My birthday is December 20, so I have sympathy for others who are December (Christmas) babies. In Jane Austen’s time, birthdays and Christmas did not carry all the fanfare and great expectations that they do today. It makes me wonder what would happen on a December 16 birthday for Jane Austen. Did they have a special meal or treat? Did she receive books as gifts (or a new pen and inkwell)?
My birthday, being so close to Christmas, and me being the last of 7 children, was rarely celebrated as a special day. There was too much going on with everyone else and with the holidays to remember my birthday. When I was 16, my family completely forgot my birthday. There was no cake, no gift, no card, no one remembered. At dinner time, I asked my parents, “Aren’t we going to have a cake or something?” and they replied, “What for?”.
My parents were killed in a car accident in July of 1979. In December, I was still going through their old clothes to pack and give away. At the end of one exhausting day, I suddenly realized, I had forgotten my own birthday!
I hope Jane Austen had happy birthdays.
Here is a portrait of Jane Austen I created this month. It is available in my Etsy shop HERE.