The most influential and best-loved person in the history of mankind has His birthday celebrated on December 25 – Jesus of Nazareth. The Messiah. The King of kings. The Christ. The Savior. Wonderful. Counselor. The Prince of Peace.

Across the world, the largest celebration of the year commemorates Jesus’ birthday. Family in from afar. Christmas dinner. Opening of presents. Midnight mass or other services.

So, if you are one of the 1/365th of the population who share a birthdate with Jesus, what do your people do about observing your December 25 birthday?

My own nephew, John Cole, in Charleston, was born on December 25. Over the years, his mom and family have been very careful to have something special just for John and his birthday — something not during Christmas celebrations, where it obviously would be overshadowed. All the family branches do their Christmas during the day on December 25. Then, on Christmas night, they all gather at the birthday boy’s house for his birthday party. There’s one option.

Also, have you heard of Christmas in July? Well, birthday mom Jan Cole once had a birthday party in July for John Cole. It was actually a half-birthday. There’s another option.

And what about birthday gifts? One thing that I disagree with is buying the birthday boy (or girl) something very special that is for both Christmas and the birthday. (Spend a little more. Shop a little more personally.) That doesn’t work well. The gift is given under the Christmas tree, and the birthday is simply subsumed (there’s a word!) by Christmas. The birthday is all but forgotten.

Another option is having a birthday party a few days before or after Christmas. Birthday gifts are given at the birthday party, not under the Christmas tree.

In addition to those folks with an exact December 25 birthday, there is the same problem for folks with a birthday very close to Christmas. Birthdays on December 23, 24, 26 or 27. They really get lost in the Christmas shuffle. And because their birthday is not actually on Christmas Day, no one may think about doing something special for the near-Christmas birthday.

This year will be the first Christmas without beloved singer Jimmy Buffett, who died September 1 on Labor Day weekend. It will also be Buffett’s first birthday in one particular harbor in heaven.

Buffett is a Christmas baby. He was born on December 25, 1946. Buffett followers have planned special Buffett remembrances, mostly on an individual basis. It’s tough to organize an event on December 25, as people have full schedules already.

Buffett fan Dennis Weikel is using the 220,000-member Facebook group BuffettNews - Jimmy Buffett to promote an individual, simultaneous birthday observance: “Let’s raise a toast to our Captain on December 25th at noon Central Standard Time to wish him a happy birthday.”

Other notable Christmas birthdays are:

Justin Trudeau, 1971. Prime Minister of Canada.

Rod Serling, 1924. Writer, including TV’s “The Twilight Zone.”

Humphrey Bogart, 1899. Actor.

Anwar Sadat, 1918. Prime Minister of Egypt.

Conrad Hilton, 1887. American business leader and hotelier.

Cab Calloway, 1907. “Scat” singer and jazz band leader. The Cotton Club in Harlem. Heidi Heidi ho.

Clara Barton, 1821. A founder of the Red Cross.

Karl Rove, 1950. Republican political consultant and commentator.

Larry Csonka, 1946. Super Bowl MVP, two rings.

Louis Chevrolet, 1870. Auto designer and racer.

Evangeline Cory Booth, 1865. Early General and expander of Salvation Army.

Stan Givens, 1960. Mobile, Alabama pastor and rescuer of floundering churches.

Steve Lewis, 1964. Sylacauga community and sports leader.

Wanda Willingham, Sylacauga community leader.

Happy birthday, all you Christmas babies – and near-Christmas babies!

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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