dead santa

People who are born on December 25th often have a decided love-hate relationship with Christmas. We become accustomed to having the date of our birth forgotten by everyone, including parents, in the great maelstrom which is the winter holiday season. When most other dates come to mind, someone invariably thinks, "Oh, that's near so-and-so's birthday!" When December 25th is mentioned, the event of your arrival is usually dead last in the list of things remembered.

If you have a friend or relative unlucky enough to be born on or near that date, here are some tips for helping then survive their birthday season:

1) This is the most important one: give them two presents, even if one is a toothpick. Wrap one in Christmas wrap but the other one in anything else -- foil, brown paper, anything. Never, ever buy a Christmas baby a "birthday/Christmas present." Yes, we know, you either forgot our birthday then scribbled the birthday part on the Christmas tag on your way up the drive, or you saw our birthday as an opportunity to save a buck or two in this money-strapped season, but, for the sake of your friend, please resist the temptation. We're onto you. At best, we were an afterthought. At worst, we weren't worth the gift-giving attention you bestow on your other friends and relatives.

2) No Christmas symbolism on birthday cakes or party decorations. We grow up with a particular disdain for Santa and most Christmas iconography. We tend to have it plastered all over our birthday cakes. When it's not Santa, it's Rudolph the non-existent-reindeer, an elf or a poinsettia. On the worst years, it's an amalgam of at least three of those elements in one. The symbols extend beyond the cake, too, onto napkins, plates, decorations, and the like. Probably the most annoying element in this category is the hated Christmas-Birthday card. Just because they exist, doesn't mean you should send one to a Christmas baby. Trust me, he or she has seen it -- many times. Doesn't matter how new it is, they've seen it.

3) No, we don't want to have un-birthdays. Many was the time my friend or relative tried to throw me a late-summer "half-birthday" party. It has no meaning to me. I wasn't born then. For better or worse, I was born December 25th.

4) At parties, unless they are filled with good friends and relatives, don't announce our birthday at Christmas parties. It feels like being the only orphan on Mother's Day. We get sad, pitying looks and awkward, "hey, happy birthday!" slaps on the back while people head nervously off in their cars to buzz the only open store to return with hastily scribbled makeshift birthday cards (one year, I got a Happy New Year card with the "New Year" crossed-out and the "Birthday" scribbled in). If you forgot, you forgot. We are all human. Christmas babies are accustomed to having our birthdays forgotten.

5) Don't make a big deal about our birthday beyond what you would for others. As I've mentioned, we're sort of used to not being noticed for having a birthday. Just remembering a small extra present or to put almost anything but Santa and the reindeer on a cake or these few other things I've mentioned will be all that are necessary to smooth over the rough path of a Christmas birthday for your friend or relative.

An added suggestion for the Christmas baby who must contend with the day alone. If you live in California, there are many special events on Christmas where you can drown yourself in your birthday sorrows. Some have great birthday discounts. There may be similar events in your area, too. As depressing as Christmas is for many people, it's even worse for the December 25 birthday folk.

In the words of my friend Ovis on Youtube, it just pretty much sucks to be born around Christmas.