As far as holiday birthdays go, Christmas babies have to take the cake. Sure, Fourth of July babies get fireworks each trip around the sun. Halloween babies get an epic costume party, and Valentine’s babies will surely never feel a lack of love when they blow out the candles. But Christmas is next level: double the gifts, double the fun. Sure, Christmas babies have to compete with the Prince of Peace, but what’s that when you know you get to eat gingerbread and all the birthday cake you want every Dec. 25? Plus, old Christmas Day superstitions from around the world say these holiday babies have special blessings.
That’s right, superstitions suggest that babies born on Christmas Day come with some bonus powers. No, not like Xena Warrior Princess powers (they can’t use telekinesis or outwit their opponents with magic). Instead, their special attributes have to do more with their birth being a good omen and a clue that their future is bright. One need only consider a few Christmas babies to see how this might be true. Think: Jimmy Buffet, Annie Lennox, and Isaac Newton. If their lives are any indication, claiming the 25th of December as your b-day isn’t too bad at all. Then again, folklore is a fickle thing and bound to have contrarian opinions. What will you believe? There are plenty of fascinating beliefs and old wives’ tales about Christmas Day babies for you to decide yourself.
What sign is December 25?
Babies born on Christmas Day are Capricorns, which is represented by the goat. “Those born under this sign are naturally well-mannered, good-natured, and highly disciplined,” Karen Comen, life coach and lead astrologer at ZodiacSign.com, explains. “But Capricorns can also be stingy know-it-alls and develop a ‘my way or the highway’ life philosophy.”
In Western astrology, December is considered the season of prosperity and success, according to Comen, so a Christmas baby is supposedly more likely to be quite career-driven. “Capricorns are infamous for their driven mentality towards work,” Comen says. “So the myth in question is that babies born on Christmas Day already have their career paths set up.”
With this in mind, what does it mean to be born on Christmas Day, specifically?
Old wives' tale #2: They'll live a long life
If your Christmas baby is born on a Thursday, better save up that college tuition now. According to that same poem, not only will a Thursday Christmas child do good deeds, they'll also be "of speche and tonge wyse and reasonabylle." Friday babies, on the other hand, will live a long, long life — and a mischievous one that that.
Old wives' tale #3: They're really unlucky
Oh, one more thing about that poem... seems not all Christmas babies were fated to be fortunate. According to the verse, while all the Sunday-through-Friday babies are blessed with wisdom and strength, "Yf Christmas on the Saterday falle... children that e borne that day, Within halfe a yere they shall dye, par fay." Yikes. As if that weren't confusing enough, the Mrs. Daffodil Digresses blog explained that, back in 1921, it was thought that Christmas-born boys would be lucky, while Christmas girls were known as "the sorrow child[ren]."
Old wives' tale #4: They may turn into literal monsters
Having a Christmas birthday in Greece isn't what you'd call a happy event. As the German newspaper Spiegel explained, Greek legend has it that nasty goblins called Kallikantzaroi appear at night between December 25 and the January 6 Epiphany. During that time, they run riot, smash belongings, and generally scare the eggnog out of everyone.
Furthermore, when a baby is born on Christmas, it will turn into a Kallikantzaroi. “The Greeks traditionally believed it was an affront to the Virgin Month and Child, and therefore, children born on Christmas were likely to turn into Kallikantzaroi (monsters from folklore),” Earl says. “To prevent this from happening, parents were obliged to singed the toenails of newborns, lest they turn into claws!” As another way to avoid that unhappy fate, garlic was also tied onto their newborns. It may make for some rather stinky cuddle sessions, but better that than having your kid become a red-eyed, worm-eating hellbeast.
Old wives' tale #5: They are close with animals
Your Christmas child could be a real-life Dog Whisperer. Or Cat Whisperer, Goat Whisperer, or Lemur Whisperer. The Chest of Books website says that folklore from the Kentucky mountains has it that babies born on Christmas can "understand the speech of animals."
Perhaps related, but definitely not as welcomed, it has also been believed that those with Christmas birthdays might turn into werewolves. “In parts of Poland and Germany, it was feared that being born on Christmas made a child more likely to become a werewolf,” Earl says. “Christmas was believed to be a season of increased demonic powers.”
Old wives’ tale #6: Their career paths are set
A number of old wives' tales about Christmas-born babies are related to the jobs they were destined to have. In early 20th-century England, superstition had it that parents of boys born on December 25 should push them to enter the clergy, and girls born that day should become nurses. And in 1890s Silesia, now part of the Czech Republic, it was believed that a Christmas-born boy "must be brought up a lawyer or he shall become a thief." I'm guessing that there were lots of Silesian lawyers celebrating Christmas birthdays back then.
Whether or not you believe any of these seasonal superstitions, there's one undeniable fact: Having a healthy December 25 baby is always a happy gift. (But it can't hurt to keep the garlic handy, just in case.)
Karen Comen, life coach and lead astrologer at ZodiacSign.com
Brian Earl, host of popular podcast Christmas Past and the author of the new book Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday's Traditions
This article was originally published on