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Merry Birthday

For most children, Christmas is one of two days a year where they can look forward to reaping a bounty of gifts and sugary snacks. The luckiest of children have their birthday and Christmas positioned fortuitously separate, optimizing both the individual joy and gift-receiving potential of each occasion.

However, there is a distinctly less lucky segment of children who cannot so easily separate the two occasions.

Born on Christmas Day, Jessica Paulk was one such child.

“I guess I’m a little bit cheated sometimes,” Paulk said. “I’ve never really had a birthday party on my birthday. We’ve always had it around it and not on it.”

But, Paulk readily points out that her family has always done a great job of trying to separate the two occasions, giving her both a merry Christmas and a happy birthday.

“My family has always kept it separate. They’ve always had a little birthday celebration,” Paulk said. “We’ll have Christmas in the mornings and then in the evening, they have always celebrated my birthday.”

The distinction makes sense for the family as Jessica was born in the evening, after the family had already wrapped up its Christmas celebration.

The approach to giving Jessica a merry birthday is one that her husband, Brandon, has had to adopt in the couple’s years together.

“It’s sort of the same way,” she said. “He pretty much goes along with the family. We have Christmas and then whenever they have my birthday stuff, he gives me my birthday gifts.”

The dual-meaning of Dec. 25 has also taught Jessica about a little-known facet of the greeting card industry geared toward that rare individual born on Christmas day.

“They actually make cards,” she said. “I have had a few years where I have gotten a combo present or a combo card. There are not that many people that can actually say they can get a combo card.”

So, while most would frown upon having to share their birthday with America’s most popular holiday, Jessica has learned to embrace the uniqueness of the day and all the little bonuses that come with it.

“It’s very easy to remember,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve had a family member forget my birthday yet.”