I was born on December 25, 1979.
That’s right, of the 365 days in a year, I chose to enter this world on Christmas Day.
Right now, the vast majority of you are having the following thoughts:
“Awwwww, a Christmas baby!!! What a great gift for her family!”
“It must be so fun to have a birthday on Christmas!!”
“That sucks, I bet she doesn’t get any presents for her birthday!”
How do I know that this is what you’re thinking? Am I psychic? Well, yes, a little, but that is neither here nor there right now. I know this because these are the three most common sentiments uttered when someone finds out my date of birth.
Most people don’t realize how often your use your DOB in your day to day life, because most people don’t share their birthday with Jesus himself. If you actually stop to think about it, it’s any time you EVER have to present ID and someone glances over your license. From bouncers to medical personnel, from liquor store cashiers to Bertha at the DMV, everyone has a remark about my date of birth.
I immediately see the glimmer in people’s eyes, the sheer excitement that washes over them, as they discover this tidbit of information. It’s as if they have just met someone who has been bestowed with an extra special gift from the universe.
“You were born on the same day as the Big Guy Himself?”
“How awesome, the entire world stops and celebrates your birthday!”
“It must be so nice to have your family altogether on every. Single. Birthday!?!?”
This enthusiasm is immediately extinguished when I Grinch out and utter the following words–“Well, I’m Jewish.”
Confusion ensues, instantly followed with an uncomfortable hesitation over what to say next. If it’s over the phone, there’s usually a nice long pause, during which I satisfyingly complete some irrelevant task like crocheting a king-sized Afghan. If we’re face to face, I give them the “matter of fact death stare” which usually causes the person to become redder than the poisonous Poinsettias decorating a nearby countertop.
Most people are just completely unsure of what this actually means. It’s not that they don’t understand that Judaism is a different religion; it’s that they can’t fathom that there are people who exist who don’t actually celebrate Christmas. Doesn’t everyone celebrate the awesomeness of this holiday?
First, let me reiterate that it stinks to have your birthday on Christmas, whether you celebrate or not. Having nothing to do with gifts, attempting to acknowledge and celebrate a birthday—a day that should not go unnoticed by the most important people in your life, is virtually impossible when overshadowed by what is practically the largest national holiday we have. No matter what, your day, the one day of the year when it is acceptable to indulge in somewhat selfish, narcissistic behavior, is eclipsed in LARGE part by the fact that most of the people you know are celebrating something else, something better. It’s not even a competition, if given a choice to celebrate you or to celebrate the gift-givingest, Rudolph-the-reindeer-flyingest, Santa-Claus-Down-the-chimneyest, tree-lightingest, eggnog drinking, gingerbread house making… FYI, I had already lost at “gift-giving’est”. Clearly, Christmas is numero uno, far superior to a silly little birthday celebration. Really, how can you say, “Well, it’s my birthday; tell your family you will do Christmas on the 26th!?”
Somewhat disappointing is the conversation that often occurs as a result of my birth date- I’m constantly being reminded of what a minority I am. I am proud of my heritage, my religion, and passing on my traditions to my children. However, explaining to people that Christmas is a religious holiday, not a national holiday gets somewhat tiresome. Why don’t I just let people assume I celebrate Christmas, you might be thinking? Well, because that’s like allowing people to assume that because you’re female you like pink, or because you’re a boy, you like sports. That’s just not who I am, and it’s an unfair assumption. As I said, I’m proud of who I am, and I want people to know that.
However, it is simultaneously fabulous and wonderful. Very few people learn of my birth date and don’t have some sort of comment. Whether positive or negative, everyone has an opinion about the day that I was born. My family and friends are also always, in some capacity, around. It’s not like having your birthday on June 17th, which could be a Tuesday in which everyone is off at their respective jobs. Someone is home to spend this day with me. So what if I eat Chinese food and go to the movies every year, I still get to do it with people I love. Why? Because their offices are closed!!!
So, in short, it can be slightly frustrating, but also, like the song says, “it’s the most, wonderful time of the year…”