Phew! Missed my usual Sunday posting due to a whirlwind week-and-a-half of birthday celebrations, early Christmas celebrations, and working overtime to wrap up my second job. When I return from the holidays I will be working… only one job!! It’s a Christmas miracle.
This year the craziness of December got me thinking about the experience of being a holiday baby. Growing up I was the only December baby in the family, though now I have married into a family that is bursting with them. My birthday was simultaneously kind of special (take that, back-to-back summer babies!) but also decidedly not special (well, you’ll all get presents next week anyway).
I am actually pretty fond of this. My birthday has always been associated with a time of year when I spend extra time thinking about my friends and family, planning ways to make other people happy. In recent years my family has switched to a Secret Santa exchange for the adults, but there is a new generation of kidlets to take care of (aaaand I try to sneak in something silly for everyone else anyway).
As a shiftless, freeloading elementary school student with no job of my own, the early years of Christmas giving relied on my superior craft-making skills.
The later years relied on my allowance. I’ll have to ask my mom what it was… but surely not more than a dollar or two a week, because I remember the wonderment of accumulating $50 for the first time. I was an obsessive little saver, and I would stack up my dollars throughout the year for the purpose of buying Christmas gifts.
What a dork!
I would then splurge on cheap, crappy trinkets. Cheap, crappy trinkets for everyone! I have a particularly vivid memory of some kind of Fall craft fair at my school, a cornucopia of weird home-crafted items that only cost a couple of dollars apiece. For everyone!
When I was old enough to get legit birthday money and not just dolls ($20 from Nonna, hollaaaa) this became a holiday windfall that fueled my ability to buy a slightly advanced level of weird crap. My birthday was a tool by which I could buy things for other people. It still kind of is! Know that if you give me birthday cash instead of gifts or even gift cards, you are subsidizing your own presents. Actually… when you put it like that it sounds like a scam.
There isn’t a moral to this post. I’m just feeling particularly affectionate because every year as my birthday approaches it sparks the associated thought, “Oh man, what would everyone else like?” and whether it is individual gifts or a group gift, I start brainstorming ways to make my loved ones laugh. Awwww!