I love birthdays.
My parents made our birthdays really fun when I was growing up, and now that I have children of my own, I particularly love making them a festive event for the whole family.
I think birthdays are an especially fun time to have family traditions, and over the years we’ve developed some fun ones that aren’t too complicated or time-consuming, but make it a really special and exciting day for everyone:
- Breakfast in Bed. This is one from my parents and one of my favorite memories from childhood. On the morning of our birthdays, the whole family would traipse into our bedrooms singing happy birthday and holding a breakfast tray. It’s so simple but so out of the ordinary (when else do you get breakfast in bed?). And of course, that breakfast was always. . .
- Sugary cereal. When I was growing up, we never had very fun cereal, and we’re pretty much the same now – the regular rotation is mini wheats, plain Chex (my favorite!), or Life. So having Lucky Charms or Reese’s Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a very special treat. Plus, it’s so easy. No getting up early to make pancakes, and the rest of the siblings are equally excited about getting a few bowlfuls after the birthday girl has eaten (I wrote a whole post about this tradition here).
- A decorated kitchen table. After the girls go to bed, Bart and I set the table and hang up balloons and streamers, and put out party hats and those little party blowers. After breakfast in bed, it’s fun for everyone to come out and see the table looking mighty festive, and ready for the non-birthday children to eat their sugary cereal.
- An outing to the candy store. This is a new one this year. On Star’s second birthday, it was rainy and we weren’t sure how to spend the morning. Bart looked up things to do with kids in the area and discovered there was a very large and very popular candy story not too far from us. We gave each of the girls $2 and then we spent an hour looking at every aisle as they decided how to spend their money. It was so fun and the girls were in heaven, with the older girls asking if we could come back on THEIR birthdays and do this again.
- Dinner at Grimaldi’s. If you sign up for Grimaldi’s VIP program (which is free), you get a free large pizza coupon around your birthday. We’ve signed up everyone in our family, and so, usually a few days before the actual birthday, we all go out to dinner together. Because of the spacing of our birthdays, we end up going about every third month, so we rarely go aside from our birthdays and it feels like a special birthday outing, plus a fun way to kick off the celebrations. If you don’t have a Grimaldi’s near you, there are plenty of other restaurants that offer birthday freebies. When we lived in Texas, we would go to Fuddruckers during our birthday weeks.
- A tiny smash cake for first birthdays. This has been my favorite tradition for each of the girls, and I’m in mourning already that next February will probably be our last first birthday celebration. I love making a tiny cake in a tin can or mug and then decorating it up with a single candle (you can see more details about how I make it here). It’s just so cute and fun for photo ops, plus I don’t feel bad about a ton of cake getting wasted.
I have a friend who does a special both parents/birthday child date for birthdays, which I love the idea of incorporating, but haven’t actually gotten around to doing ever.
Do you have family birthday traditions? I’d love to hear (and then I’ll probably steal them for our own family!).