Christmas Birthdays are Cool!
December 8, 2011 § 6 Comments
You might not think so, but Christmas Birthdays are COOL! Everyone is in a good mood (mostly). Everyone decorates for the season (mostly). And special bargains abound for present givers. And the best of all, the birthday child gets to celebrate a special bond with the meaning of Christmas – “For unto us a child is born”. As a child, I always liked to think they were singing that song in the Messiah for me, too. My birthday is December 23rd.
But having a birthday during Christmas celebrations can pose problems.
First problem – when to give the birthday party. Oh, yes! There must be one, else the birthday child will feel cheated. My brother’s birthday is in April – he always got a party! My sister’s birthday is in August – well, her party was usually just family, since we were always on a family cross-country vacation then. But we made a big deal about it!
[Actually, I did give her a party one year – with cake and presents – when she was a camper and I a camp counselor at Camp Crestridge for Girls in NC. That party included all of her camp friends and I think she enjoyed it.]
But birthday children whose big day is just before or after, or even ON Christmas Day, need a party, too.
Mother’s solution – I got a party two weeks before the actual day, so that all my friends in school and church could come. Of course, that posed another dilemma – what to do on the actual day? No problem! Celebrate again – just family this time – with a special dinner, followed by my favorite – Mom’s Chocolate Pudding Pie with whipped cream topping – MMMMM GOOOOOOD – and she even put another candle in the middle. So, actually, I had two birthday parties – not bad!
Second Problem – presents. Now, I’ve heard of families giving one big present for both, but is that fair? Mother didn’t think so. “If you give MLS one present for both, then consider your Christmas present from her as your birthday present as well,” she’d tell my siblings. I got two presents each from David and Sarah.
Fast forward from childhood to graduate-student-hood. Sarah and I were planning a ski trip for the week following Christmas and I wanted my own ski boots. Now, by this time, I had developed a tradition, that of giving myself a birthday present. I usually waited until I received other presents before deciding, but this present would be something I knew no one would think of and was really too expensive anyway to expect anyone to give. Such a present were the ski boots, but as a graduate student on limited funds, how was I going to afford them?
Sister to the rescue. She was also in grad school, in Fort Worth, and when I finished my classes at the University of Texas opera theater, I drove up from Austin to visit her. We went to the mall (doesn’t everybody?) and there, in a sports shop, I found a pair of ski boots that just were perfect – but without a perfect price.
“You go away now,” SNS said. “Shoo! I’ll meet you at El Chico’s.”
“You can’t afford them,” I said.
“Never you mind!” she responded.
On December 23, after my birthday dinner with the family, out came the presents (gone were the days of the two-week-prior-party-for-school-friends. Too old for those at 24!). When I opened Sarah’s present there were the ski boots – or I should say the “ski boot”! Two days later, I received the other boot for Christmas. Fair is fair – two boots, two presents. And exactly what I wanted!
Two weeks from tomorrow, I will celebrate my birthday with Tom and Sarah. We’ll go out to a favorite restaurant (Ipanema’s in Ocala, I hope … great Brazilian food) and afterward return home for “cake” and presents. I say “cake” because sometimes it’s a Chocolate Pudding Pie (Marie Callender’s is about as close to mother’s as you can get!).
The point, of course, is that all birthdays are special, even the ones that fall on holidays.
This year, I’m already gearing up. Next week we will begin the “house decorations tour” in The Villages and surrounding areas. We’ll sing carols and light Advent candles in church, and on Christmas morning, our church choir will present a cantata.
And during all of this fun and frolic and remembering the reason for this best of all seasons, I’ll celebrate by picking up another “Angel child” card (Sarah and I’ve already done one for Christmas) and go shopping for a child who needs some Christmas love this year. The child will receive my gifts and enjoy them, I hope, and I will enjoy giving them. However, only I will know that these gifts are for my birthday, too!