Don't be a Birthday 'Bah Humbug' this Christmas
Being a fan of cartoonists Berger and Wyse, I felt an almost personal delight when I saw a Boxing Day birthday featured in this recent cartoon. Whilst I have long accepted that Christmas birthdays are seen as a criminal offence, I have never considered the reverse – that I may be able to use it in my defense in front of a jury. Enemies beware! I am almost expecting this topic to come up in an episode of The Good Wife and am disappointed that Rumpole of The Bailey never found use for this as evidence of state of mind. However, at least this cartoon is based on pity for Christmas birthday holders rather than the usual barely disguised accusation of inconvenience and expense. Objection I hear you cry. Not sustained.
A Christmas birthday certainly causes consternation amongst those whose parents took special care not to conceive in March. Even normally generous souls do not follow birthday convention rules at this time of year. Feeling guilty? And no, you cannot take the Fifth Amendment. Christmas birthday crimes generally committed by the other 11/12ths of the population and include:
- GIVING A JOINT CHRISTMAS AND BIRTHDAY PRESENT
- SHEEPISHLY ADMITTING THAT 'THE OTHER PRESENT IS THE MAIN ONE'
- IGNORING THE BIRTHDAY IN THE HOPE THAT THE PERSON WON'T NOTICE BECAUSE 'IT'S CHRISTMAS'
- SCRAWLING HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON A CHRISTMAS CARD
- HASTILY PRODUCING A PARTIALLY EATEN CHRISTMAS CAKE WITH CANDLES ON IT (IF THE BIRTHDAY IS SUITABLE NEAR)
- WRAPPING BIRTHDAY PRESENTS IN CHRISTMAS PAPER (MINOR CRIME)
- CHOOSING RESTAURANTS WITH ONLY A FESTIVE MENU FOR A BIRTHDAY MEAL
- BEING TOO PARTIED OUT TO CELEBRATE IN STYLE
- REPEATEDLY ANNOUNCING JUST HOW ANNOYING A CHRISTMAS BIRTHDAY IS
This all sounds rather self-centred and attention seeking but one of the main problems such as how to hold parties for all the people you owe hospitality to. My mother also has a Christmas birthday (coupled with being a twin) and she decided to have my childhood parties in June.
Parties are more of an issue as an adult, especially for the notable birthdays. I am fast approaching the big 50 on Boxing Day. Of course I have travelled the country going to all my contemporaries birthday celebrations. No one really wants to come to another party at Christmas, evidenced by the lack of enquiries from friends, clearly worried about the inconvenience it would cause. I suspect my husband is somewhat perplexed about any celebrations compounded by my step son’s birthday being on 23 December. However, it also causes confusion and anti-climax to expect people to celebrate a “non” birthday later in the year. I am reminded of an episode of Sex in the City where Carrie bemoans (as a singleton) all the engagement, wedding and baby parties she has to attend and the numerous gifts she shells out for – with no return. And so another Christmas birthday crime is obliviously forgetting the bigger birthday gifts whilst receiving them with open arms on your own big day…
Ironically, of course Christmas IS a birthday celebration – it is supposed to be about Jesus and new beginnings. Mind you his birth must have annoyed Joseph, coinciding as it did with that long trek to Bethlehem. Not to mention Mary having to give birth outside a random pub and then have her privacy invaded by all those visitors turning up with sheep and impractical gifts. It was clearly an inconvenience right from the start to be born at Christmas.
Looking at the positives, there are several. I have never had to work or sit an exam on my birthday. My birthday gives the family something to do the day after Christmas and extends the festivities. My husband and children are always with me which does make my birthday very special – although obviously they don’t even pretend not to find the additional present buying anything other than an extreme annoyance.
And now that you (YES, YOU) have been accused, this Christmas be ahead of the game. Surprise your afflicted friends and family by NOT being a birthday bah humbug. Then, having eased your conscience, you can revert to type the following year….