Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Christmas time birthday

FemaleScienceProfessor inspired me to write about this since she also has a Christmas time birthday. Christmas and my birthday are so intertwined that I usually can't recall which gifts I received for my birthday and which I received for Christmas. When I was a kid, I loved having a Christmas time birthday because I got to celebrate with my extended family. We would have my birthday at lunch and Christmas at dinner, or vice versa. On my sixteenth birthday I sadly realized that my extended family did not gather to celebrate my birthday, as I had deluded myself into thinking for the first 16 years of my life. It really was all about Christmas. Everyone sang happy birthday to me, I blew out the candles on my angelfood cake (which I had nearly every year to accommodate my diabetic cousin), everyone threw my gifts at me, and then all my cousins got up and left the kids table and none of the adults noticed that I was sitting there with a cake and unopened presents. I wasn't as excited about celebrating with my extended family after that. Still, I think I have celebrated at least 20 of my birthdays with them.

On the positive side, I know I received more birthday gifts from my extended family because they couldn't forget about it. My family rarely sent birthday gifts to my cousins, but I received birthday gifts from each aunt and uncle on my dad's side of the family until just a few years ago.

As a kid the biggest drawback I saw was that I only received presents at one time of the year. My Christmas and birthday gifts were purchased at the same time so I didn't ever get to ask for something for my birthday that I didn't receive for Christmas. This wasn't such a big deal once I had a job and purchasing power, but as a kid without much money to buy things for myself I saw this once-a-year gift receiving as a major drawback. One year I had a half-birthday party so I got to celebrate in June instead of December. When I was in high school we started celebrating my birthday about a month after my real birthday so that it was separated from the Christmas hype.

At this point in my life it seems to be a wash. I think some of my friends remember my birthday precisely because it's so close to Christmas, whereas they might forget it if it weren't. Sometimes I receive combo gifts from friends but I don't mind since I might not otherwise receive anything. My family has always been good about not combining gifts and Jon has given me some awesome birthday gifts. I don't really mind my Christmas time birthday. It's a great topic of conversation for bonding with other Christmas time birthday babies.

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