Advice for Christmas babies
I was born on December 25, 1975, Christmas Day. It made the front page of the Nashua Telegraph, our hometown newspaper. It’s pretty much guaranteed to draw a comment whenever I’m asked to enter my birth date on a form. One nice side effect is that everyone remembers when your birthday is. Here is some free advice for all of the Christmas babies born today, in the past, or in the future.
Famous Christmas Babies
I share a birthday with Clara Barton, Rick Berman, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Buffet, Armin Van Buuren, Dido, Ricky Henderson, Annie Lennox, Carl Rove, Sissy Spacek, Rod Sterling, Justin Trudeau, and of course — Jesus Christ. My name was going to be Joshua “Chad” Baer but my parents changed my middle name to “Dana” at the last minute so that my initials wouldn’t be “J.C.”
For Jews, Muslims & others
I’m Jewish so growing up my family was still totally focused on me on my birthday as a kid. My dad would always joke that, “The whole world is celebrating your birthday!” My parents tried hard to make sure the day was always special for me.
I imagine this is the worst. Not only are all of you friends busy on your birthday, but all of your family have their attention split as well. My wife is Christian so we celebrate both sets of holidays in our home. This changed everything about the day for me compared to before. Now I have family obligations to celebrate Christmas Eve, go to church, go to Christmas dinners. It’s pretty hard to pretend that the day is all about me the way you sometimes want to on your birthday.
This was probably the worst part. It gets better — hang in there!
As a little kid, it’s hard to share your birthday with, well, the rest of the world. It’s also hard not to feel like you get less presents because your birthday is so close to Hanukkah and Christmas gift giving which results in a lot of “combined” gifts. On the other hand, many people are aware of this and try to make sure you don’t feel that way.
As a Jewish kid, it really wasn’t so bad although it still messed with birthday parties — obviously I never celebrated my birthday in school on my actual birthday and we would would always schedule parties a few weeks earlier or later. However, this isn’t much worse than my daughter who is born in mid-August so she’s never in school for her birthday either.
Living on your own
The college years were the beginning of the best birthday period. As a young adult you probably have the most flexibility about where you celebrate holidays and who you celebrate them with. For me, that usually meant a very quiet day of reflection and indulgence — sleep late, eat my favorite foods, watch movies or play video games. With my work schedule and other commitments, it’s always been pretty rare that I could take a whole day off. My birthday was always a “free pass” to relax and recharge and not try to be productive.
If your family is Christian and you have kids, everything about the day changes. Christmas for young kids is all about Santa Claus and that means staying up all night on Christmas Eve assembling presents and spending Christmas morning opening them. In our family, Christmas Eve is time to exchange family presents, Christmas morning is the time to open presents from Santa, and Christmas evening is time to celebrate my birthday by going out to a favorite restaurant for dinner with close friends and family. As my wife Amy says, my birthday is “a negotiation.” I wouldn’t change it for an instant, but from a pure birthday perspective I got cut by 50% and now only have half the day.
It’s not just Christmas
I really don’t have much to complain about. Of course, most of this would apply to anyone born on or near any holiday. It’s just a little worse with Christmas because it’s the main gift giving holiday. My wife Amy was born on July 7, which is basically like being born on the 4th of July. My best friend Rob Eanes was born on December 30, which is basically like being born on New Year’s Day (and Christmas, too). Brett Hurt was born on Valentine’s Day and my cousin Evan Alter was born on St. Patrick’s Day.
Overall, I actually love my birthday and wouldn’t change it. Good thing, because I can’t!
Thank you to Jason Stoddard for the inspiration for this post and congratulations on your new Christmas baby!
Were you born on Christmas? Do you know someone who was? Share your stories and advice in the comments below.