My birthday is on Christmas. I know. That makes me one jolly, holy, heckuva gal, right? But in addition to the sleigh I keep in my garage and the halo you see above my head (look carefully!), it also makes me the keeper of some great Christmas traditions. Two of my favorites:
I always receive “Christmas Birthday” cards. Yes, the fine folks at Hallmark and American Greetings make them, though not a lot of them, and so I often receive the same ones year after year. My mother and my grandmother each have enclosed one with a gift every year, without fail. I save theirs, and I love my annual perusal of that not-so-little stack of red and green birthday greetings. Even better, I now have three girls who also delight in that not-so-little stack of “Merry Happies,” and looking through them together over a plate of Chrismas cookies is a lovely way to spend time on a December afternoon.
Next up? Dessert. By all means, stop by my house for Christmas dinner and indulge in your holiday favorites: turkey, ham, Christmas trimmings and what not. But don’t go looking for gingerbread, fruitcake, apple pie, or even a candy cane for dessert. You’ll come up empty handed. What you’ll find instead? Birthday cake! The homemade kind, with enough red and green icing, sprinkles and sadly, now candles, to out-bedazzle even the Las Vegas strip. If I’m lucky enough to be with my mom, she’ll do the baking honors (Yes, I know this is slightly unfair, she did after all have to deliver a baby on Christmas Day many years ago. Delivering baked goods too probably violates some kind of mommy holiday labor law.). My girls of course take over in the decorating department. AND I JUST LOVE IT. Maybe because I appreciate the slightly untraditional twist to the end of an otherwise traditional day. Maybe because having my family standing around me singing feels just like Christmas should, even if what they are singing is the “Happy Birthday” song. Maybe because I know that cake, and the fine bunch o’ ladies who make it, are the best gifts I’ll ever have under my tree.