Tis the season…To have people forget your birthday?
My birthday is between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, in the middle of Kwanzaa. It’s surrounded by an air of good cheer and a flurry of celebrations. So you’d think it would be extra festive, right?
In truth, holiday birthdays aren’t always doomed. It can be easy enough to avoid making them feel less than special. In fact, I’d say the things that made them challenging when I was a kid, either don’t matter much to me now or are just easier to work around these days.
The worst part about having a birthday this time of year when I was a kid is that I didn’t get to spend the day with my friends. We were on winter break from school, so we weren’t together! Even if we wanted to try to get together outside of school, families were usually so busy or exhausted from other holiday plans that they weren’t available.
At school, I do recall teachers usually finding a way to cram group celebrations into the already busy year end schedule, for the students with birthdays over break. For many years, outside of school, I tried having birthday parties either far before or long after my actual birthday. As a workaround, it is as worthy a solution as any. People with “normal” birthdays do it all the time. The difference with holiday birthdays is, depending on when yours falls, you may be talking about celebrating months away from the actual day, leaving your real birthday, once again, feeling lonely.
Now this is one that doesn’t bother me much anymore. As an adult, I’ll take a dinner date or a thoughtful note over just about any material gift. But as a child, gifts split over multiple occasions felt like a bit of a bummer.
Like that sweatshirt we just gave you for Christmas? Then you’ll love getting the matching sweatpants you unwrap a few days later for your birthday! How about a lovely charm bracelet today….with some extra charms held for later?
To this day, I’m not sure which was more odd: Splitting the gifts up, or big family Christmases where I was invited to open my birthday gifts, with the tree as a backdrop, after all the rest of the kids had opened their holiday gifts — since we were all already there together anyway.
Past awkwardness aside, I’m actually really glad my birthday is when it is. I have a fun story of being born in a blizzard! Some friends tended to remember it even better because it was associated with other important dates. And any challenges I had growing up only helped me figure out what’s most important to me when it comes to celebrating… well, me.
Time is my favorite gift. Someone having taken time to notice, remember, reach out — that’s how I feel truly celebrated. Maybe that’s how everyone feels once they reach a certain age. Perhaps it develops from being a mom. Whatever the root, I know I feel it deeply, especially after years of feeling lost in the shuffle.
Best of the Rest
That’s not to say all of my birthdays have been anticlimactic! My closest family and friends never let me down on my birthday, then or now. I’m truly thankful for those wonderful people in my life who go out of their way to help me feel special, usually at time overflowing with other stressors and commitments.
And it’s easier now than ever to let someone know you care about them on their birthday! Between mail, email, texts, posts, and virtual parties, you can celebrate someone in so many ways! So, let this be your reminder. Whether it’s another mom, a friend, relative, child: Make a note in your calendar, put a post-it on your desk, do whatever works to remember. This year, and every year, to send the sweetest wishes possible to your favorite Winter Babies, so they feel as unforgettable as they really are.
And if you are the one in need of celebrating, here’s your own reminder to shout it from the rooftop! Because I see you, you beautiful Holiday Birthday Babies! Happy Birthday!