Though I often receive condolences from friends that discover I have a birthday that falls exactly a week before Christmas Eve, I’ve never felt particularly cursed by the day of my birth. In all honesty, I always thought that having a birthday so close to Christmas was a blessing in disguise.

It’s a commonly known fact that as a child, the worst part of Christmas is the waiting, the tallying of days, the pained glances at the calendar. With how early the Christmas season starts nowadays, we spend a good month and a half earnestly anticipating jolly old Saint Nick’s arrival.

Having a birthday directly before Christmas was always something to hold me over before December’s main event. It was like pre-Christmas, almost as if I got to open a few of my presents before everyone else.

Of course, this always relegated my birthday to the status of a “second class” holiday that was almost always overshadowed by normal Yuletide celebrations. I, myself, actually forgot the exact date of my birthday one year, writing in large letters “MY BIRTHDAY!” surrounded by balloons on December 8 instead of on December 17.  

For the most part, I accepted that my yearly birthday celebration would consist of a night out to a Chinese restaurant with my family. By fifth grade, I was willing to be done with the stress of the Herculean task of scheduling a December birthday party that didn’t overlap with any holiday parties or travel plans.  

The only time I truly felt the sting of jealousy was when my younger brothers’ birthdays rolled around. They both had the good fortune of being June babies, which of course meant pool parties and cake-eating in the sun.

Maybe I’d be more envious if I knew what having a non-December birthday was like. As it stands, I’m as likely as anyone to forget my own birthday and kind of treat it as a pleasant surprise that breaks up the Christmas anticipation. December is a fun month for me; any reason to celebrate is welcome during the darkest time of the year.

If you know anybody born in December, go out of your way to wish them a happy birthday separately from Christmas. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!

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