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Mum's the word: Christmas birthdays - are they a curse or good fortune?


Christmas presents

Christmas presents


My heart sank when I was told, on pregnancy number two, that my baby was due on New Year's Eve. I spent a fraught Christmas on red alert, praying the child wouldn't arrive early and curse him or herself with a rubbish Christmas-week birth date.

On January 6 I was delighted to still be 'with child'. With Christmas officially over I reassured my bump that it was now safe to come out. He held on until January 12, thus sparing himself a lifetime of birthday disappointment.

I've a friend with a December 31 birthday who admits that it's a great date as a teenager but 'rubbish' as you get older, when friends have other commitments "or can't get babysitters". Curious to know whether December birthdays are as bad as I imagined, I asked Christmas-born adults and kids what they thought of their lot.

"I would prefer a mid-year birthday!" laments one 30-year-old, a sentiment echoed by most adults I asked.


"It's such a busy time of year for everyone, so trying to arrange a night out can be tricky and it would be nice to spread out the pressies throughout the year."

Another, born on December 29, agrees: "Sandwiched between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, most people are away or busy."

Aside from getting "overloaded with gifts once a year", another complains that "it feels like everything is over in five minutes and then you have to wait a full year for both celebrations to come along together again".

So far, it's just as bad as I suspected. But maybe children have a different view?

Holly Kavanagh turns 7 on St Stephen's Day, and wonders why she doesn't have her party on her birthday. (In the early years her mum hosted parties on December 26 but it proved too hectic for everyone. Now she gets an early December party and a special day out at the pantomime on her birthday.)

By contrast, Tristan King Snodgrass turned 9 on December 16 and loves his festive birthday. "I love it because my grandma's is the 13 and my grandad's the 14 of December so they made me feel like we were the special ones." He also approves of it "being a bumper month of pressies".

Which leads me on to the parents of Christmas-time babies…

With December 16 and 26 birthdays, Alison McCaffrey's daughters are used to birthday presents under the Christmas tree, which she finds "a nightmare" trying to think of what to buy "at a time when they already get so much".

The Sutton family has three of their five birthdays the week before Christmas: the 17, 19 and 21 of December. Their daughter is still too young to know any better, they celebrated their son's sixth birthday party at the end of November "so that it's not over shadowed by Christmas", while dad, Martin, isn't especially bothered by his December 21st birthday. If anything he loves that "friends who live abroad are normally home to join him for a few celebratory beers".

Aside from a few happy interviewees it seems a late-December birthday feels like a short straw for many. With so many Christmas babies around maybe we've been having a little too much fun around the St Patrick's Day celebrations. Well, go on, do the maths...