virtual children by Scott Warnock

A simple plea on behalf of children with holiday birthdays

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With the arrival of spring, love is in the air, they say, but there is (at least) one overlooked, terrible consequence of the excessive nuzzling of those early days of bloom: Children with holiday birthdays. These poor forgotten youngsters, whose most important day has always been an afterthought, a shred of wrapping paper discarded in the dusty, dark corner of a warm, fire-lit, festive holiday chamber.

(While I will focus on the sorrowful effects of this phenomenon in the context of my particular sphere, Christmas, my appeal is intended on behalf of all children who emerged into the world during the time of their own December festivals, observations, and celebrations.)

We need to come together to do something extra for these children, and this year would be a fine time to start. After all, they have withstood years of ignominy: The Christmas card with a “bonus” birthday candy cane from Uncle Sebastian; that Great Aunt Leonora must be reminded annually at Christmas dinner that little Chris’s birthday was last week; the agony of December children watching their siblings’ July pool parties and thinking back to their own hastily arranged post-December 25th gathering of “whoever was available” featuring leftover pie strewn with the wrong number of candles; the awkward January text from a supposed best friend ending with “Srry I forgt ur b-day, holidays are sooo busy! LOL!” LOL indeed.

We must compensate these forgotten children. What I propose is that we make this the Year of the Very Large Gift, one that encompasses both Christmas and the ill-timed birthday, with plenty of gifting interest to account for the neglect of years past. Following are some mild suggestions.

While other children will open a brand-new Monopoly, Blokus, or video game this Christmas, the holiday child should receive, say, a pool table that converts into air hockey. Many children will excitedly find a football or soccer ball under the tree. But the child whose birthday was spent two days before Santa’s visit shopping for others could receive instead two tickets to a Philadelphia Eagles game [even this season], with complimentary parking, of course. A doll house is a classic gift, but imagine your calmed conscience on Christmas night after having given the normal victim of your insouciance a beach-front shore house for two weeks.

You could amplify the traditional holiday outing. While other children make the annual pilgrimage to see Santa at the mall or to the downtown Christmas village, the child of Yule could get a trip to Munich to see the Christkindl Market (and perhaps a few nearby beer halls), maybe with a friend or two (in this effort to salve the pain of Christmases forgotten, a few friends might serve as better traveling companions than family on such a trip).

Once you realize the goodness of the Very Large Gift, ideas will certainly flow freely. You will see the gift of a bicycle in a new light, providing your usually forgotten child with a liquid-cooled 745cc Honda Shadow RS. That new movie you were going to tuck into a stocking could transform into the complete box set of The Wire. Even the humble Christmas cookie, sugary and distributed in apparent fairness, could be re-thought. Let his siblings munch their tasty wafers while your December child enjoys an evening out at Buddakan or perhaps even Le Bec-Fin.

These are but suggestions, and you will develop your own approaches. Regardless, the Year of the Very Large Gift would be a meaningful step in undoing eons of second fiddledom. These Very Large Gifts, collectively, would make the world better for that 8% of the population who have long suffered for their parents’ amorousness during nascent springtime. This petition is not driven by greed — no! — but is put forth as a reasonable way to do that rare thing, to make up for the woes of the past, one souped-up holiday present at a time.

Note: Some may find it suspicious that the author’s birthday is December 21. I can assure you that this column’s subject matter and that birth date are merely coincidental. Further, the above gift suggestions were arrived at using a random gift distribution methodology.

Scott Warnock is a writer and teacher who lives in South Jersey. He is a professor of English at Drexel University, where he directs the University Writing Program. Father of three and husband of one, Scott is on two local school boards and coaches all kinds of youth sports.

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8 Responses to “A simple plea on behalf of children with holiday birthdays”

  1. Disclaimer “Note” be damned.

    Shameless….simply shameless.

  2. whiner

  3. There’s little Chris again.

  4. Ha ha, my son’s birthday is Christmas day! I will keep the munich beer hall trip in mind for the future but for now he just gets a couple of normal presents in July. Scott, I’ll try to remember to include you in this year’s summer lego replenishment, ok? :)

  5. I think I can remember a couple summer pool parties at the former Maple Lane Swim Club, where this discussion came to light….and we toasted the December birthday occassion once, twice, thrice….I lost count. ;)

  6. Glad you wrote about this so I don’t have to! The neglect a holiday birthday child (or adult) feels is often overlooked in our society. People with birthdays in the spring and summer months simply don’t understand that it runs deeper than first appearances. I never felt comfortable with my life partners until I realized it wasn’t me– it was their inability to acknowledge the neglect I felt over being born on January second. I am now happily married to someone born the week before Christmas and things are going well.
    This holiday season I’ve started shopping in stores owned by holiday birthday owners only and am eating only the meat of animals born in the spring and summer.
    Together we can draw attention to this important cause!

  7. Shameless or not — I loved it! Happy Birthday to you and to all the holiday birthday babies that get shortchanged. :-)

  8. Thanks for addressing this problem. My family is jam packed with Holiday birthdays. December 18th (2 of them), 22nd, 24th, 26th and January 3rd and 9th. Merpy Birthmus indeed !

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