“Tis the season, again”

Having a  birthday close to Christmas makes both occasions rather messy for you and your family. As my friend ,whose birthday is on New Year’s Day, wrote, “You feel like you get cheated on your Christmas/birthday gifts.”  But  there are perks.

This is one of my favorite posts, probably because I had fun writing it. There’s no serious medical information in it, but I hope you will find inspiration to stop and think about the “reason for the season”.

Don’t  we celebrate more special events and holidays the last six weeks of the year than the rest of the year combined? It feels that way to me.  We have these three major holidays-

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve have become mini holidays too.

And when Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on the weekend, Friday or Monday will be a holiday for many people.

First we had Black Friday. Then they added Cyber Monday. Now we also have Giving Tuesday, which I think is the only one that really counts.

beautiful large Christmas tree
Christmas at the Chicago Museum of  Science and Industry, photo by Raymond Oglesby

Some people observe the special celebrations of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

In the United States, we observe December 7 as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the day in 1941 the United States entered World War II.  That event changed our country forever, and created my generation, the post-war  Baby Boomers.

The USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor Memorial at the USS Arizona

On December 17 , 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their  famous flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ushering in the age of air travel, another historical turning point.

aircraft airplane antique classic
Photo by Inge Wallumrød on Pexels.com

The shortest day of the year occurs on December 21, the winter solstice and first day of winter in the northern hemisphere.

light snow on trees and ground
a snowy day in Oklahoma, captured by Dr Aletha

And  there are other special holidays and events observed too.

Besides holidays, other matters demand our time and attention during this season also.

College students face the end of a semester by studying for finals and finishing term papers and projects.

Renewal notices for subscriptions, licenses, and memberships show up in our mailboxes or inboxes.

Charities offer us one final opportunity to make  tax-deductible donations.

Patients call their doctor’s, dentist’s or optometrist’s office for that last chance to use medical insurance or flexible spending accounts before the new (and probably higher) deductible kicks in.

red gift boxes
Christmas birthdays can be messy too. (from a sermon series by my pastor Chris Dow, photo by Dr. Aletha )

And in the middle of all this, I celebrate my birthday.

Having a  birthday close to Christmas makes both occasions rather messy for you and your family. As my friend with a New Year’s Day birthday wrote, “You feel like you get cheated on your Christmas/birthday gifts.”  

But  there are perks.

Your neighbors remind you your birthday is coming by hanging lights on their houses and turning them on every evening. (My husband claims that’s not the real reason. He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus either.)

You can go to a holiday party and pretend it’s for you.

You can listen to Christmas music on your birthday without seeming weird.

Your husband may hire a limousine to drive you around town looking at holiday lights displays. (He really did-twice.)

at my birthday dinner with my family

Thank goodness, so far, no one else in my immediate family has chosen to be born or married this month. (Although I was delighted to learn  recently that two  distant cousins also have December birthdays.)

But the best part of any birthday is reflecting on your life, the successes and failures, the joys and sorrows, and remembering the people and events that brought you to where you are now.

Birth and death comprise this journey  we call Life. Long ago I recognized that we physicians do not ultimately “save lives” or “prevent death”, but we can sometimes impact the time and circumstances.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


This year I have  celebrated with friends who welcomed new babies into their families. I watched a friend face a disabling illness and death with the same faith, courage, enthusiasm, dignity and humor that he had lived life. I have mourned with his family and others who have lost loved ones this year.

Some people dread birthdays, but I believe  they are  a blessing; I am grateful for another year of life and hope to use whatever time I have left productively.  I agree with this quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes

“To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.

Buzz Aldrin, one of the Apollo 11 astronauts and second human to step on the moon’s surface , trekked to the South Pole-at 86 years old.

A woman celebrating  her 103rd birthday made the news.  As always, she spent the day at a senior citizen center- as a volunteer!

In January, our country observes the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I doubt my birthday will ever be deemed a federal holiday, but I hope something I do in life will leave this world a little better.

A birthday creates a new beginning  and so does a new year.  Perhaps we can all use the New Year’s Day holiday  to remember, reflect, renew and recharge our hearts and minds for another season  of life.

Yes, ’tis the season-Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,

and happy birthday, whenever yours may be.

dessert with a lit candle in the middle
I hope your favorite restaurant gives you a complimentary dessert on your birthday.

exploring the HEART of health-and birthdays


Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

18 thoughts on ““Tis the season, again””

  1. My two boys have the same. One is New Year’s Eve, the other is first few days of January. They usually never had a birthday party other than family with cake, etc. because people were so busy during that time. Thank you for visiting me so I could come visit you. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your explanation of all the different holidays, remembrance and celebratory days during these last few weeks of the year. Happy birthday to you too! I’m sure you’re making the world a better place with your presence.


  3. Hi Aletha and thanks for joining in our weekend coffee share time. My wife of 41 years and I got married in December. It seemed like a good idea at the time but now, we both think that waiting a month or two might have been wiser. We were both between semesters at college but that was only a one year deal. We’ve struggled to do right by our anniversary ever since. Most years one or both of us manage to get caught up in Dec. stuff and forget about it completely until one of us recalls it, likely the day of and mentions it. This year, I got caught up with a failed home furnace and didn’t realize the date until that evening when my wife, also distracted, suddenly recalled it, winning the lotto for this year.

    Yea, I’d marry her again, but would plead with her for a different month.


    1. That’s hilarious Gary; I don’t think I could keep up with one more thing in December. My son and his wife were in their best friends’ wedding the week of Christmas and I remember how strange it felt going to a Christmas wedding. I think theirs also had to do with school. They’ve been married close to 20 years so theirs worked out also. It was my pleasure to share on your site, thanks.


  4. Happy Birthday! Merry Christmas! My Granny had her birthday in December (12) . She used to say that it was extra special because she always had decorations to enjoy. We used to have a “party” for her birthday, and top it off with decorating the tree. Now, we decorate after the parade in New York in November, and take down Jan 1. Have a blessed week and a great birthing day! 🙂 Bear


    1. Thanks for the birthday greeting Bear and sharing your Granny’s story. I also have always thought it is special, I can’t imagine a birthday without the lights and festivities, even though I do know they’re not really for me. I’m glad you stopped by my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #OverTheMoon this week. Each Hostess displays their own features so be sure to visit me on Sunday evening and to see your feature! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!

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  6. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

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