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Lament for the Christmas Birthday

cake with candles

Come to me, my fellow December Capricorns, and you too, Sagittarians on the cusp. Let us console one another at this the most joyous, but also, the most disappointing times of the year. The time of Christmas birthdays.

Today is my birthday, and while I am happy to be born a Capricorn and thus always be right about everything, having a birthday near, or even on, Christmas comes with its own set of challenges and pitfalls.

For one, we never get parties. Things are too bust with the holidays before Christmas or everyone is too tired after. We’re lucky to get a nice dinner with the fam, maybe a friend who’s still in town, but it’s tough. Growing up I had … maybe one party, and I don’t think it was on my birthday. But that’s fine right? As long as we get presents.

Ah, the presents. We Christmas-adjacent babies know the phrase. The words that communicate what a second thought our B-day was: “It’s a Christmas present AND a birthday present!” No. Please no. This never means anyone spent twice as much, alas. In our family, which has a few Christmas birthdays besides my own, the rule is that you can never use Christmas paper for birthday presents. But honestly, if you’re buying for a Capricorn: save money and give cash. We know what we want.

Now, there are some nice bits about a holiday birthday. For those of us born right after Christmas, the holidays go on a bit longer. We basically get a second Christmas just about us and that’s always fun. Also, even if we don’t get parties, it’s pretty easy to get a day to enjoy ourselves. I usually get time off on my birthday (not today, but that’s fine because I love my fellow Mary Suvian scribes), so that’s pretty cool.

Also: we get great movies. My regular tradition is a movie with family, and we’ve seen some greats including The Shape of Water and Les Miserables. Tonight we’ll be enjoying the perfect synthesis of those: a musical about inexplicably horny monster creatures – CATS!

And I think these winter birthdays maybe make us stronger? Like Bane we were born in darkness, while others merely adopted it. We have learned to appreciate the little things and thus be celebrated whenever possible. Or something like that.

So, if you have someone in your life born in this darkest time of the year, make sure to make them feel special and give them extra cake or cookies, because they’re probably missing it. And remember: get them a separate gift.

And to all my fellow Christmas birthday havers: Happy Birthday. You’re awesome. Let’s go get some cake.

(image: Flora Westbrook from Pexels)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.