“You must be a real firecracker!” “You get fireworks every year for your birthday! Your parents must really love you.” It must be great to always have your birthday off work.“ Three phrases I have heard every year right before or on my birthday. Three phrases I would really like to bury, too. My birthday is July 4th and as an American in the Heartland, that fact has been amusing people for years.
I know I am not alone. Whether your birthday falls on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, or Halloween, you should be all too familiar with the good and bad of having a birthday that thousands—if not billions—of people celebrate.
Pro: You are less likely to work on your birthday
If you work a 9-5 job you can almost be guaranteed that you won’t work on your birthday if “your” holiday occurs during the week. There is something pretty awesome about getting to sleep in, enjoy your coffee, and just do nothing on your special day. This isn’t true if you work in retail or at a hospital, or any other job that never or rarely closes.
Con: Everything is closed on your birthday
I remember my 21st birthday being a major disappointment. None of the restaurants I wanted to go to were open and there was only one bar in a 20-mile radius that was open, and it was the frat bar for sure. I had two drinks that night and went to bed at 10:30pm. Could it have been worse? Heck yes. Could it have been better? Yeah, if anything was open. Holiday birthday babies learn pretty quickly to not make plans on your actual birthday that involve going to any commercial establishment.
Pro: Everyone remembers your birthday
It is pretty hard to forget someone’s birthday once you associate it with a holiday. No one’s ever said “I know your birthday is in July, but what day again?” I actually have acquaintances that only know me because of my birthday. “Oh hey! You’re the 4th of July girl!” Uh, yeah?
Con: No one is around for your birthday
National holidays are for family or vacation as far as most of our society is concerned, which means that other than being with your own family, no one is around for your birthday. Even your own family may be off to other BBQs, family dinners, or parties that aren’t exactly in your honor. As a teenager your friends are most likely unavailable to make birthday plans; as a child, you don’t get to bring in cupcakes on your birthday or have the class sing to you because you never had to/got to go to school on your birthday. Holiday birthdays can be lonely, even for an introvert.
Con: You always have to share your birthday
Fireworks on my birthday lost its appeal in grade school and, as an introvert, the idea of fighting crowds, being surrounded by strangers, and listening to loud noises is not my ideal celebration. Holidays are—and should be—for everyone, but when your birthday is on a holiday it can mean making a lot of compromises for what you do that day.
I am sure this is especially true for people born on Christmas where everyone is given a gift—even those who don’t observe the holiday’s religious significance. The worst part about holiday birthdays is that they’re no longer your day. Maybe I sound selfish, but everyone is entitled to feel protective over their birthdays.
Pro & Con: You have a built-in theme for your birthday
I have lots of great memories as a little girl of waving flags and seeing everyone dressed up in red, white, and blue. Not to mention for the first several years of my life I actually believed that the fireworks were just for me. I cannot tell you how many times I was coerced into a red, white, and blue birthday cake (when I turned 15, I bought a rubber ducky cake from Wal-Mart in protest). To some extent, it’s fun to have a built in theme, but it can also get old really fast.
Con: People make stupid jokes about your birthday
You know who you are and, no, you’re not clever. That firecracker joke always makes me roll my eyes as people laugh at what they think is a very clever joke. I can only imagine what other holiday babies get. “Well aren’t you a great Christmas present!” “Were you a trick or a treat for your parents?”
Pro: You always have an interesting factoid about yourself
I always have a go to during introduction games. I was born on Independence Day. It’s a fun icebreaker and in some ways makes your birthday a little more special. It certainly has its downsides, but having my own holiday has created so many memories (good and bad) and that in and of itself makes it a little more special.
Do you have a holiday birthday? Tweet us about your experiences (lame jokes encouraged!) @LitDarling!