December Babies: Shelved Elves.
Someone very close to me had a birthday yesterday.
Imagine being born exactly one week before Christmas. The only way it could be worse would be to have a birthday even closer to the big holiday. Or on Dec. 25th itself.
There’s a term for these unfortunates: “Shelved elves.”
You can imagine what a mid-December birthday meant growing up: Toys festooned with Christmas ribbons, birthday parties - if you got one at all - with a holiday theme and a feeling that your special day wasn’t all that important because it sat in the shadow of something much, much bigger.
Oh, and there must have been a sneaking suspicion that your mom just snatched one of your presents from the Christmas pile and tossed it in a bag marked “Happy Birthday” before she stuck candles in a gingerbread man and insisted that it was more fun than a boring birthday cake.
These children of December suffer through what’s been called “holiday adjacent birthdays.”
They say the rest of us have done a lousy job disguising the fact that we’d like to be anywhere but at a birthday celebration in the middle of the Christmas season or on Thanksgiving Day or the Fourth of July.
Coincidentally, my next-door neighbor also has a Dec. 18th birthday. She says that when she was a kid her family celebrated her big day by putting up the Christmas tree. I rest my case.
As I was saying, yesterday we celebrated a birthday and I did the unthinkable. I wrapped this person’s gift in paper decorated with reindeer.
I was just too darned tired to venture out into traffic to replenish my birthday paper supply.
The reason I was exhausted was that I spent the morning shopping for a birthday present. The item I’d ordered online wasn’t delivered last week, as promised. Blame the Christmas crunch.
It didn’t arrive on Monday, either. So first thing Tuesday morning I sped across town to engage in what I dislike almost more than anything: frenzied last-minute shopping.
I finally found an overpriced unimaginative gift, whipped out my credit card and pointed the car toward home.
And what was on the front porch when I got there? The original birthday package.
Now I have a Christmas conundrum: Do I keep the last-minute purchase to give this person something extra on Christmas Day? Or do I dive back into the madness to return it? I’m leaning toward the latter.
Grrrr. Holiday birthdays.
Luckily, few people are born in the last month of the year. Seems December’s the least popular month for birthdays.
My birthday is in September, which produces a bumper crop of babies every year. American maternity wards are also humming in August and July.
We warm weather arrivals are what happens when lovebirds cuddle during the long winter nights.
December babies? Blame their parents. If you’re not named Mary or Joseph you have no business giving birth this time of year.
My advice for parents-to-be: Find something else to do in March.
Spare your kid life as a shelved elf.