For years my Christmas-time birthday was a huge disappointment. As a child it was over-shadowed by the seasonal festivities and couldn’t help but be just another strain on the family finances at the most expensive time of the year. Aunts and uncles would buy me ‘joint’ gifts for birthday and Christmas, assuring me they had spent extra. As every December-birthday person knows, even if they had spent more, nothing beats having two specific gifts for birthday and Christmas and that this isn’t something that June-birthday children have to contend with. As a child I never had a party on my actual birthday, it was too near the festivities, no one had time and who wants to eat birthday cake at Christmas. As an adult the lovely Mr BOTRA and my son and daughter-in-law have made a fuss of me and ensured the day was special and spending time with these three people is wonderful and should be enough … but I always wanted what everyone else had, a celebration with my friends. On my birthday these friends were either with their family, busy at some other Christmas event or away for the festive period. The only way to get everyone together was to celebrate outside the Christmas period, so when I was 40 I arranged the party for January. It still took me a few years after that birthday to realise that this was the way to go and it was 2011 when I decided I wasn’t putting up with this unsatisfactory situation any longer and I moved my birthday to November.
There were friends who protested that it couldn’t be done, a few who still forget the new date, but honestly, I haven’t regretted moving my birthday to the preceding month for one minute. Now, my birthday isn’t shoe-horned in to the Christmas festivities, my birthday cards don’t have to compete for space with the Christmas cards and my friends are available for a celebration. It is this latter result that is the most important to me, I get to bring everyone I care about together for one celebration and that makes me happy. It isn’t about presents and cards, for me it has always been about wanting to be with the people I love.
Over the past few years I have celebrated my birthday with friends in various ways. We have played crazy golf, been for walks, had ‘posh’ afternoon tea, visited an art gallery and been out for meals. At last I get to experience what other people with birthdays in any other month except December take for granted, a birthday spent with my family and friends.
And what of my birth-date? This day still exists, of course I have to use it for paperwork and forms but really it is now just any other day. The recollection that it is the anniversary of my birth might pass through my mind at some point during the day but it is no longer my birthday, that is the November date that I chose. Moving my birthday was one of the best things I ever did and I am not moving it back.