"Aside from the fact that we'll get more presents this year, I really can't see any benefit to having a Christmas baby," my pregnant-and-due-any-day friend said. "He's going to be cheated out of attention that's rightfully his. He's competing with God, for Pete's sake! This kid is going to be scarred for life. He's going to hate me."
"Thank you very much," I replied. Our kids are holiday babies.
"Oh, well, that's not to say that -- er, um --" she stuttered. "I'm sure they'll be just fine!" Open mouth, insert booty.
But I know what she means. Let's face it; where your birthday falls can be directly proportional to how much attention you get, and things like that are darn important. They affect self-esteem. They affect sibling relations. And, of course, they affect presents.
I never really had to worry about it, myself. My birthday's a few weeks after Christmas, which seems to be an adequate distance away; anything I want for Christmas that I don't get goes right on the ol' birthday list. It works out quite well, come to think of it.
On the other hand, my brother's is a few days after Christmas, which we usually remember right around February. If the poor guy ever got a birthday present on time, he wouldn't know what to do with it.
So when I found out our first child was due in mid-December, I was a little nervous. I even asked my doctor to induce me after Thanksgiving, but he just gave me some lame excuse about medical necessity or some such nonsense. I then decided to simply will the little guy out early. How hard could it be, right? Mind over matter, blah blah blah?
Every night I'd sit in my chair and send him vibes about how nice it was out here and how much we wanted to meet him and wasn't he about ready for some air by now? And every day I'd walk up and down my street for hours on end, thinking gravity must at some point kick in. Good thing I had my dog for cover. Otherwise my neighbors might've had me arrested.
But for all of my willing and walking and cajoling, he not only wasn't early, he was late. Actually, as far as I can tell, the only reason he came out at all was to tell me to knock it off. But come out he did, and Christmas baby he is. And after having my second child at around the same time, I now think it's kind of neat.
I mean, there are only so many days in a year, right? And there are about 7 billion people in the world. So you have to share your birthday with someone, and you have to admit there are worse people to share it with. My oldest brother has to share his with me, which sort of makes baby Jesus look pre-e-t-t-y good, doesn't it?
And even procedurally, Christmas babies rule. You are guaranteed presents. It doesn't matter if you're the bad seed or Mary Poppins. The only requirement is that you were born. Christmas presents, however, come with that whole behavioral caveat, and so you may be getting presents while some of us -- hypothetically, of course -- may not.
I would imagine, then, that the key is to ask for the really important stuff for your birthday, and leave your secondary list for Santa. Take no chances, that's what I always say.
This is a wonderful, magical, incredibly busy time of year, but that doesn't have to mean that Christmas babies get lost in the shuffle. In fact, I think they're extra-special. Both of our kids are celebrating birthdays now, and I hope they never feel cheated for being born when they were. But if they do, I'll just remind them of the most important benefit of all.
They were the best Christmas presents their parents ever got.