“You mean you don’t get to have your own Birthday Party, that’s not fair!”
“We all have the same party together, it is much more fun that way,” This would be my response every year during the Christmas holidays.
My sister, my brothers and I all had our birthdays around the Christmas holidays, well, my sister’s was a little off, hers is November 6th. I’m next on December 16, then my brother Sam on December 18th and last my brother Joe on December 22nd.
My mom never let our birthdays go by without a celebration, however, all 4 birthdays were celebrated together on the weekend before Christmas, close to Joe’s birthday. It was a family gathering with all my aunts, uncles and cousins where we played games together. The big event was when my mom brought out the cake. It was one cake with all our 4 names written on it. The 4 of us stood behind the table in front of the cake, we all got to make a wish and blow out the candles at the same time.
When we told our friends about our birthday celebration, it left them in a state of shock! They considered this to be unfair and sad. The most amusing part was telling them that we did not get 2 gifts for our birthday and Christmas. “It is too bad your birthdays are so close to Christmas.”
For us, it was the best time ever! It was all part of what made Christmas so special.
The first couple of years, we did not have a Christmas Tree. So, we got creative… my mom bought a few tinsel decorations and a a few garlands. We decorated the plant in the living room. It was a type of Palm Plant that reached the ceiling. We wrapped it up with garlands and hung the tinsel on each leaf. We were so excited to put the Christmas gifts under the plant. We laughed amongst ourselves, we found it hilarious how we could turn a plant into a Christmas tree. We would invite friends over just to see their reaction, we had a blast ever time we showed a new friend our “tree”. I remember our first Christmas tree, it was 2 feet high and came with lights. We were all excited about showing it off. It was not high enough to been seen from outside the window, so, we placed a few boxes on top of each other, a table cloth over it and placed the tree on top of the boxes by the living room window. At midnight on Christmas Eve, we all gathered around our tree, listened to Christmas songs, my dad would open a bottle of sparkling wine, we all toasted and wished each other a Merry Christmas. This was the best of all gifts. It was what we looked forward to every Christmas!
The size or shape of the tree was never important to us, it was our tree that we put up together. My mom always cheered us on, she was our #1 fan, making us feel like we had just put up the Christmas Tree on Times Square. She always let us be, as long as we were all participating and managed to get along. This was true in everything we did especially when we were playing. As much as we got along together, we would argue and get into conflicts often. My mom never stepped in to decide who was right or wrong for us. She let us figure it out for ourselves.
“If you can not have fun by playing together, then none of you get to play. Figure out what you all want and how to play together.” So, we would have to come up with ways to agree on things on our own.
Looking back, the fact that we were put in these type of situations, allowed for us to not only become best friends with each other, but, develop interpersonal skills. We all had very different, unique personalities, we learned how to find ways to create games where we all got to do what we liked. We enjoyed being with each other, we loved that we celebrated our birthdays together, we considered ourselves lucky that we could all make a birthday wish and blow out the candles at the same time. We realized that our friends could not understand that because they did not have the same relationship with their siblings. We thought that it is was sad that they could not enjoy being around their siblings like we did with each other.
Enza, Sam and Joe, although we are not together this year, we can still blow out the candles together!
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