Birthdays are very special occasions in every family and are brilliant opportunities to start traditions that your children can pass on when they have little ones of their own. American birthdays often include cakes and gifts on the honoree’s big day, but why should the fun stop there? After all, there are 24 hours in a day. That’s 1440 minutes worth of opportunities to make lasting memories for your entire family!
No matter how old that special someone is, he wants to feel like his family cares. Birthdays are built-in reminders that somebody you love has made another year of your life better, just for being part of it. Here are 5 ways that you can beef up your birthday traditions to make every member of your family feel like top dog on his or her special day.
1. King or Queen for the Day – While Your Royal Highness is sleeping put a crown, scepter and robe on her dresser. As long as she is around the house, she has to wear her swanky gear. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on these items. You can make a crown out cardboard, decorate a simple dowel rod with some paint, sequins and ribbons for the scepter and use a pretty chenille blanket as a robe. For the entire day, the Queen has special privileges like control of the TV, no chores and her choice of the birthday meal.
2. Balloon Mania – For each year of the birthday boy’s life, tie a balloon somewhere around the house. For a first birthday, tie the balloon to your baby’s doorknob, for his second, put one on the doorknob and one on his chair at the dining table, and so on and so forth. By the time he’s 15, there will be balloons in every room!
3. The Official Birthday Place Setting – Choose a special place setting that is only used for the birthday celebrant on the big day. It could be as fun or flashy as you want it to be. Buy a special plate or use one that was passed down to you, use a special set of silverware (the nice stuff is usually sold per piece) and have an elegant or goofy glass or cup for the occasion. Set the birthday boy’s place with your official family birthday place setting for every meal.
4. The Silly Breakfast – A lot of families allow the honoree to choose her favorite meal for dinner, but why not breakfast? Who says that spaghetti isn’t a breakfast food? Most meals can be prepared the night before, so set up won’t take too much longer. Everyone’s heard the old “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” bit. Shouldn’t this apply to birthdays, too?
5. Wish Candles – This is a thoughtful twist on the typical birthday candle tradition. In the middle of the cake, use the appropriate number shaped candles to signify the correct chronological age. Then give everyone in the family a regular birthday candle. Go around the table and have each family member make a birthday wish for the honored celebrant and add a candle to the cake. When everyone has finished, light them up and let the birthday girl make her own wish and blow them out. If you have a video camera, now is a great time to dust it off. Children have a knack for saying the cutest, most memorable things when they are put on the spot like this. You will definitely cherish the memories.
Family traditions are important for everyone, so don’t forget that these ideas can (and should) be used for mom and dad, too. As an added bonus, buy a small gift for each other on each of your children’s birthdays. You both deserve it! You’ve survived another year of parenthood!
Jessi Arias-Cooper is a work from home mother of 3 boys and has been married for 10 years. If she had time for hobbies and interests outside of parenting and keeping house, they would be jewelry making, baking, watching bad B-movie horror flicks and creative writing.