My birthday is in December. I'm not complaining, at least not too much; after all, it's in the first week, not shared with Jesus. But still.
We December and early January birthdays are a special club. Only we know the dismay of the "combination gift," the back-burner treatment of presents, the celebrations postponed until "after the holidays" without a hint of the concept of "belated."
Of course, as I get older I'm just as glad to have my birthday get overlooked or combined with another, snazzier holiday. A nice dinner out, a piece of jewelry - once you're a grown-up, you can make these happen at will, making birthdays potentially redundant, right? In fact, why acknowledge them at all? Another year older and closer to death...
Except that some part of us never gets over the childlike excitement about birthdays. Your birthday is uniquely yours, a chance to celebrate YOU that just doesn't happen any other time in your adult life, other than on your wedding day or at a tribute dinner. There's something touching about that recognition, and everyone deserves to have it unimpeded by bigger events.
People with birthdays in late December or the first week of January have it the worst. They truly get lost in the shuffle, and would probably do well to celebrate their half-birthday six months later. So if you know someone whose birthday is within a week of Christmas or New Year's Day, make a special effort to acknowledge it. Be sure to buy a separate card, not just scrawl "& Happy Birthday!" on a Christmas card. Because a combination gift might actually work in the recipient's favor, but a combination card is just plain cheap.