Holidays are harrowing for December babies



At the risk of sounding like a Scrooge, I confess that I hate my December birthday. Blasphemous, I know, but hear me out. My lack of enthusiasm does not stem from a hatred of the holidays; I love the Christmas spirit just as much as the next person. But when a Fraser Fir casts its six-foot shadow on the month of December, planning a birthday party loses any semblance of celebration.

These days, holiday decorations are up in stores before Halloween candy is put out because Americans are anxious for Christmas. The Raleigh Christmas Parade happens before Thanksgiving, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade stars Santa and his reindeer. By the time December rolls around, the halls are decked to maximum capacity with lights, tinsel, and pine-scented Air Wick. Starting on December 1, holiday parties consume every weekend, and scheduling a birthday party becomes an excruciatingly difficult task.

In third grade, I invited a dozen friends to my birthday celebration at the Great Wolf Lodge, but due to holiday plans, recitals, and parades, only two attended. As you can imagine, that year was a turning point in the way I view my birthday. It was no longer something fun to celebrate, but a burden, difficult to coordinate and with dismal results.

People born in other months will never understand what it’s like to receive all your birthday presents at family Christmas gatherings, or to constantly have friends and classmates suggest a “Christmas-themed” birthday when you ask for party ideas. I can only imagine it must be similar to what twins experience on their shared birthday — no matter how beautiful and exciting the celebration, it never belongs to you alone. With December birthdays, the Christmas elephant is always in the room.

Yes, December babies benefit from the colorful lights, delicious smells, and welcoming spirit of the holiday season, but our birthdays can be disheartening and stressful. For better or for worse, I can never change my December birthday, so I must accept it as part of who I am.