Holiday Birthdays: The Intangible Gift


Often, birthdays are considered just another holiday for each person during the year: filled with kindness, gifts, decorations, and celebrations. However, the concurrency between a birthday and a major holiday is where the controversy lies. Do you receive more presents during a “double holiday” or less? Are you the center of attention during that holiday? Do people resent you for that? To remain within the season, this story will dive deep into the consequences, standards, and general public opinion on holiday birthdays.

When surveyed (140 responses), over half of the upper school has a birthday that is not near a holiday. Then a little less than half said their birthday is close to one, leaving 7 percent for the people whose birthdays are on holidays. If a person’s birthday falls on a holiday, it usually occurs during some of the larger holidays, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. On the topic of Christmas, there is one element of the two days (Christmas and birthdays) that both share: presents. Everyone loves to receive presents, and the question becomes whether or not the people with Christmas birthdays get duped out of more presents. According to the survey, that statement is true for more than half. The other portion, given a bit smaller, receives no presents, as they might celebrate other holidays or none at all during Christmas time, leaving however the smallest portion of Christmas birthdays receiving extra presents.

Despite the discrepancy in tangible gifts, who is left to question the intangible gifts given during these special times. I argue there is a second shared element of the two days: metaphysical compassion. Though everyone receives the monetary pleasure a present delivers and its food to the appetite of the soul, as Socrates put it, many pay little regard to the amount of compassion they receive during special times. Since a birthday might fall on Christmas, during such days one would find more of this compassion, or the food to the reason of their soul, than the average birthday or Christmas day alone. This Christmas time, or birthday time–whenever people are around you–be sure to appreciate the specific metaphysical bonds you make with them as well as the compassion, love, and respect they give back.