One Sad Sagittarius: The Woes of a December Birthday


Sharing a birthday season with the son of God makes for one sad Sagittarius, who only ever wanted a birthday of his own. (Illustration by Bina Santos)

Published: December 10, 2009

It’s the holiday season, complete with the Christmastime vernacular of spreading yuletide cheer and wishing everyone merry Christmases as they carol the seasonal playlist of tunes like “Rudolph” and “Frosty.” Christmas and Chanukah and New Year’s Eve are all compacted into a mega month-long holiday, full of seasonal cheer. Unfortunately, for Sagittariuses like me, even birthdays are not exempt from this season of compounded holidays.

For 22 years, I have found my birthday, which falls a week before Christmas, on December 18, to be an utterly anti-climatic event. The day of my birth as a bouncing baby boy was amazing in 1987, but never again has it had the opportunity to shine in the shadow of such great holidays as Christmas and New Years. For those who turn another year older in late November or December, a Sagittarius birthday can seem like something of a curse.

And how can I argue with seniority? I was born some two decades ago. Jesus, on the other hand, was born a couple of millennia ago. He accomplished much more in his life than I will ever accomplish, so there is obviously some precedent over who is more important in this season. Everyone seems to find it so convenient to lump every Sagittarius together with the beloved messiah, who wasn’t even a Sagittarius himself.

Besides the obvious Christmas tree and other holiday décor decking the halls of the Jalbert household this season, it is very difficult to look around on my birthday and avoid any thoughts of Christmas. For those who stocked up on Christmas wrapping paper two months ago, it becomes convenient to simply wrap my present in elves and Santa rather than confetti and balloons. Then, there’s what’s on the inside that really pushes my buttons.

I am truly grateful for everything given to me in the world, but it is difficult not to be cynical when you get the double-dip present. What is the double-dip present, you ask? Well, any Sagittarius may share some disdain for this answer, as many of us have experienced the gifting of the half-birthday, half-Christmas present. Like the year I opened a present and someone announced that she spent a little bit extra on my present and that it was a double-dipper. She never used those words, of course, but we all knew what she meant. I never complained because, yeah, it would come off as rude and selfish, but also because I never knew otherwise.

That is, until I entered elementary school, started making friends and started going to other birthday parties.  Oh, the envy I had for Cancers and Leos! While I was cooped up inside on my birthday, buried beneath two feet of Maine snow, my friends with the summer birthdays always got to have the amazing pool party extravaganzas under the sun. Talk about convenient! Their parents only had to shed a few dollars for some chips and dip, cake and soda.  The fun was taken care of by the hot sun and cool water.

If I wanted anything other than an indoor party at my house, I would need to pay some money to arrange a special party somewhere else, or I would need to rely on there actually being snow on the ground to have a sledding party. And we all know weather forecasters are never right.

And even if it did snow, sledding is about as fun as it sounds.  I bet most people give a little sigh of delight; sledding is fun, but that one hill can only be fun for so long, and as for the snow gear, it never worked. Getting wet and snowy feet in your boots was enough to make any happy spirits sour, even on your birthday.

As I grew older I thought that these dilemmas were simply a problem of my childhood. Turns out this problem has found other ways to manifest itself throughout the years. If anything, it has only gotten worse. I don’t worry about double-dipped gifts so much anymore because, as a money-hungry college student, I’m happy to get anything, even if it is slightly less than I hoped for. As for the parties, I’m over 21 now, so that speaks for itself. No more sledding.

However, high school and college presented one more issue to the equation: finals. The December demographic of Sagittariuses have to deal with the scholarly conflict of possible finals the day of or after their birthdays. Nobody wants to go to their last final hungover. It’s understandable. Either way, I’ve had to make some accommodations for what seems to be a completely inconvenient birthday.

The week of my birthday has become a dead zone. Instead, I celebrate a week before the big day or a week after the new year. This has helped eliminate any confusion anyone may have for my birthday and the other special days in December and January. I have been able to have a birthday party with all my friends and family, which at the end of the day, matters the most. When my actual birthday rolls around, it’s actually quite nice to not even have to worry about a bigger event, just relax and, yes, still party a bit on my birthday.

Either way, Sagittariuses have it tough. I’d better not hear any of you damned Cancers and Leos complaining about your nice parties under the sun and your moderated present payment plan. Be grateful! There are some people in the world that lack the privileges you were so lucky to obtain when you were born. I also hope that I don’t hear too many Sagittariuses complaining. Yes, it sucks sometimes, but there are ways to enjoy it all. If anything, your parties are part of a bigger party with Jesus, Santa, driedels and Baby New Year’s. I even find myself giving into those Christmas conformists when I say it’s a complete season of cheer and holiday spirit—the perfect time for anyone’s birthday. To the Sagittariuses out there, I wish you all a happy birthday. I’ll do you all justice and wait a few weeks for the other seasons greetings.