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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