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The silent victims of Christmas

Linda Boyne

It’s high time someone gave a voice to a group of people who are not mobilized to speak for themselves. For years, they’ve suffered silently. This group does not require a support organization, a colored ribbon worn to represent their affliction or a race to raise money to fight their cause. I will speak for them because I am one of them. We are the people who have Birthdays Around the Holidays (BAH).

BAH begins around Thanksgiving, continues through December and shortly into the new year. The main issue people with BAH face is just being acknowledged. Always being in the shadow of a more significant day can mess with one’s psyche.

Was it a coincidence that Ebenezer Scrooge said, “Bah, humbug!”? I think not. He probably had a birthday close to Christmas and became bitter about it being forgotten, ignored or overshadowed by the holidays. It colored his whole outlook on life!

People with BAH tend to overcompensate for being forgotten. I used to announce to anyone I ran into on Dec. 27th, “Today’s my birthday!” My sister thought I was obnoxious, but I truly felt I needed to bring attention to it, lest it be ignored. (I must admit, I actually still do this.)

A woman I worked with some years back had BAH. She took matters into her own hands. To celebrate her Dec. 22 birthday, she threw herself a, “Wait a minute, Jesus. I came first!” party every year.

Please know, there is something you can do to help people with BAH.

Please don’t combine celebrations for the sake of convenience. You wouldn’t recognize Groundhogs’ Day in conjunction with a February birthday would you? Don’t diminish the joy of celebrating the day of their birth.

Make a fuss! Particularly for children, having BAH can be frustrating. We don’t get to have the party outside with the Slip-N-Slide and ice cream cake. Sometimes we can’t even go outside because it’s so cold. Our friends are often out of town or too busy on the actual day of our birth, so we have to have our birthday parties weeks from the real date, causing it to lose some of its specialness. So feel free to make a big deal out of it.

If you’re giving gifts, please separate the holiday and birthday gifts. You wouldn’t give a birthday gift in April and tell them it was also their Christmas present. It screams of seasonism. (Unless you’re giving me a car.)

Please don’t use Christmas wrapping paper on birthday gifts. This includes any wrap with green and red as the primary colors, Santa, Christmas trees, angels, etc.

Birthday wrap during The Season shows you care enough to make the effort.

I’m sure birthdays are forgotten at other times of the year, but is it as painful? Please do your best to diminish the angst caused by BAH for so many people. Just a phone call on the day can make all the difference. On behalf of my follow BAH victims, we thank you. VT

Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for The Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to editor@vailtrail.com.


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