Birthday Traditions

Celebrating a birthday is the perfect way to show a loved one that you care about them. In our family, we show love on their special day in the following ways:

  • Birthday child gets to pick the dinner menu for the evening, including dessert (which is not always a cake). They get their dinner on the special blue plate used to honor special occasions.
  • When the children are younger, we have usually planned a family outing such as a trip to the zoo. Once the children reach school age they usually prefer a party with friends. These are usually fairly simple affairs, more along the lines of a “playdate with a theme”. Sometimes the parties have been family events where we invite 2-3 families to celebrate with us (mainly so we have someone to share the cake with!) and the children just play.
  • Telling of the child’s birth story (my children love to hear birth stories and often request this at other times throughout the year).
  • A photo shoot, usually outdoors with Dad as the photographer.
  • A handprint record: paint the child’s hand and place on a sheet of cardstock. This has mostly died out by the time the child starts school, but it is fun to have a record of their itty-bitty hand sizes.
  • A few gifts from parents, one of which is always a book.

Some new traditions I would like to start:

  • “__ Things We Love About You” list. As a family write 5 things or 7 things or 35 things (depending on their year) that we love about the birthday person. Make a large poster to hang on their bedroom door, and make a small version that can be included in their memory box.
  • Take a photo of the birthday child with mom and dad on either side, kissing their cheeks. Take a photo with siblings (we have done been doing this sporadically over the years, but I want to be more consistent).
  • Conduct a birthday interview, like this or this.  I have done this some, but I need to develop a template and print it off so it is ready to go every year.

Other fun ideas:

  • Hang a balloon from the ceiling for each year with $1 bill inside (source). Maybe start this at age 10 for our family???
  • Wrap their birthday lunch in birthday gift wrap.

Birthday Themes we have done in the past:

  • 1 year old: birthday cake with immediate family (A, L, Z)
  • 2 year old: invite one other family to join us for a theme cake (snowman-A, frog-L, Cars cupcakes-Z)
  • 3 year old: Bug party with friends at the playground (A), H is for Happy preschool party (L), cupcakes with friends at the playground (Z)
  • 4 year old: Family party (A), Tangled-Princess (L), Best buddy party (Z)
  • 5 year old: Fancy Nancy theme (A), family party (L)
  • 6 year old: Pretty Pink (A), Butterfly Fest and family party (L)
  • 7 year old: Tangled-Princess (A), Horse theme (L)
  • 8 year old: Family party (A)
  • 9 year old: Favorite things–paper dolls, books, Lego (A)

How do you celebrate birthdays in your family?

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