How does it feel to share your birthday with a holiday? Herald reporter Tess Nichol finds out in our Holiday Babies series.

Sharing your birthday with Jesus Christ, or the New Year, can be a bit of a drag.

I should know - I was born on this day 27 years ago, consigned to a life of conjoined presents ever since.

No one's around, you're overshadowed and no restaurants are open for a birthday feed.

On the other hand, no one forgets your birthday, it's summer, and everyone's in full silly season swing and apt to be in a good mood.


We talked to a range of holiday babies to see what it's like when your birthday falls on one of the most special days of the year.

There's the Tolich triplets who, like me, were born on Christmas Eve. But not only does Peter Tolich risk having his birthday overshadowed by Christmas, he didn't even have a cake of his own until his 40th birthday.

Then there's Dylan Sofa, who reckons the worst thing about sharing his birthday with Jesus isn't what you might expect.

There's Jake O'Driscoll, who has been resigned to sharing his birthday with the New Year ever since he was born three months premature.

And there's my mum, Ruth Nichol, who shares her thoughts on having three holiday babies below.

A family of statistical oddities

By Ruth Nichol

We can't compete with the British family that beat mind-boggling statistical odds by producing three members from three generations with birthdays on February 29.

But my family is still a bit of a statistical oddity because all our children were born on or near days of significant public or private importance: Christmas Eve, my own birthday (October 5) and May 13, which, every so often, also happens to be Mother's Day.


And then there's my husband, whose December 21 birthday sometimes gets overlooked in the rush (sorry P!).

Apart from anything else, having a baby on Christmas Eve meant I got to spend Christmas Day in hospital - the first and only overnight stay of my adult life.

The food was surprisingly good, or maybe it just seemed that way because I was awash with oxytocin and famished after a long and difficult labour.

Whatever the reason, I can still remember the taste of the salmon mousse that arrived in my room on Christmas Day 1989; it was almost as delicious as my new baby.

Ruth Nichol holds newborn baby and future Herald reporter Tess Nichol. Photo/ supplied
Ruth Nichol holds newborn baby and future Herald reporter Tess Nichol. Photo/ supplied

Wellington Hospital was definitely in festive mode, though I could have done without the group of high-spirited registrars who burst through the door wearing Santa hats and singing Christmas carols just as I was making another fumbling attempt at breastfeeding.

I didn't stay in hospital long enough to get any food when my youngest child was born almost six years later, but I doubt the kitchen would have run to a cake and candles, even though it was also my birthday.

As I've discovered in the 21 years since then, there's only one winner when you share a birthday with one of your children.

Luckily I've never been big on birthday celebrations, but I have felt the occasional moment of resentment after spending my special day making fairy bread and organising party games.

However, I always drew the line at cooking a joint birthday dinner.

Instead, we ate out, though letting my son choose the restaurant made for some fairly sub-standard dining experiences in the early days.

I'm not big on Mother's Day either, which has so far coincided with my second daughter's birthday on only two previous occasions.

The two days are due to fall together again in 2018 and given that she is currently living overseas, I can't think a nicer way of celebrating the occasion than having her home again.

Read the rest of the Holiday Babies series:

The Tolich triplets, born on Christmas Eve
Dylan Sofa, born on Christmas Day
Jake O'Driscoll, born on New Year's Day