From exploring why we celebrate turning one year older to discovering birthday traditions around the world, our series “All About Birthdays” brings you fun facts about the day we all celebrate.
December finds people of all faiths and backgrounds shifting into celebration mode, ready to relax, warm up and get jolly. The bleak and sleepy stage of winter has yet to arrive, any snow is likely more picturesque than heavy, and most employers are getting ready to pause work for a few days —not a bad time for a birthday party! Given that New Year’s resolutions aren’t due yet, a December birthday allows both you and your guests to sneak in some final indulgences, minus the guilt. Being born in December doesn’t just afford you a great setting for a celebration, it also comes with some extra gifts that can’t be purchased.
December babies are chilled out and smart
According to the neurological non-profit ECNP, which is an organization that provides guidance and information to the public on matters relating to brain function and the treatment of brain disorders, December-born individuals are less prone to moods swings than almost all others. December babies rarely ever experience Cyclothymic temperament, a condition “characterized by rapid swings between sad and cheerful.” Though those born in December are typically among the youngest in their class at school, a scenario some parents worry may affect a child’s grades and social anxiety, economists have found younger students often hold career advantages. Not only that, but the UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies found December babies are 20% more likely to attend college than those with summer birthdays.
December birth flowers protect as well as party
December babies, you’ve been gifted two birth flowers, each distinct and unique in color and texture. Holly is a symbol of happiness and security at home, and just like Christmas trees, is an evergreen. A favorite in holiday wreaths, Christian tradition considers holly’s red berries to represent the blood of Jesus, and its sharp leaves, the crown of thorns he wore. The serrated leaves benefit those of any faith, however — their prickly edges keep deer from eating away at gardens.
The second flower is the paperwhite Narcissus, a close relative of the daffodil, with thin, white petals, a golden center bloom, and a vibrant fragrance. Historically symbolic of honor and kindness in western cultures, and prosperity in the far east, the Narcissus is a perfect bloom for the season of celebration. Cornell University florists have discovered that a bit of vodka or gin in the flower’s water can keep the Narcissus from bowing over as it grows taller.
December gifts long life and a healthy heart
Generational studies performed by the Journal of Aging Research show that December babies have a greater shot at living to age 105 or older than those born in the summer. This is partially due to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease for the December-born. A study of nearly 2 million subjects performed by Columbia University found those born between September and December to have an 18% lower risk of heart ailments than the average American. While no concrete causes were uncovered, Columbia’s staff believe the cardio health boost may relate to seasonal conditions during a mother’s pregnancy.
December’s zodiac signs are adventurous and determined
Those born the first three weeks of December are Sagittarius (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21), an ambitious sign that lives to explore and experience the world. Generous with a knack for teaching, Sagittarius’s magnetic personality easily engages all those they meet during their adventures. The sign’s symbol, a bow and arrow ready to fire fit them perfectly; they’re always aiming for the stars, ready to launch a new project at a moment’s notice. Such grand ambition can lead one to overcommit, though when the time is right, a Sagittarius can manifest goals others wouldn’t dare set. Sagittarius notables include Pope Francis, Billie Eilish, Walt Disney, Miley Cyrus, and Katie Holmes.
Birthdays that take place in the last 10 days of December are Capricorns (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19), perhaps the Zodiac’s most focused and hardworking sign. Low-key on the surface, Capricorns love to let loose around those closest to them (though they may need to be reminded to do so). Their workaholic tendencies may find them misread as unfeeling or impersonal — not so, however, as a Capricorn loves teaming up to accomplish goals. Interestingly, some say a Capricorn’s spirit ages in reverse—while others tire and worry as the years pass, age can bring Capricorns more energy and humor. Stephen Hawking, Michelle Obama, Isaac Newton, and Kate Middleton are all Capricorns.