We’ve all heard the horror stories: paltry presents. “Combination” parties. Getting out-shined by Christ himself. Supposedly there is no worse birthday than a birthday near Christmas. But is that really true? I turned to my loved ones whose birthdays fall within ten days of Christmas: my boyfriend Ross (12/29), my dear friends Adam (1/5) and Lauren (12/27), and my cat Zadie (estimated 12/27).
How has having a birthday near Christmas affected you? Or has it at all?
ADAM: I refuse to speculate. Do not think so.
ROSS: I guess it hasn’t at all.
LAUREN: We celebrated Hanukkah because we felt like we were supposed to celebrate it and compete with all the goyim for presents, even though I mainly got socks and one year, my grandma gave me batteries (8 days is a lot…). But the main thing has been the fact that no one is around.
ZADIE THE CAT: *awakens, then falls quickly back asleep*
What’s the worst part of having a birthday near Christmas?
ROSS: Always being on vacation or having friends on vacation for my birthday.
ADAM: Only having one point in time during the year to ask for all of the gifts you want. Realize you want something in August but don’t want to buy it for yourself? Write it down for the December/January or (shudder) buy it for yourself. Especially as I get older, there is not much I want so having to come up with a couple of gifts for two concurrent holidays is hard. This year I’m getting a quilt and a pressure cooker.
LAUREN: It fucking sucks. No one is around. I used to have my party either in November (like my Bat Mitzvah! So many out of town guests whom I’d never met!) or in January, but on my birthday day, no one was ever around. And then New Year’s Eve is 4 days after my birthday so I’m really in the middle of a hangover and not much else.
A lot of people do that whole, “It’s my birthday month me me me me me me!” thing and that’s definitely something I can’t do because who can compete with Christmas? Jesus fucking Christ. But I do like springing it on people who are like, “It’s your birthday!!??!?!? I had no idea! So close to Christmas! Dinner’s on me!” and then I make them take me to Le Bernardin or something evil. I did that last night, actually.
ZADIE THE CAT: *snores*
What’s the best part?
LAUREN: The best part is along the lines of that Gin Blossoms song where he goes, “If you don’t expect too much, you might not be let down.” I think a lot of other people have these big ideas for their birthday and want their friends to fawn over them and they expect presents and endless attention and some type of affirmation that life is still worth living. I just want dinner, preferably with oysters to start and a cheese course at the end. I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
ROSS: Two times the presents.
ADAM: People are already together so it makes celebrating with people important to you easier. And you get to have the first non-holiday party of the year.
ZADIE THE CAT: Purrrrr.
Do you feel cheated out of presents? Do you get one super big present?
ROSS: Emily [my mom] never cheated me. Yeah, usually I’d get one awesome present. and she would get me a half birthday gift.
LAUREN: I often got a combined birthday-Hanukkah gift (like college tuition!) but usually just one and then a smile. I like to buy myself a sexy black party dress for my birthday. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but there’s something gratifying about buying something for yourself that you look smoking hot in and just saying in a low voice, “Happy birthday to me!” as you apply your make-up. I feel like these days are numbered.
ADAM: No. Maybe sometimes? People who feel “cheated out of presents” are either 1) extremely poor or 2) extremely entitled. I am neither.
ZADIE THE CAT: *bats around a bit of fluff on the floor*
What did your birthday celebrations look like growing up? What are they like now?
ADAM: Growing up they’d happen a couple weeks after my birthday, with normal kid stuff: a roller skating party, a regular party at my house, a small group for improv games with our favorite babysitter/theater instructor (I know). In college my friends had a fire-in-a-barrel party for me, that was fun.
ROSS: My Dad’s British so we’d do the British Christmas traditions like Christmas crackers, paper crowns, bad jokes, bad toys, Drew [my dad] getting drunk and making fun of me.
LAUREN: Growing up I had a lot of dance parties. My brother and his friends would DJ them. Lots of blow-up guitars and giant sunglasses. I also had 2 at some pool, and one at Wal-Lex, which is a grimy indoor skating rink outside Boston where I once watched a 45-year-old woman with no teeth give a handjob to a 21-year-old. Nowadays, usually my homme du jour takes me to a nice dinner and maybe some sort of entertainment and then we bone. That’s really all I need.
This year, my boyfriend is flying me out to Korea (where he lives) and then to the Philippines and we are going to the DMZ on my actual birthday and I couldn’t ask for anything more! Except for him to come home, that’d be a much better gift. But plane tickets are always welcome.
ZADIE THE CAT: *licks own butthole*
Have you ever been compared to Jesus?
ROSS: Not the adult version.
LAUREN: Yeah, we both have long brown hair.
ADAM: Constantly— more because of my gaunt physique and selfless nature.
ZADIE THE CAT: This question is extremely offensive and I refuse to answer it.
Posted as part of I’m Down For The Holidays: A Blog Advent Calendar. 1 day ‘til Christmas!