Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Time Birthdays

A glance at the keywords used in search engines to find this blog clearly shows that the topic of Christmas Time Birthdays (CTB’s) is heating up. My addition to the CTB genre was My Christmas time Birthday (December 21, 2006 – the date of the blog entry, not the date of my birthday).

If you type “Christmas time birthday” into Google, my blog comes up as the very first entry, and this is of course thrilling. I am pleased to have provided information for those who are actively searching for ways to deal with the CTB situation. Presumably these are all kind people who are seeking creative suggestions for ways to enliven and enrich the birthday experience for CTB people so that we will not feel ignored and slighted and therefore become bitter and twisted. I assume that the selfish people looking to cut corners wouldn’t be doing such searches and have already sent off their insidious For Your Christmas-time Birthday combo cards.

One of my daughter’s friends has a CTB that typically falls at a time when her mother is out of town at the MLA conference. For that reason and because a lot of friends are also out of town, my daughter’s friend gets to pick whatever day she wants to celebrate her birthday and have a party. She typically chooses a day in February or March, and she is happy with that because she feels as if she has two special days.

One of my grad students also has a CTB. When we were talking about this the other day, he brought up a positive aspect of his CTB. He said that when he was a kid, he loved having a CTB because he would get presents that would be too expensive for any one holiday but that were OK for a ‘double’ event. This is how he got a Nintendo as a kid. Such thoughts did not occur to my parents, who tended to give me socks for my CTB. Maybe it is not too late for my mom to talk to his mom. Last year, my mother gave me a nautical-themed dishtowel for my birthday.

But of course this is not really about presents and attention and so on, although some of it is.

As I wrote last year, I am now very fond of my CTB because my family and I always go on a trip somewhere interesting. It is hard to feel distraught about getting a nautical-themed dishtowel for your birthday when you are spending the day on a beach in the Algarve or climbing Mayan pyramids in the Yucatan, and this year promises to be just as fun.

I am fortunate that I get to travel and enjoy my birthday in an interesting place. The #2 item on Google for CTB keywords is an article about how hard it is for people without much money to provide a festive day for their CTB kids. It is possible to have a fun and happy day without a lot of gifts, and it is also possible – and essential – to avoid making your child feel like they are a problem because of the timing of their birthday.


LZ Blogger said...

Jimmy Buffett was born on Christmas! Just wanted to wish you and your family a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ jb///

Anonymous said...

A dishtowel - well, that's useful at least.

My mother used to always give me "weird" jewelery and clothes (in sizes too small for the real me), as she always perceived what I wore to be "weird". I would rather have had a dishtowel.

For my dissertation she got me a box of chocolates. Yes, I like chocolate. But for 7 years of blood, sweat, and tears?

Scares the hell out of me every time I get a present for my teenager, as he does not like my taste in presents..... Am I like my mother?

HmAePrPrYy cBhIrRiTsHtDmAaYs!!

B said...

I think it's fair to send out combo thank you cards if your are a CBT. Thanks for the birthday gift X and the Christmas stuff too. I save on thank you cards and stamps! ha ha!

Unknown said...

My husband has a CBT. On his birthday we do whatever he wants to do for the day. He doesn't like to travel, so I let him set the agenda at home. And then I make sure his birthday gift is better than his Christmas gift even if it takes advanced financial planning. Usually his father and brother give him combo gifts and I want him to have something special on his birthday.

I have something a little different. I have what was usually a multi-birthday growing up. This is when you share your birthday with someone else. That someone else was my sister. We were born 10 days and 7 years apart. Then my niece and nephew were born the day after each of our birthdays (same brother even).

While now I think it's kind of cool, as a kid it sucked. I had to compromised on any birthday plans and I remember whining that I didn't want my niece born so close to my birthday. Now, I think it's great, of course, and I'm slightly embarrassed.

But then I also now share birthdays with my mother-in-law, which is cool and all, but then it means I have to make plans with someone who is very indecisive. Sometimes that's kind of a pain.

And, although it's not really nearly as big of a deal as Christmas, my birthday is also right near Valentine's Day, which my husband has been very understanding about not combining.

ScienceGirl said...

I too have a CTB! A few years ago I started a semi-serious tradition of celebrating half-birthdays instead. It is amazingly nice to get summer presents for a change (although Hubby is the only one playing along with this illusion), plus I am not really getting older on that day :)

Happy Birthday!

Female Science Professor said...

europeanfemalescienceprofessor: It's a NAUTICAL-THEMED DISHTOWEL. Red lobsters (i.e., DEAD ones) and fish with evil smiles. It brings back memories of the fourth worst summer job I ever had: working in a seafood restaurant, dressed in a polyester dress that made me look and feel like a cooked lobster. It is a cruel dishtowel indeed.

Anonymous said...

a nautical-themed dish towel? pshaw, what she gave you is a wonderfully charming annecdote. Not to mention a standard against which you can always measure the gifts you give favorably.

Sure, it *looks* likea dishtowel, but it is so much more! =)

happy birthday!

Female Science Professor said...

Thank you for putting the situation into perspective. You are right. The dishtowel was much better than the water color painting of the jalapeno pepper that she gave me the year before.

Anonymous said...

That was your fourth-worst summer job?!? I just have to hear about the three that were worse than that!

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Happy Birthday!

If it's any consolation, my birthday's in February and I still got combo presents a lot of the time!

AS for sharing birthdays, a good friend of mine is due to give birth 2 days before my birthday. I'm really hoping she can hold out and provide me with a birthday buddy!

mentaer said...

I am shareing birthday with my cousin and my grandma. It actually turned out to be cool. a) You will not forget the birthdays of the others. b) at larger family celebrations (every 5th years my grandma gets older) we got gifts as well, while usually the others don't get. :) Seems to be better than a CBD day. Btw.: my brother is born on Christmas Eve (note: we get the gifts on that day). So we used to celebrate his birthday till tea-time and afterwards we celebrate X-mas eve.
ohh.. i forgot: Happy Birthday FSP!

Anonymous said...

Hoo boy. My CTB is Dec 24 and this has caused neverending whining from my husband. Me, I tend to forget about my CTB, except until it's present time. We have discussed the halfway birthday lots of times and might just try it one of these years. I LOVE the idea of joint thank you notes!

Ms.PhD said...

oh god! I'm still laughing at the dishtowel. That is exactly the sort of thing my family would give as a gift.

... ok, I just read the 'watercolor painting of a jalapeno pepper', which, while it makes a very rhythmic turn of phrase, has me laughing hysterically...

i'm soooo sorry! your mother sounds like she deserves the rating they give on Project Runway:"The taste level just is not there."


Anonymous said...

"Red lobsters (i.e., DEAD ones)"

Not just dead. Murdered. MURDERED, I say!

(they don't turned red unless they're boiled, right? lobsters dead from natural causes are probably just a paler lobstery color)

emile said...

I have two kids (3y and 1y) with CTBs, eldest Dec. 24 and youngest Dec. 30, so I'm always interested in hearing what grown CTBers liked/didn't like about how it was handled for them.

So far (not much pressure yet) we've settled for very non-christmas style celebrating. This year we had fireworks and a pinata for the birthday bash. You haven't lived until you've had a party for 3 year olds with a pinata!