Growing up I used to hate birthdays. Whether it was my own or a family member or friend’s, I did not understand why it was important. I guess my background and own family life is much to blame. My mom did try to make the day special, waking us up with singing and presents, and then for dinner, you could choose what you wanted to eat, or where you wanted to go to for dinner. That was precious and special, so I think my issue was because of my dad. He died when I was 24, and out of those 24 years, I think he remembered my birthday a total of 5 times. So a handful. When he died someone gave me his diary of that year, and in it my birthday wasn’t even written in. I don’t think he even knew when it was. So I didn’t like making a fuss over my birthday because then it wasn’t a big deal when he forgot. Terrible how such a stupid negative thing by someone who really doesn’t know better can shape you and make you dismiss the positive things in your life.
My change happened when I started having my own kids. I realised how important it was to celebrate birthdays because it means celebrating the person who is having the birthday. My eldest is now turning 6, and youngest 1turning 4, and I feel that it is time to start a few traditions of our own. Things that the kids will remember, and look forward to every year, and then when they start their own families they can even continue with them. Or start their own traditions. I have kept my mom’s tradition of waking the kids up with singing, and giving presents first thing in the morning. And the birthday girl gets to choose what we have for dinner, and who they would like to invite over (within bounds of course).
I would like to add the following:
- The birthday fairy: plan something surprising in their room for when they wake up, e.g. balloons or streamers or flowers or fairy lights.
- Celebrate at every meal, and serve their favourite food the whole day. Have breakfast in bed, pack a special lunch, have dinner together. And if they love sweet things, cake at every meal!
- Forget the card, go for a poster! Say happy birthday loudly by going bigger. Bigger is usually better. These posters can be kept as a reminder of their childhood.
- Storytime: Turn them into the main characters of their own life story, and then tell it to them. You get the coolest programs where you can write your own story, then print it and even bind it. Again, these can be kept as keepsakes.
- Make a birthday book that you update every year. Every year, add a photo, a letter from you to them, and a shortlist of answers to the same questions. You can even add things like their height, favourite food, colours, sayings, etc. Give this book to them when they turn 18. If you would like my quick list of questions for your birthday interview, see below.
Any traditions that you have that are special? Please share!
Birthday interview questions:
- How tall are you?
- What colour is your hair?
- How long is your hair/hairstyle at the moment?
- Tv show
- Outfit (include a photo)
- Sport or activity
- Song or genre of music
- Book or story
- Flavor of ice cream
- What do you want to be when you grow up
- Who is your hero
- What is your birthday wish?
- What are you really good at?
- What would you like to learn to do?
- Where would you like to go?
- What is your best memory?
- What is your biggest wish?
- What are your pet peeves?