Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Birthday? Merry Christmas.

December is a wonderful month celebrating Hanukah, and the birth of Christ, and Kwanza. Thirty one days filled with good will, thoughtful gestures, sharing, excitement, presents, and parties. Sometimes it seems every weekend is taken up with parties, visits, must-do lists, and family gatherings. A month devoted to eating rich food like candy, cakes, and holiday breads, plus going to restaurants, family dinners, and at work pot lucks.

Oh! You have a December birthday? That must really suck. I have two cousins, two brothers, and a partner born in December, plus several good friends. For some it never mattered, some are ambivalent, but others hate having their December birthday--especially when their birthday gift doubles as a Christmas present. And it must be very easy for your birthday to seem less important when so much Christmas celebrating is taking place. How can birthday cake measure up to any of that? Has your December birthday been played down, overlooked, or even... forgotten?

My birthday is in August. There also isn't much going on in August but summer. It was forgotten once, anyhow. I think I was fourteen or fifteen, and our town's sidewalk sales fell on my birthday one year. My parents, being shop owners, worked like dogs during that time. I knew it. I helped. I was washing the dinner dishes when I heard my mom say, "Oh my God, we forgot Robin's birthday." They looked horrified, and exhausted from the day's work. Somehow my missed day didn't matter, and I let them know that. I imagine it is very easy to miss a December birthday. How horrible for everyone!

That doesn't make December the best month to celebrate a birthday. Yet each birthday should be a 'special' occasion of celebration. It's especially hard for children who have siblings born in other, less hectic months. Their sibling's big day is separated by months from the second great day of receiving in December. If you get what you want for your December birthday, what do you ask Santa to bring for Christmas? Christmas decorations often go up before December starts, so even if a party is planned, Christmas is often playing in the background.

It must be hard on parents, too. Does Brian get the big toy he really, really wants for his birthday, or for Christmas? How about the clothes he isn't so crazy about, birthday or Christmas? Plus it must be hard to be in Christmas shopping, decorating, entertaining mode, and have to remember birthday must remain separate.

Maybe December birthdays have one blessing. Many gifted people have (or had for historical celebrities) birthdays this month. Look at all the famous people born in December:  Bette Midler (1st), Julianne Moore (2nd), Jeff Bridges (4th), General George Armstrong Custer, Walt Disney and Little Richard (5th) (is there some cosmic coincidence joke here?), Ira Gershwin (6th), Mary Queen of Scotts (8th), Donny Osmond and Beau Bridges (9th), Patty Duke (14th), Tim Conway (15th), Jane Austen and Benjamin Bratt (16th), Brad Pitt (18th), Jake Gyllenhall (19th), Joseph Stalin and Jane Fonda (21st), Kit Carson, Howard Huges, and Ricky Martin (24th), Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Ripley (Believe it or Not!), Cab Calloway, Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Mandrell and Annie Lennox (25th), Mao Tse-tung, Steve Allen, and Allen King (26th), Louis Pasteur (27th), Woodrow Wilson, Maggie Smith, and Denzel Washington (28th), Rudyard Kipling, Bo Diddley, Mat Lawer, and Tiger Woods (30th) AND Henri Matisse, (favorite artist), Diane von Furstenburg, John Denver, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, Val Kilmer and Tim Matheson (31th). What a line up! Perhaps December is the gateway to fame and fortune.

For those of you with friends and family celebrating December birthdays, remember the best gift you can give is your undivided attention and time, even if it is only for a few hours (send a card and make a phone call if you can't visit in person.) Happy Birthday to everyone with December birthdays!
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Wendy said...

My Mum's birthday was Dec 17th. She was a twin. It must have been hard enough being one of 5 daughters at Christmas time and sharing her birthday with her twin. When I grew up, I had my mother came to visit (from a distance, and she stayed for a few day for her birthday. She took her Christmas present home and opened that on Christmas Day, where she was surrounded by her church friends. My daughter's birthday is on New Years Day when most of the restaurants are closed, but her dad and I always spend it with her, either as a family gathering or just by ourselves and usually find a Chinese restaurant open. During the year at a non specific time I give her a 'happy unbirthday' present (idea from Alice in Wonderland)
I agree with you, though, Robin, people with birthdays close to Christmas should be made to feel just that little bit more special than the rest of us. Nevertheless, I'm really glad I'm a Gemini!

Happy Birthday Shout Out to all of you Cusp Sagittarians and Capricornians!! 3 Cheers. Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip Hooray!

Liz Coldwell said...

My birthday is just before Christmas, so when I was little, my parents used to throw me a party in the middle of summer. It mean I got a celebration that wasn't all tied up with the regular Christmas festivities. Maybe I should persuade people to start doing that again?

And enjoy the festive season, Rhobin!

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

one thing i noticed while reading the list of who has birthdays in Dec is what a wide range of different types of personalities. Stalin and John Denver? Just how far apart can that be? Some great people in there though, some my favorites.

Rosalie Skinner said...

So hard to remember those with birthdays close to Christmas or New Year. I know of one friend who used to get a shirt for birthday and the pants that went with it, for Christmas. Sounds pretty disappointing so I try not to mix and match.

Rhobin said...

December birthdays (I suppose like all birthdays) come in in both tales of wonderful and of woe. Always interesting to hear both, thanks everyone for your comments.

Fiona said...

My birthday is December 30. On the plus side, my mum was always very adamant that people buy me separate birthday and Christmas gifts. Now, the week from Christmas to New Year feels like one long celebration.

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all those people with December birthdays! I have several relatives and friends who have December birthdays. At one time, I even dated a guy that was born on Christmas day. Talk about trying to keep Christmas and birthday gifts seperate!

Lin said...

Thank you for not adding December 12th, Frank Sinatra. All my life I have heard how I should be grateful I was born on December 12th and share Frank Sinatra's birthday. I'm gonna be honest. I cannot tell you of one single time when having this dubious connection to Old Blue Eyes did me a lick of why do people STILL tell me that I should be proud I was born on the same day Frank Sinatra was born? I promise you I did NOT even get a mention in his will!