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My kid’s birthdays are exactly one week apart. I love celebrating their big days, but I am also completely wiped out once they are over. When they were younger I’d combine their birthdays and have a single, giant party each year. Unsurprisingly, as they got a little older they wanted their own birthday celebrations and traditions.
I was able to maintain having back-to-back celebrations for a couple years, but along came covid. We entered lockdown a week before their birthday’s last year… one year later a big party is still out of the question. Despite yet another year under the shadow of covid and a second year without parties, it didn’t mean we couldn’t make their days extra special.
We have a handful of birthday traditions that make the kiddos feel extra special on their big day. We’ve held to these traditions every year since they were toddlers. Honestly, it wouldn’t feel like a birthday without them. What I love these traditions is they are little things that we can still make happen — even in the middle of a global pandemic. They make the day all the more special.
The first thing we do is decorate the night before. While the kids are sleeping my husband and I get everything ready so the kids wake up feeling the birthday love. It started as only decorating their doors with streamers and filling their rooms with balloons, but over the years the decorating has exploded all way into the kitchen. This year I discovered balloon garland, and oh boy, it’s a game-changer. It’s such a fun, easy way transform a room into a party paradise. Adding to the flair were balloon stands which make decorating with balloons a breeze.
The second tradition is our “yes” day. (Within reason of course). Pretty much what ever the kids want to do that day, we say “yes.” When they were younger we would spend the day doing things like putt-putt golf or playing on the playground, but now, with my oldest turning 13, “yes” days are looking more like unlimited video game days and endless amounts of junk food. Still, magic is all about perspective, so let them feel the power of “yes.”
A third thing we do is to let them choose where they want to go for dinner, order for dinner, or what they would like me to make for them. The sky is the limit. We’ve made Filet Mignon and ordered Panda Express. We’ve eaten countless pizzas, tacos, and mounds of spaghetti… they just need to let me know in advance so I have enough time to make the reservation or buy the ingredients. Our number one request? Teppanyaki… or as our kids call it, “chop chop” since they chop things in front of you.
Finally, let them eat cake! Of course there is cake. Even when we think “brownies instead,” nope, a last-minute cake is baked. Even though it may just be the four of us for the small celebration, I still love making their cakes special. I try to tailor the theme of the cake to whatever they are into that particular year. I have made everything from Pablo from the Backyardigan’s show to a Rapunzel cake complete with tower. This year my daughter’s cake was a horse-themed cake. There were horses, fencing, pasture… and of course all the farm yard pals were there. My son on the other hand, asked for his favorite fresh strawberry pie.
None of these traditions are super elaborate or expensive, but these little gestures and details make them feel extraordinary for their big day. I plan on continuing these little traditions as long as they will let me. I hope they pass them on to their kids someday too.
What are some of the special birthday celebrations and traditions you do each year? We always have room for another idea or two!