Have a Very Merry Birthday

It’s that time of year again…the time when the weather begins to depress you, but the multiple holidays in a row boost your morale back up to smiling. First there is Thanksgiving, Hanukah, and Christmas. Right after that is Kwanza, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. The multitude of celebrations, gatherings, and special meals that take place is overwhelming, yet comforting and enjoyable. How much more fun could you really have during the two short months that all of this occurs in? Well, I have the answer to that.

In addition to all of those holidays, try throwing in the most special holiday one can possibly have and you have the World Series of happiness. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, celebrate your birthday, which is exactly what I get to do every December.Merry Birthday 2

I’m sure all of you out there that also have birthdays in December can totally relate to this. No matter how close or how far away your special day is from Christmas, it constantly gets lumped into every holiday celebration. My birthday is at the beginning of December. Growing up, it never was added on to our family Christmas, but that was not the case for Thanksgiving.

It never failed. Every year we would go to my grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving and then that evening after our big turkey dinner, my relatives would break out the presents and suddenly it was my birthday. When you are a little girl, turkey and football aren’t really your idea of a party. Having grown older now, if I can enjoy a wonderful turkey meal when I don’t have to do the cooking and sit down to actually watch an entire sporting event with my family, I call that a real celebration. As a mom that’s pushing 40, I definitely would consider that a win!

The other thing that happens when you have a birthday during the holiday season is that any birthday party ideas, activities, or games suddenly ALL have to be holiday themed. When I was little, I had various birthday parties, all with different fun activities. Instead of the usual party games though, on my birthday we would go sledding, build snowmen, or create some sort of ornament that all of my guests could take home and hang on their Christmas tree. I remember more than once my friends and I decorated sugar cookies for the holidays. My mom would have them pre-made and baked so we could decorate them with the thousands of things she would have out for us to go crazy with.

Back then, I thought that it was fun, but I also wished that we could play regular birthday party games that had nothing to do with Christmas. Having grown older, I now once again would jump at the chance to have a group of friends come over for my birthday, bake goodies with me, and then help decorate them all. Think of the time that would save me! I would have more manpower and probably be able to make more yumminess than one person can handle.

During the holidays there are always wonderful shows, theatre events, concerts, and performances to attend. So guess what my parents thought we should do every year for my birthday? You guessed it! We went to the Ice Capades in Omaha, Nebraska. The ice show was magical for me as a child, but after so many years of going, it began to lose its luster. While it was fun seeing Olympic skaters perform and watching the Smurfs live in action, one can only collect so many souvenir glow-in-the-dark wands to wave around.

Would I say that now, as a grown adult? Heck no! I jump at the chance to do anything related to getting out of the house to see a professional performance. For my birthday a couple of years ago, my husband and I went to see the Oakridge Boys perform all of their oldies and Christmas songs at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We were probably some of the youngest people there, but did I mind that my birthday date with my hubby took place with a bunch of people that needed walkers and talked about what they ate at the senior buffet on their way to the show? Not really. Not really at all because I was out at a theatre with adults and watching something that did not involve cartoon characters in any way, shape, or form. Oh and it was a date…at night…in another town…with my husband!Merry Birthday 1

As you can tell, I’ve always loved having a December birthday. Yes, I didn’t always like having to share the one day I get to celebrate myself with all of the other holiday riffraff going on, but I still loved everything my family and friends did to make my day special. Growing older has given me a whole new perspective on sharing my birthday with the holidays. The things that I once wished to be different are now the things that I love the most about my special day. December birthdays get so many more opportunities for ways to celebrate, with so many delicious foods that are only around this time of year, and we get the glorious gift of so many beautiful decorations being up which make our birthdays just a tad bit more magical.

If you have  friends or family that celebrate a birthday somewhere in the middle of the holidays, make sure you take the time to wish them happy birthday, outside of sending them a Christmas card where you write “happy birthday” at the bottom. Don’t wrap their present in Christmas paper or give them a plate of holiday cookies as their gift. Instead, remind them of how wonderful it is to have a birthday during the holidays by simply recognizing that they (and their special day) are wonderful all by themselves, regardless if there is holiday hoopla happening around them or not.

Happy birthday to all of my holiday season birthday buddies!

Melissa was born and raised right here in Iowa. Although she grew up in southwest Iowa (about as close to Missouri and Nebraska as you can get!), she has called eastern Iowa home for 15 years. She and her husband Eric live in North Liberty, along with their 4 year-old daughter Kennedy. Melissa attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in Early Childhood Special Education and her MAE in K-6 Learning Disabilities. She currently teaches kindergarten for the Clear Creek Amana School District, where she has taught for 14 years. In her spare time, Melissa loves to be outside playing or working on projects in their yard, spending time with family and friends, and baking up goodies for her family. She also enjoys taking walks with their two dogs, plump beagle Lenny and shy dachshund-beagle mix Cooper. Life as a full-time working mommy keeps her very busy, but Melissa wouldn't have it any other way!

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