party (or at least their choice of dinner and a cake). Then, everyone would feel sorry for me for having a poorly timed birthday :).
Perhaps your family lived close enough that this effect wasn't relevant :(.
Finals week in undergrad was the same way--you got out of classes and homework so it was the easist week ever, but everyone felt sorry for you and gave you cookies and candy. And when it was over you got to go home. I loved finals week . . .
Happy Birthday early!

B said...

I have a Dec birthday too, and as a kid the birthday-chirstmas present combo was the worst. All of my 4 sibs got great B-Day gifts unhindered by Christmas. Although now it doesn't really bug me too much.

Nicole said...

Happy Birthday to you, my science friend! Hope your next trip around the sun is better than the last.

Carrie said...

My husband's birthday is Dec 23. I wish it were one week later, but what can you do? His own mother sent him a combo Christmas/birthday card -- can you believe it? We never do that -- dh's birthday is HIS birthday and not to be combined with any other holiday. Have a great vacation!

ScienceWoman said...

As someone whose child may come very close to the New Year, I wanted to say thanks for this post. I would never dream of combining the two, but I know other people would. This year, though, we are so excited about Mini's upcoming birthday that we are pretty much just skipping Christmas.

Darweesh Qaimari said...

Bless you this New Year from the city of Jerusalem, the city of Jesus Christ, although I am a Muslim youth, but this did not prevent the celebration of the new year and the birth of Jesus Christ-peace be upon him, I wish prosperity and happiness of all the inhabitants of the land and freedom for people in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Free Palestine T-shirts, Free Lebanon T-shirts

admin1 said...

FemaleScienceProfessor: "...ruins and History and beautiful landscapes and culture and so on"

Happy Birthday. If you haven't visited already I recommend Miletus, Didyma and Priene for your next milestone birthday travel in the ruins and history. I was there last year. It is a magical place.

Ms.PhD said...

This post made me laugh. It's even funnier if you're not joking.

I am jealous of all this traveling, as I'm pretty sure I'm past one of your Milestone travel ages and haven't been to any of the three places you mentioned.

I myself got a regifted pair of socks, I think, but fortunately they don't have Santa on them. And it's cold so I can't complain. Who looks at my socks, anyway, besides me and my freezing toes?

TW Andrews said...

Enjoy Portugal! Lisbon is fun, but I would particularly encourage you to see Porto. It's absolutely lovely.

On the Birthday thing, I as well have a near-Christmas birthday, and always thought it was cool to have my birthday rolled into Christmas. It made Christmas special to me rather that it being a generic holiday for everyone else...

Seamonkey said...

Have a great trip. I just finished reading "Cork Boat" about an interesting trip down the Duoro River in Portugal - it is all about fulfilling childhood dreams. A fun read even if it isn't a literary masterpiece.

I am glad I found your blog this year. I am hopefully headed back into academia soon. Your stories both excite and scare me, which I take to mean I am on the right track.

BhpG said...

I can appreciate your pain. As someone born in August, I'm the kid that never got the cupcakes in class, and it's made me the sad bitter twisted old grump that I am...

:)

MLight said...

I think an after-Christmas birthday would be great. I love the week between Christmas and New Year's because it's always so nice and peaceful after the Christmas rush.

My husband's birthday is a week before Christmas - in the midst of the rush. We've always celebrated the same way we celebrate every one else's birthdays - no cutting back. This year, however, was so hectic that he decided that he wanted to celebrate his birthday in April from now on. Now I have these presents to hide for the next four months.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday and hope it's a special one to all of you who have birthdays at this time of year.

Mine is on January 6th. As a child and until I complained about it in my late forties(!), I never received anything from my family on my birthday, and as a child and a younger person I seemed to accept my mother's explanation that my birthday was too close to Xmas so everyone is too tired to think about birthdays.

I became resentful later in life, but my lovely daughter always had a gift and a card for me so since her birth it has felt like a special day. Now I'm older in my fifties and my mother does manage to buy something but I can tell she still thinks my birthday is too close to Xmas. As if it is my fault!!!

So I know how you all feel. But for children who have birthdays at this time of year, please make an effort, don't let them go for decades without a decent birthday. I still feel some resentment that my birthday was totally ignored for decades, while my sister who has hers in May, was always showered with an expensive gift.

Anonymous said...

My hubby's birthday is right on Christmas, Dec.25. I've done everything from wrapping endless amounts of gifts in birthday wrapping, to taking him to Dinner with a show (Medieval Times), and I still feel he gets shorted. Unfortunately there isn't many things to do on Christmas, or is there?? Help,what else or where else can we go to celebrate?

Female Science Professor said...

Travel is by far my favorite Xmas-time birthday activity.

Anonymous said...

My birthday's on the 27th of December, and I hate it, mostly the only people who actually remember are relatives (last year even my best friends forgot to text me) and my mum hasn't thought about my birthday presents this year at all yet because of being busy with Christmas, so I'm gonna end up with the crappy stuff that no one else buys because all the good stuff's already gone! One year, one of my supposedly good friends got me a stuffed penguin wearing a Christmas scarf for my birthday. Needless to say, I was not amused.

Rose said...

Thank you for the laugh. My b-day is Dec. 25. We may share our birthday with Jesus, but also with a whole community of people who are out there complaining about our Dec. birthdays :) You want to hear a real goofy one? My b-day is Dec. 25 and my brother's is July 4. Ironically, my mother was so adamant about making sure that people never combined my gifts and since the family was getting together that day and no one wanted to cross her, that unfortunately it was my poor brother who seemed to get forgotten each year. My biggest complaint...the cards that say, "Being born on christmas is such a treat because...you never know who brought you...the stork or Santa Clause." I'd truly like to shoot the person who came up with that one. Happy Birthday all !!

Milissa said...

I love having a CTB! When you are young, everyone is off from school and able to come to your party. In college, all of your friends that you have missed are home. Many people take this week off from work- my calendar is already full of invitations for lunch and dinner. I find friends and family make a more valiant effort to remember my birthday ( which is December 27th)versus an obscure day in the middle of April that slips by everyone. Do I get the suspect regifted gifts? Of course! I just say "thank you" and donate to Good Will. Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday and Happy New Year to all my fellow CTBs out there!
Milissa

Anonymous said...

I was born Christmas day and I LOVE it. Its my favorite time of the year! And since I have to wait ALL year to celebrate I celebrate big, before Christmas, on Christmas and after Christmas! When I turned 21 I made red and green jello shots and a spiced rum birthday cake! And everyone wore a santa hat as a party hat! I like to incorporate Christmas and Birthday but I also appreciate birthday wrap and people remembering and saying Happy Birthday! And NO two in one presents! It was harder as a child my friends would give me cheap presents or rewrapped presents, but my immediate family has always been good about it. This year my pre celebration will be bar hopping with a crowd dressed as elvs and santas! On my actual birthday(christmas) I will celebrate with my family. And I havent decided what my post celebration will be yet (ice skating and dinner maybe dancing too)! Happy Birthday to everyone born on or aroound Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I was born on christmas, It sucks to be such a "hassle" and a extra burden for the rest of my family and friends. every one always feels the need to let me know it was soooooo much extra work to find a non-holiday gift. like a plain sweater or a pack of socks. So about 5 years ago i decided im not a hobbit, I will not give gifts on my birthday. And to make it better, I've never had a birthday party. not unless you count christmas morning when everyone opens their gifts. Ive asked for the 1/2 birthday party in july. parents please try the 1/2 birthday party if you just cant manage the real thing.

Anonymous said...

My birthday is January 1st and I hate it. I didn't have a problem as a child, my mom always having a party for me. The problem is now. I'm 61 and feel that it truly is an inconvenience. Everyone is too tired, too partied out and have even admitted they are. This year some close family members didn't even ask what I was doing for my birthday. I know they have had a busy schedule, but being told that they just want to catch up on their sleep and stay in bed kind of hurts. We had a blow up about it this year which now makes me look and feel like a big baby. I always ask and make some plans for their special days which is causing me more resentment. The rest of the year we are a close knit loving family and this whole situation is just weird. A few times my husband and I have gone away just to avoid this situation. Anyway, my lovely daughter asked and we are going out for dinner. The others have been told of our plans but not sure if they are coming.