December birthdays are sometimes over shadowed, especially if the birthday is close to Christmas. My mom’s birthday in December 7th, weeks before Christmas, but over the years we have kept the tradition of going to the snow for her birthday to make her day feel more special. This year because of COVID, we weren’t able to take our annual trip, but we still made the most of the occasion. Hopefully these are tips that can help you with your December birthday.
- Make food or order food that is special for the celebrant
My mom loves fried chicken, so we ordered a bucket of chicken wings, legs and thighs from a local restaurant. You don’t need to have an expensive dinner to show your appreciation for someone. Knowing what they like, whether it’s a particular dessert, drink or appetizer from a restaurant, and having it as a part of the meal can make any person feel special, even it’s something as simple as a chicken wing. My mom loved it!
2. Meaningful gift
Also, a meaningful gift, often not very expensive, can go a long way. For my mom, my sister had the idea of creating a cook book filled with my mom’s recipes. We printed out a cover of what the cookbook would look like and arranged for us to cook with my mom every month to add a recipe to the cookbook. If your celebrant loves to garden maybe give them planting seeds or a framed picture of them in their garden. Or if the birthday person loves music, why not give them virtual music lessons or a dance lessons. If the person loves to read, make them a bookmark or make them a no-sew fleece blanket to wrap themselves up with when they’re reading.
It may be difficult to get together for the holidays during a pandemic, so a zoom party might be your only option. Keeping traditions going, even virtually, maintains some normalcy and semblance during this time. I’d encourage you to try to incorporate your traditions in the virtual celebration. If you normally eat a cake, try having a cake delivered. If you open gifts, try mailing them or dropping them off. We normally have a cake, so I went out to a special bakery to get a very decadent cake for our dessert. Also, this could also be a time to create new traditions. One that I would like to try is for everyone can share one great memory with the birthday person this year.
These days, it seems frivolous to celebrate birthdays, but we could all benefit from looking forward to something, especially celebrating life, which is what I did today– we went to Oakland to celebrate my younger brother’s 37th birthday. When the idea of having a bbq at his house was brought up by me and my sister, Paulo hesitated, saying that he wasn’t in the mood. In context, work has been overwhelming and he’s in the middle of purchasing a house, so the very last thing he wanted to do was plan a birthday bbq. At the recourse of my pleas, Paulo eventually contested, probably out of guilt. But later today, when we were sitting around the dining table, with our plates filled with a blend of traditional American food, like ribs and mac and cheese, and Filipino food like lumpia and pancit, as ambient music played in the back, and as my niece, dressed in her Hawaiian dress nibbled only the crispy edges of her lumpia, and as the Oakland sun set in and the soft light afforded a calm and peaceful evening, there was a mirth of gratitude felt by me and I suspect, everyone else, including my brother. Paulo, in his relaxed candor, signed and smiled, unknowingly unaware of how grateful I was for this Saturday, this moment, this birthday, and the best present- him. Love you, little bro. Happy birthday!
As a gift, one of his good friends Kirby, made his rice crispy cake. It was delicious!
It was day ____ (I’ve lost count) of sheltering in place in San Francisco, but today was also my birthday. To take advantage of the empty streets and zero traffic, my hubby took me to five literary landmarks in SF. Some were revisits, but it was great to visit a few new places.
Here they are in the order we visited them:
- John Steinbeck’s apartment ( 1901 Vallejo Street)
2) Robert Frost Plaza (1 California Street
3) Jack Kerouac Alley and City Lights Book Store (Grant and Columbus avenue)
4) Waverly place (China town in SF)
5) Maya Angelou’s high school (George Washington High School 600 32nd Ave)
I have a confession to make: I turn 41 in two days, and it’s the first time in a long time I’m not motivated to celebrate. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or if there are more important events in the world to draw attention to. The thought of celebrating while others are fighting for their lives seems insensitive. I do understand that I have the privilege of breathing. That in itself seems like something to celebrate or at least acknowledge. Last year on my 40th birthday, I went to Las Vegas with a group of friends to watch a Janet Jackson concert. A year later, I will be at home with my husband, our 5th month sheltering in place. If I’m lucky, I can blow out candles and exhale.
Here are some pictures from last year…