My sympathies if your birthday also gets forgotten in run up to Christmas

PUBLISHED: 18:36 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 18:37 28 November 2018

Humphrey Bogart and Annie Lennox were both born on Christmas Day

Humphrey Bogart and Annie Lennox were both born on Christmas Day


What do Humphrey Bogart and Annie Lennox have in common? They were both born on Christmas Day. David Clayton has sympathies if you too have a birthday near Christmas

Humphrey Bogart and Annie Lennox were both born on Christmas DayHumphrey Bogart and Annie Lennox were both born on Christmas Day

Recently, I’ve notched up another birthday. If you’re quietly mumbling “Many Happy Returns, David,” and “Goodness me, you don’t look it!” Thank you. But really, there’s no need. I slip my birthdays quietly “under the wire” these days.

I go through something of a pre-birthday ritual each year too, because around three 
weeks before the day, I text my three grown-up children thus: “Please don’t spend time, of which you don’t have much, and money you could spend on better things, trying to find me something I don’t really need.” I’ve been doing this regularly enough for them to expect it, so they’re not surprised, and I hope they’re relieved.

Bless them, they’ve all attempted, in previous years, to find me that book about buses which I haven’t managed to acquire myself (I know, get a life!) or something Beatles-related (I have a small shrine to the Fab Four at home). They’re hurtling around like many of you, with demanding jobs, ferrying their offspring hither and thither and I’d rather they concentrated on that.

I’d be mortified if they were fretting about what to get their dear old Dad and then, where on earth to get it from. I do however invite them to send me an outrageously funny birthday card, rich with double-entendres or insults, usually about my age. They have, 
and I’ve laughed out loud. One of the cards on the mantlepiece is so hilariously rude it may have to be taken down if anyone comes around to see me. (I’ve just realised that someone has, and I didn’t!)

Facebook has vastly increased the range of birthday greetings, which is nice. They started arriving from relatives and acquaintances in Australia ahead of the date because they’re having my birth day first, by a few hours. Then thanks to modern technology my virtual mantelpiece was over-flowing because I was also texted, What’s App-ed, e-mailed and Tweeted.

This year, I’ve been staying away for my birthday and was perplexed as to how my wife managed to totally surprise me with a large, framed photograph I’d coveted on a visit to a gallery. Given I’d carefully packed the car for the trip and must have therefore packed the present in the process, puzzled me. “Its not that difficult to smuggle something under your nose,” she said. I’m still not sure if that’s a compliment, or not.

Anyway, here’s a sobering thought for our modern age. My birthday is just into the second half of November. Its not notable in the sense it falls in that twilight zone between the first colourful flushes of Autumn and the full-on festive season.

My sympathies lie with those of you having a birthday so close to Christmas that it blurs the present-giving lines, however it looks like I’m being re-positioned towards you. It won’t have escaped your attention that we are being bombarded with programmes and adverts that talk of nothing else but Christmas and its been going on a few weeks now.

I was sitting there on the afternoon of my mid-November birthday watching the telly when up popped the national treasure that is Phillip Schofield. I like him and feel a certain empathy because at one time we were both TV continuity announcers working with a puppet. I was sparring 
with B.C. on Anglia, he was creating comedy gold with Gordon the Gopher in the so-called “broom cupboard” on BBC1. The trajectory of our respective careers went their separate ways after that. I think he’s done OK! Anyway, up pops Phillip on a TV trail for “This Morning” proclaiming with commendable enthusiasm “Its nearly Christmas!” 
“Blimey, is it?” I blurted out loud. Surely that’s something like December 20th?

I can’t quite accept that my birthday has now fallen into “nearly Christmas.”

I’ll be doing my present buying in the January Sales which will presumably start anytime now!

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