Profile of a December-born: Holly Noel. Born during a blizzard in Illinois on December 15. Christmas baby.
Factoid #1: I dated a guy called “Snow” for 3 years. If I would have married him, my name would have guaranteed tea with Mrs. Claus.
Factoid #2: I have received many birthday-slash-Christmas presents from friends. When I was a teenager, to make the point that this was not an acceptable trend, I told one of my friends during her April birthday, “You remember that present I gave you for Christmas? Happy Birthday!” Sounds like the punch line to a snarky greeting card. You’re welcome, Hallmark.
Factoid #3: I have redefined the birthday-slash-Christmas present; my husband is allowed to buy me a little present for Christmas provided that he buys a big birthday present. (However, somewhere between December 16 and December 23, he forgets about the big birthday present, and buys me a normal Christmas present. Ah…the gift of giving. )
Factoid #4: I have received ornaments and Christmas decorations for birthday presents. Admit it summer babies; you’re totally jealous.
Factoid #5: I have actually asked for Christmas decorations for my birthday. What? They’re expensive.
Factoid #6: My birthday parties almost always coincide with office Christmas parties. To avoid this, one year, we decided to have a party at the beginning of December. Apparently, the office people didn’t get the memo that it was my day for a party; they were all about the Santa hats, eggnog and rum, and photocopies of their bums on my day.
Factoid #7: I have to schedule my birthday parties around weather forecasts. Blizzards tend to keep people at home. I’m lucky my mom showed up to my birth; she hates icy roads.
Factoid #8: Flu season is a factor. On my Sweet 16, I caught a little bug called the Shanghai Flu. It laid me out for 3 days. My dad reports that I, in a delirious, febrile state, wondered into the living room and tried to lick the Christmas tree. Stopping me before I did, he gently inquired, “Holly? What are you doing?” I told him that I was trying to reduce the molecules. He got me a big glass of ice water and tucked me back in bed. Who said the flu isn’t fun?
Factoid #9: I tend to get to go to Christmas events and parties on my birthday proper—provided that my birthday does not fall on a Friday or Saturday. In that case, I respectfully miss said event/party and do my own thing. It’s kind of weird when I have to attend. I’m torn between keeping it a secret or divulging it. One birthday, I decided to keep it a secret because my husband had to perform a classical guitar piece for a choir. His mother, who understandably was completely focused on her son, totally forgot that it was my birthday. At the end, she lavished him with roses. I smiled at him, and he gave them to me. His mother looked at him in a way that said, “So that’s how it works in your relationship .…” He kissed me and said, “Happy Birthday, Sweetie.” If you’re gonna re-gift, I supposed that’s the way to do it. His mother fully supported it.
Factoid #10: I’ve never had an outdoor swimming party for my birthday. I’ve also never worn a sundress, shorts, flip-flops or flippers on my birthday. Note to Bucket List: Schedule trip to Aruba for my 50th.
Factoid #11: Friends and family from afar tend to show up to my birthday parties. “Aw shucks, guys! You came out for little ol’ me? Air travel is so expensive.” They tell me that they’re actually home for the holidays. I say, “Right. The Holly-days…” Sillies.
Factoid #12: My name has a habit of showing up in songs around my birthday. Check it out: “Noel, Noel…” “Deck the halls with boughs of holly (bows of Holly)…” “The holly and the ivy…” “Have a holly jolly Christmas…” See what I mean? It’s freaky.
Factoid #13: My birthday presents are sometimes wrapped in paper that looks suspiciously like Christmas wrapping. Me: “Nice reindeer paper…” Gift Giver: “What? That’s a reindeer??? I thought it was an elk.”
Factoid #14: If on my birthday I feel like watching Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (both versions), It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street (both versions), Scrooged, A Christmas Story, or A Christmas Carol (all versions) chances are, I can. All I need to do is flip through a few channels, and voilà.
Factoid #15: My birthdays are very beautiful: fairy lights dusting trees, snowflakes glinting like 1942 rhinestones, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, sleigh bells and sleigh rides, Baileys and hot cocoa, joyful children, and John Lennon reminding us we can stop the fighting if we want to.