There are 365 days a year, one of which is our very own birthday—a special mark in the calendar just for us.
But wait, not when you’re actually born on Dec. 25, Christmas day. That must be pretty brutal.
Imagine being greeted “Merry Christmas!” first and “Happy birthday!” becomes an afterthought, getting joint Christmas and birthday presents, and worse, having to give gifts to other people on. your. special. day. So wrong!
It is what it is. But there might be some other perks and disadvantages only Christmas babies will understand. Here are stories of love and hate—warm emotions or pent-up angst—on what it’s really, really like to celebrate a birthday same with, well, Jesus Christ.
Little hate but I try to appreciate
“It can be really bad, actually. That one time I finally got a separate birthday gift other than my Christmas present from my mom was when I was 12, but it was wrapped in darn Christmas wrapping paper. And there were worse years when I felt like celebrating with friends, but they’re always either on vacation, or busy with their families. There was even a time—really funny—when my birthday cake was a freaking fruitcake.
“My birthday was never super a big deal but I got the hang of it. At least, for sure I always get to receive gifts and. Yeah, and the family’s almost always complete. But let’s not even begin talking about my name, please.” —Jesusa, 27, marketing director
It’s more than a cliché
“Have you ever had a whole set of waiters sing ‘The First Nӧel’ to call out your name for your order? That has happened to me one too many times, which makes it kind of a cliché to be named Noelle, especially given my birthday. Being born on Christmas day is both a blessing and a curse, but the only thing bad about it, really, is that some people are more excited about the holiday that they just greet me Merry Christmas and forget about my birthday altogether.
I can’t complain, though, because the good that comes from it really outweighs the bad. I’m always surrounded by my family, and I get to do what I love for the people I love like plan out the Noche Buena and cook it for them. And eat the food, of course! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I get one big gift or two on a really good year. I actually feel like I share my birthday with everyone, not just with Jesus Christ, because the rest of the world is celebrating, eating, laughing, loving, and receiving presents, too.” —Noelle, 23, fresh graduate
Nobody remembers it’s my birthday!
“Yes, I only get one gift on Christmas day. The titos and titas, ninongs and ninangs mostly give me what they call ‘two-in-one gifts.’ You would think it’d be an extravagant gift but it isn’t. [It’s usually] just a regular Christmas gift. Also, the inaanaks don’t really remember that it’s your birthday. They only remember your duty as a ninong.” —Eric, 29, travel blogger
I actually enjoy Christmas traditions
“Usually, when people ask me when my birthday is, they’d be really surprised when I tell them it’s on Christmas day. I instantly follow up with the fact that my name is based on the holiday—Chris. People would usually ask if I get to receive twice as many gifts during the Christmas season but as I get older, I tend to be less disappointed [when] I only receive one [gift] and more grateful that at least I get to spend the holidays with my family and relatives in the province.
“That means being grateful for the yearly traditions of Simbang Gabi and aguinaldo, the games and activities with the relatives and, of course, lots and lots of food. For me, it’s really an honor and a blessing to share my birthday with the Lord. Somehow, the kid inside me who usually used to get excited for Christmas and the gifts he will receive on his birthday has grown up to be a person who’s just simply thankful for the year that has passed.” —Chris, 20, student
Everyone’s celebrating with me
“When I was younger, I would get teased about how unfortunate it was that I just got one present a year—the combined Merry Christmas-Happy Birthday gift. I used to wonder what it would be like to have a ‘regular day’ [as my] birthday. But the fact that my family was always in complete attendance on my birthday always trumps the fact that I only receive presents once a year.
“This year I’m turning 40 and I still think the best part of having a Christmas birthday is that everyone is always on vacation [to be with me] and in such a festive mood on ‘my’ special day.” —Grace, 39, educator
Art by Dorothy Guya