The year she was born, her parents were looking forward to sharing Christmas with a newborn. But Keli Morris of Savannah, Missouri, must not have gotten the memo, because rather than arriving on her due date a week before the holiday, she didn’t make her appearance until Dec. 27.
Still, the timing of her arrival put her squarely in the Christmas-season birthday club.
As someone who happens to share her birthday, I chatted with Morris about our individual experiences with it — and the reasons a Christmastime birthday doesn’t have to be the bummer some make it out to be.
The more the merrier
This adage holds as true for celebration as it does for anything else. And for those of us with a birthday around Christmas, there’s an opportunity to add some extra joy to the season.
For me, as a kid who always highly anticipated Christmas, having a birthday two days afterward helped assuage the let-down of the holiday passing — because Dec. 26 wasn’t just the day after Christmas, it was Birthday Eve. About 20 family members were at my house for Christmas each year, and they all returned two days later for my birthday. So it really was like a continuation of the celebration (although of course I was the only one receiving gifts the second time around!).
In my family, I was unique in having this big party on my birthday each year; we didn’t do that for anyone else. But having a birthday that fell when everyone had time off from school and work made it a perfect opportunity to fit in more family time.
Morris noted that she had a similar experience celebrating her birthday. Although she didn’t necessarily see her entire extended family again on her actual birthday, they did carve out time to celebrate her when they were all together for Christmas.
“It was special getting to see all of my cousins around my birthday,” she said. “And I remember always getting more gifts than anyone else, because my family would give me birthday gifts too.”
A little intentionality goes a long way
Complaints about Christmastime birthdays usually arise from the birthday being overlooked or somehow lumped in with holiday. But it doesn’t take much to treat the birthday as a separate occasion, such as by wrapping gifts in birthday paper rather than Christmas paper and by having a birthday cake even if Christmas goodies are around.
And even if a birthday falls on Christmas Day, making time to celebrate that person specifically can keep the birthday boy or girl from feeling forgotten.
“It doesn’t have to be the whole day; just carving out a moment goes a long way,” Morris said.
If all else fails, adopt another birthday
While neither Morris nor I have ever had a problem with the timing of our birthday, for those who do, it’s always an option to celebrate at another time of year — such as on a half-birthday.
Morris noted that several years ago, her mother-in-law decided this needed to happen for her.
So now, she receives half of her gifts from her mother-in-law on her birthday in December and the other half on her half-birthday in June.
I too have been the recipient of half-birthday gifts from time to time (although I always chalked it up as being more of a spoiled only-child thing than a Christmas-birthday thing!). Celebrating a half-birthday was also a nice option for choosing an activity that couldn’t happen in the winter — such as when my parents took me and my best friend to Worlds of Fun for my half birthday when I was about 10.
For both me and Morris, though, the bottom line is that our birthday is when it is — and thanks to our families, it’s never been a negative issue.
“It’s the only birthday I’ve known, and they’ve always made it special,” she said.