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Fun Birthday Traditions

May 26, 2012

Birthdays are a big deal around my house and therefore we celebrate them in a big way. Here are a few of our birthday traditions that you may like to try, too.

Birthday Plate – We have a special birthday plate that each child is allowed to use the entire week leading up to their birthday and – of course! – the actual day itself. I painted ours at a local paint-your-own pottery studio, but any unique plate will do.

Birthday Cake Fortunes – When I was growing up, one of my favorite traditions was the birthday cake. My mother would individually wrap small trinkets in wax paper, mix them in with the batter and bake them in the cake. Each trinket had a ‘fortune’ associated with it for the person who found it in their slice. For example, whoever got the dime would be rich, the gold ring meant you’d be the first to get married, etc. It was the highlight of my birthday to see if I found a treasure in my piece of cake.

The Day You Were Born – Every year on my children’s birthday, we talk about their actual ‘birth’ day, and look at pictures from when they were born. Each child’s story is as different as they are. It’s also fun to look back in their baby book (if you recorded it) or online (if you didn’t) to see how much stuff cost, what the popular songs were, what was going on in the news, etc.

Decorate! – Two words: go overboard! My first year of college, my roommates (whom I had just met a couple of weeks before) surprised me on my birthday by decorating my dorm room. We’re talking complete celebration overload: a sign on the door, balloons galore and confetti EVERYWHERE! It was awesome. Nothing says “special day” like a room filled with balloons, streamers, and confetti in your bed!

Choose Your Dinner – The birthday girl or boy always gets to choose their favorite thing for me to make for dinner on their birthday. It’s always fun for me to see what each one’s favorite dish is. Sometimes they start planning months in advance.

Throw a Party at Home – I’m the first to admit I probably need a birthday party 12-step program (see, I’ve already mastered step #1 by admitting I have a problem!), but I just love to plan them. There are certainly times when my kids want to have their party elsewhere, but some of our best have been the ones we had at home, For example, the Star Wars Party, complete with making light sabers out of foam pool noodles and having pod races down the driveway; a teddy bear breakfast; and the murder mystery dinner party.

Age Gifts – When my oldest daughter recently turned thirteen, I came up with a fun new tradition that my two younger kids are already looking forward to. I gave her thirteen gifts each containing thirteen things. Some of her gifts included 13 decorative pencils, 13 dollars, 13 ponytail holders, 13 pairs of fun socks, 13 Hershey’s kisses, 13 bangle bracelets, etc.

Random Acts of Kindness – A friend recently posted this on Facebook. The idea is to do the same number of random acts of kindness (ROK) as the age you are turning. A ten year old would do ten; a sixteen year old would do sixteen, etc. Ideas include leaving quarters in gumball machines at the mall; hiding a dollar bill in the toy aisle at the dollar store; delivering cookies to your local firefighters; taping money to a vending machine; picking up trash; paying for the person behind you at McDonalds; placing positive notes or pictures drawn by your kids on people’s windshield; taking cupcakes to the nurses at the hospital where your child was born; or writing a thank you note to someone you’re grateful for. Print out little notes to include with the ROK (something simple like “Please enjoy this Random Act of Kindness.” I can think of no better day (or way) to teach kids about the joy that comes from giving to others.

Here a just a few ideas to get you started. If you have a birthday tradition of your own you would like to share, please comment below.

Deborah Dove is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of three who blogs at Light on the Lampstand about parenting, cooking, travel and life.

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