Lessons from a December Baby: The Art of Self-Celebration

It’s not about the goal or the dream you have.
It’s about who you become on your way to that goal.

What even is self-celebration? It took nearly four decades for me to learn! It all starts with the final month of the year… December.

December is always a roller coaster for me. I know most people feel similarly with the rush of holidays approaching and the increase of events, but I’m a December baby. My birthday is December 15th, and years of being a mamma put my birthday at the end of the ever-growing to-do list. Every year, at the top of my list, was being the best Santa I could be. This meant so much more than just buying gifts for my sons. It was creating Christmas magic, decorating, baking, and planning holiday outings. The. Whole. Nine. Yards.

My boys were still so young in this photo!

December is Busy for Moms

As a single mom, it was not always easy to make their Christmas dreams come true, but it was worth it. The finances weren’t always there, but overtime was a lifesaver 😉 Every Christmas morning, my heart filled with joy watching my boy’s eyes light up as they opened their hard-won gifts. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

But, like I said, my birthday? Bottom of my December to-do list for me.

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Some years, my birthday was a quiet affair, quickly slipping away between Christmas orchestra concerts and baking cookies for holiday parties. But in other years, my loved ones would find ways to make me feel truly celebrated. On one of my favorite birthdays, my girlfriend at the time threw me a fantastic surprise party. It was divine. I had never had a surprise party before.

December Birthdays as a Kid weren’t Easy

Growing up, my birthday landed on the date we got out of school for the holidays. I’d march into class in my cutest outfit, awaiting the fanfare that all the other kids got every year. But it was never there. The teachers were exhausted from the year’s struggles, and the kids were too eager for winter break’s onslaught of candy, treats, and gifts. Like a scene out of a movie, I remember many birthdays standing in the hallway as everyone rushed past me, ready for early dismissal. To be honest, my birthdays were a struggle as a kid.

I was 14 years old in this picture!

Some December babies are upset over the lack of gifts. “Thanks for the combo Birthday/Christmas gift!” Said no one ever.

For me, it wasn’t even about the gifts; it was about the allocation of energy. I just wanted to feel seen. Every kid looks forward to birthday parties, cool outings, or in-class activities when everyone sings to them. Feeling the yearly spotlight shine on your face for those two precious minutes feels so quintessential to childhood. A birthday is the only time in your year that you can be celebrated just for simply existing—no accomplishment or effort required.

Being born ten days before Christmas sucks. LOL. There, I said it.

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And I know I don’t even have it the worst! Some December babies have their birthday the day after Christmas or even on Christmas itself. They have me beat.

The Art of Self-Celebration

But this unlucky birthday has taught me a valuable lesson that I think everyone can benefit from: the art of self-celebration. If you want to be celebrated, you have to first be willing to celebrate yourself

I have learned that if I want to have an amazing birthday, I have to vocalize my needs and what I want, and if no one is willing to fulfill these birthday requests, then I do it myself.

Self-celebration is the best gift!

There is no shame in treating yourself for making it another trip around the sun.

I have paid for trips, massages, nails, pedicures, and other guilt-free gifts for myself. Then, when the people who love me show me birthday attention, it comes without expectation and resentment-free because I have already done the work of making myself feel special.

This lesson has thankfully crept into other areas of my life. I have stopped waiting for other people to fulfill me or to give me what I need. When I want someone to do something for me, I ask, or more often than not, I do it for myself. And this is so empowering!!

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You Don’t Need to Outsource Your Joy, Self-Celebrate!

A quote I’m obsessed with right now is from comedian, author, and speaker Alok Vaid-Menon, “I am no longer outsourcing my joy.” What a freeing statement!

I am no longer waiting for someone to put a smile on my face when I can do it myself. Owning my happiness allows me not to be disappointed when there isn’t someone there to give it to me. That’s the magic of self-celebration!

Now, many people begin to say but if your spouse loves you…. And I’m not saying that a partner walking through the door with flowers isn’t a lovely thing. It Is. But why can’t that be the cold foam on the perfect iced coffee that you made yourself? When you start to fulfill your own needs and let others be the cherry on top, you feel differently about yourself and your happiness. This feeling will also allow you to appreciate the gestures of love from your circle even more. Remember, we may not all have the same love language, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t saying I love you.

Oh, the teenage years!

So, as I celebrate being 48 years old, I have already been spoiling myself. I am feeling sparkly, bright, and grateful! The dress on my cutting board today is just for me. 🥰

So even if your birthday is safely placed in June with not a holiday in sight, maybe this year you celebrate yourself first and then let everyone else be the perfect addition to your already complete joy. Self-celebration is essential!

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