A Bounty of Kisses

“The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.”

Washington Irving, Christmas Eve 



Retro Santa

Santa on rooftop

Up on the housetop reindeer pause

Out jumps good old Santa Claus

Down thru the chimney with lots of toys

All for the little ones

Christmas joys

From the Christmas song Up On The Housetop

by Benjamin Hanby, 1864


Being A Christmas Baby

Sunday was Christmas. It was also my birthday. Yes, I am a Christmas baby. I get mixed reactions when people discover that fact. Some say “Wow, that is so cool”, others say “That must STINK”.

Confession: when I was in grade school there were times I didn’t think it was so great. Having a birthday party (much less a slumber party) with friends on December 25th? Not bloody likely! And I’m not sure which is worse for a kid whose birthday is on (or very near) Christmas–being told “This is your Christmas and birthday gift”, or not having his/her birthday acknowledged at all.

Some Christmas babies overcome those “hazards” by celebrating a half-birthday in June. But I have never had the slightest interest in celebrating my birthday on any day other than December 25th. It’s all I know and, ultimately, I think it’s pretty cool.

My family has always gone to extra lengths, though, to make my birthday special–separate from our Christmas revelry. How many of you know what time of day you were born? I know because nearly every year my mom, like a town crier, announces the time and proclaims “It’s Blake’s birthday!” Upon that call, the birthday festivities begin. Happy Birthday is sung, birthday cake is eaten, and presents decorated in non-holiday themed wrapping paper are opened. It’s all very thoughtful and appreciated.

Speaking of going to extra lengths, several years ago some dear friends of mine took the cake (er, no pun intended). I’ll never forget being perturbed with my husband because we were running late to our aforementioned friends’ Christmas party. My frustration only grew when Hubby insisted on parking on the street and entering through their front door. “But we’ve got stuff to carry in and they’ll be expecting us to come through the back door like always,” I said. He just grabbed packages and forged ahead, leaving me to trail behind. I was still grumbling when I entered the darkened foyer. Then, before I could register what was happening, the lights came on and a band of guests yelled “Surprise!”

There were many things that made that “Christmas party” a huge surprise; that our dear friends took the time to plan and execute everything was so special. But what was truly humbling and extraordinary was that they deliberately chose to hold off on decorating their house for Christmas, which was just a week away. It was exclusively a birthday bash–a very special gift, indeed.

So, for me, having my birthday on December 25th isn’t stinky at all. My friends and family don’t forget my birthday. In fact, I think it’s remembered and recognized more than it would be otherwise because I’m a Christmas baby. The older I get, the more I appreciate my birthday being on a day when so many others around the world are gathered in celebration; gathered in the spirit of thankfulness, hope, and love. And the best gifts–Christmas, birthday, or otherwise–aren’t the kind you can wrap in paper. The best gifts are the moments shared, the kind words exchanged, and the simple deeds done in the spirit of love.

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