Today is my mum’s birthday. A friend’s birthday falls on Christmas Eve. Mine is just after New Year. So I’m no stranger to arguments about which is the worst birthday to have – just before Christmas, or just after.
As someone with a post-Christmas birthday, I’m convinced that if your special day comes before all the fun, you have a better time. In fact, your birthday is part of the fun. There’s the sense of anticipation, your home is decorated and looking great, the tree still has needles (!) and a pile of enticing parcels beneath it.
You may have family who are excellent at keeping the two events separate, but not everyone makes the effort at such a busy time. Birthdays presents that come wrapped in Christmas paper are strangely depressing. Then there’s, ‘It’s a birthday-and-Christmas present combined.’ (Yeah, right.) Or, ‘Your birthday present must’ve got lost in the Christmas post.’ (Ditto.)
But if your birthday is after Christmas, or even worse, just after New Year, everyone’s: broke, tired, stuffed with Christmas cake and chocolate and feeling slightly nauseous, completely drained of festive cheer, all-partied-out, still away visiting the relatives, back home but caught flu from the relatives, sticking to virtuous New Year’s Resolutions, on a January detox, for goodness’ sake!
To top it all, the weather’s often dreadful. I can recall freezing fog, floods, storms, black ice – but not the thrill of a fresh snowfall.
Presents sometimes have the whiff of a battered sale bargain, or have clearly been “re-gifted”. But I have to confess that I don’t exactly help. When people ask for birthday present suggestions, I’m all out of ideas. And knowing everyone is pushed at this time of year, I never ask for anything extravagant (that I might really want).
And as a grown-up whose birthday celebration revolves around a nice meal out, I’ve discovered that the week just after New Year is the time many restaurants choose to close down for a much-needed staff break and deep clean!
The only plus-point I can think of is that, irrespective of what day of the week it fell on, my birthday was never a school day.
Anyone else with festive season birthdays? We can swap misery stories and have a good laugh!