I’m Jewish and my birthday is on Christmas Eve. It’s always made it hard to celebrate, but my twin brother and I have made our own family traditions.
- My brother and I were born on Christmas Eve, which can make it hard to celebrate.
- We're Jewish, and if it wasn't our birthday, December 24 would be just another day for us.
I was born in the middle of a blizzard in New Jersey on December 24, 1995. I'm a triplet, and I was born first; my fellow triplets and I were born four months premature. The doctor told my mom not to go into labor because he was hosting a Christmas Eve party. I didn't listen — I wanted to see the world already, and I paved the way for my siblings.
Sadly, my sister died of an infection just under two weeks after we were born, so it's just me and my brother celebrating our Christmas Eve birthday.
What it's like to not celebrate a holiday that's the same day as your birthday
The funniest part about having a birthday on Christmas Eve is that I'm Jewish, so I don't even celebrate Christmas; if I hadn't been born on December 24, it would be just another day to me.
Whenever I tell people that my birthday is on Christmas Eve, they often respond with something like, "Oh, that must suck, you must not get presents for both your birthday and Christmas!" I typically laugh, because they're wrong on two accounts — I actually do get more presents over the holiday season even though I don't celebrate Christmas.
I normally say something along the lines of, "I actually don't celebrate Christmas. I'm Jewish, and some years, I get double presents because my birthday falls when Hanukkah is."
While Christmas is on the same day every year, Hanukkah is dependent on the Jewish calendar. Hanukkah is the holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Greeks destroyed it. It falls somewhere between November and the end of December, and it lasts eight days.
My Christmas Eve birthday made planning difficult while I was in school
Having a birthday on a holiday when much of the world is celebrating with their families always made making plans for my birthday more difficult. In fact, I've never celebrated my birthday in school on the day of. Growing up, my birthday was mostly celebrated in school the day before holiday break.
When my brother and I were in elementary school, we were in separate classes. My mom would bring in Munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts for our respective classes. I also never really had birthday parties growing up, because a lot of people go on vacation with their families during that time and I never knew who was going to show up.
Even though we all know that you can keep the celebration going as long as you'd like, it always felt too late to celebrate my birthday after returning from holiday break. As I got older, we started to celebrate with our respective friends at some point during the break from school.
What it's like sharing a birthday with my twin
I love my brother, but it isn't always easy to find commonalities in our interests. Growing up, my mom would put a character that he liked on his side of our birthday cake, and one that I liked on mine. We almost always go to Carvel to get our birthday cake because it's a family tradition from my mom's side of the family.
On my 5th birthday, my side of the cake was Madeleine and his side of the cake was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (For the record, I loved the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, too, they were just not my first choice to put on my side of my cake.) I never knew what it was like to have a birthday all for myself; in fact, it feels weird to me that not everyone has a twin that they share a birthday with. I'm grateful to share my birthday with my brother.
We do our best to create birthday traditions that work around the holiday
While my birthday is somewhat difficult to celebrate on the day of, my mom, brother, and I do our best to start celebrating fairly early in the day because a lot of restaurants and activities close early. My stepdad, aunt, and uncle sometimes join us, too.
To be honest, I always feel a little sad going out to dinner on Christmas Eve. I mostly prefer to order in. There aren't a ton of options to choose from, so we normally eat Italian food for lunch or an early dinner.
Some years we go to the movies if there's something playing that we all want to see. I love seeing Broadway musicals and shows, so I almost always see at least one around the time of my birthday, too.
For parents of those with birthdays on holidays
For the parents of kids who have a birthday on a holiday, I can imagine that it feels frustrating, like it felt for my mom. You may wonder how to make the day feel special for them, and the good news is that birthday celebrations can go on for days after your birthday.
Please remind them that they deserve to be loved and celebrated, no matter what day their birthday falls on. It's important to create memories that are just for them and cherish those memories throughout your lives.
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