Evan Bragwell said he will always remember the Christmas present he received 16 years ago.
It wasn't exactly what he had asked for, but he quickly grew to love it.
"It was a baby sister," said the 22-year-old Bragwell. "I wanted a little brother. When I got to see her and hold her, I fell in love with her."
Destiny Bragwell celebrates her 16th birthday today.
She's not exactly sure what her family has in store for her, but she knows it will be special because "it's Christmas and it's my birthday."
"When I tell people my birthday is on Christmas they're really amazed," said Bragwell, a sophomore at Colbert Heights High School. "It's kind of neat to think that everyone is celebrating my birthday with me because of Christmas."
Alex Wittscheck, of Florence, is 24 today.
"Everyone assumes it was tough growing up with your birthday on Christmas. It really wasn't that bad," Wittscheck said. "My family was really good about it. We would get up Christmas morning, open Christmas presents and have breakfast. Later in the day, we would have birthday cake and I'd get birthday presents."
Bragwell said he was jealous of his sister when he was younger.
"She always got more gifts at Christmas," he said laughing.
"But I got Christmas and birthday presents," Destiny said. "Now, sometimes I think I get cheated. I get one present for my birthday and Christmas."
According to specialists in event planning and parenting, some people try to separate Christmas birthdays from Christmas Day by having birthday celebrations earlier or by having them after Christmas.
Some people, according to event specialists, will have a special celebration for a Christmas birthday in June or July and then something smaller on Christmas Day.
"I've never had a birthday party with friends, because it was on Christmas Day," Wittscheck said.
Bragwell said her parents have always tried to separate her birthday from Christmas.
"When I was younger, I just remember it was Christmas and Santa was coming," she said. "My mom would try and separate the two for me, but I really didn't know the difference then. When I got older, I had a birthday party in November, but it just didn't seem right."
She said her only request was not to wrap her birthday gifts in Christmas wrapping paper.
"So, we do our Christmas on Christmas Eve, and after we finish handing out gifts, we'll usually go into the kitchen and have my birthday," Bragwell said.
She said her mother usually has her a traditional birthday cake, but one year she got a special cake from an aunt.
"It was in the shape of a Christmas Tree," Bragwell laughed.
Bragwell said her dad, Alan, a paramedic who died in a helicopter crash in 2007, used to play a joke on her every year on her birthday by getting people they all knew to send her wake-up text messages.
"My phone would start blowing up with all these text messages of ‘Happy Birthday.' Now, Evan does it to me," she laughed.
"I'll text everyone I know, and get them to text other people and everyone send her a text message," Evan said. "I decided after our dad died, I would continue to do it to her. Now, it's become a tradition for us.
"She tries to do it to me (on my birthday), but I have more contacts in my phone than she does."
Wittscheck said when he tells people his birthday is on Christmas, they think it's special.
"So, that makes it special," he said. "Everyone is off on my birthday; that's pretty cool."
Bragwell said Christmas will always be special to her, whether it was her birthday or not.
"I just love Christmas," she said.
And as for Evan, "It's special because (Destiny) was my Christmas present that year," he said. "When I saw her, I wanted to take her back and trade her for a little brother. But now, I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world."
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.