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Easy rituals to celebrate family birthdays


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So it's my birthday today, which normally I'm just like whatever, I don't care about birthdays.  But I realized if I have said that too many times then no one else cares either.  I grew up with a mom with just a few faults (ahem, we have have a much better relationship now) and you could never make her happy for her birthday. Never get her the right thing, it was always too much money, not what she wanted,  etc. etc.  So I tried not to stress the kids out at all about mine, and I will also add that I stress enormously over getting presents for them too.  Like, I dread it months out in advance and still wait for the last minute just because I am so stressed about it! So that's been our habit pattern over the years.

I realized now that what we need are just little ways to make the birthday person feel special without going all out.  I don't know what though.  We don't even do cards. And the thought of making them make me cards if they don't want to anymore (they're 14 and 20!) seems like too much to ask!  For instance, a friend of ours always has birthday cupcakes in the morning, so when the kid wakes up they eat a cupcake in bed.  Which I wouldn't want us to do since that's a LOT of sugar in the morning, but something similarly ritualistic so every birthday doesn't have to reinvent the wheel.

Any ideas?

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The birthday person gets to pick what's for dinner for the family that night- or whatever night you can get together is what ours has evolved into. Or we eat out together as a family.

 Now that they're all adults the only gifts are at Christmas.  Unless dd and I are shopping together. haha.  Actually that's when I pick up some of her Christmas gifts!  We did always have the kids' favorite cupcakes--the funfetti ones.  I never got to learn to make cakes from scratch like I wanted to for this reason.  😞  But it's a family joke/tradition, especially with ds #2. 

I apparently went too far on being casual about the date when mine were growing up.  We'd celebrate another night often. And there was one gift .  I'm seeing oldest's wife make a big deal of birthdays with lots of gifts.  Guess every family has their own way of celebrating. 

Happy birthday!!!

 

Edited by Tina
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When the kids were younger, we went through their baby album together on their birthday.

Birthday person picks where we go out to dinner (or get take-out during the pandemic).

Birthday person picks out the cake (either one I make or an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins). 

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I always get a couple of balloons from the dollar store and sneak them in so they're there when they wake in their birthday. 

Sometimes we have cinnamon rolls for a bday breakfast. 

Bday person chooses where to eat out for dinner. 

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Birthday person picks the menu for supper....either home cooked or out to eat.   I am just not a fun mom that goes all out.

One friend does donuts for breakfast for her kids birthdays.

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26 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

I always get a couple of balloons from the dollar store and sneak them in so they're there when they wake in their birthday. 

Sometimes we have cinnamon rolls for a bday breakfast. 

Bday person chooses where to eat out for dinner. 

This is what we do, except birthday kid gets to go pick their balloon.  We do a big party at 5yo, 10yo, and 15yo (or 16 If they choose).

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We always let the birthday person choose dinner/dessert.  

If the kids are home for their birthday, I put out balloons and bday signs for them to wake up to.  We always did this when they were growing up.  

And we have "festivities" time where we do gifts/cards/activities of their choice.  

Mostly I just want everyone to feel special on that day.  

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We let the birthday person pick what's for dinner (I make them their favorite dinner). They also get to request their favorite cake/cupcake flavor and ice cream (which I make if I can or buy if I can't). We have dessert and presents with just us, and sometimes my parents and/or my brother's family join us, if they can make it (they are local). DH always asks if I would prefer to order my own birthday dinner/cake, rather than have to cook on my birthday, but no one makes my favorite carrot cake as well as I do! 

My MIL (the kids call her Amah) takes the birthday kid out to eat (usually Friendly's or Wendy's, their choice) for lunch during her visit one day during the week (she lives over an hour away now). My mother (the kids call her Grammy) takes the birthday kid out to either Chuck E Cheese or the bowling alley on the weekend. Of course, this only applies to the younger boys - DS24 just wants the dinner, cake, and money thankyouverymuch.

My oldest always had big birthday parties, with all the family and friends invited, but then I had four more kids, three of whom have birthdays within 30 days of each other. It just got to be too much. 

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Happy Birthday.

We do the same as most previous posters, the birthday person chooses the dinner menu and type of cake and ice cream.  The birthday person is excused from most chores.   He or she also selects a family activity or outing.  This activity is not necessarily done on the birthday.  

I usually ask the children for suggestions of things they might like and then chose one item to give as a gift.  If there is something dh or I really want, we give each other permission to buy that item.  Otherwise, no birthday gifts for adults.    

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These all sound like reasonable low key ideas! I guess part of this year's angst was realizing that no one had gotten their act together to get my presents in time (well, Barnes and Noble early closing hours didn't help!) and then today I had to pick up my own cake, my own birthday coffee (often we pick up coffee for the other parent, but today I was on my own) and my kid who was baking scones for my birthday present almost just ... didn't.  All which made me wonder if there's something I'm missing -- if we did ONE special ritual then people wouldn't have to be scrambling because it wouldn't be a new idea!

I knew one mom who would write happy birthday in dry erase marker (or lipstick?) on the mirror for her kids... and another who would decorate the door of their bedroom the night before.  But I like the looking at pictures idea, and maybe we will do birthday scones or muffins from now on. With a side of eggs:) 

 

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What we do - When birthday person wakes up in the morning everyone in the house comes running and we all sing happy birthday. Birthday person picks breakfast, dinner and dessert for the day. Anyone who is available sings happy birthday on the minute of their birth. If they are not home we call on that minute and sing  happy birthday- even if it is to a voicemail box. 

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Happy Birthday!  
 

So many great ideas here!

Family birthdays:

We always do breakfast in bed for the birthday person.  There will be a candle stuck in the pancakes or eggs it whatever breakfast may be that day (whatever the birthday person likes).  We usually give a gift in the morning, too.
 

We decorate the breakfast nook with balloons, usually.

Birthday person picks dinner that we will make or eat out, and the cake.  We usually do gifts and cake in the afternoon.  If it’s a school day, we make it an easy day.

And ... we often have a separate birthday party for friends and family.  But that’s another topic. 🤣

 

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Ours is easy. Birthday kid chooses dinner and I make The Cannoli Cake. DS helpfully populates a Pinterest board, complete with amazon links, of gifts he’d like to receive. 🤣 

DH and I are not gift people. We wasted years stressing about gifts before we even realized we didn’t have to do that. A weight was lifted. Sometimes one of us will get something for the other, but it’s spontaneous and not tied to a holiday that forces it. I’m generally more invested in the meal. 😬

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Ours is similar to the other posters. Birthday person gets to pick where or what we eat. I will make their favorite meal or we go out to eat. They pick the type of cake they want and either my eldest dd or I will make it. We do the number candles on the cake. Gifts are opened after we eat the cake. Occasionally we'll watch a movie that the birthday person picks out but that's not very often.

I see some of my friends go all out with decorating. Putting balloons on the outside of the bedroom door so when they open the door all the balloons fall onto the birthday person. Decorating the mailbox & front door. Stuff like that. 

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Very simple around here. Birthday person picks out what I cook for dinner, and I bake what they want for a birthday cake. I buy ice cream and usually paper birthday plates for the cake/ice cream. Gift is usually one item with a very fixed budget. (Except for this year, because ds really needed something we knew he'd be delighted to have.) For me, we go out to eat, and I usually don't want a cake because we've just gotten over the holidays when I have eaten way too many sweets. For the kids, we often have either family friends over, or a couple of their friends, but no "party" as such.

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Happy birthday!

We do birthday donuts with a candle for breakfast and then the birthday person picks either where we go or what we have for supper that night.
 

I make a cake for the rest of the family members on their birthdays. My birthday is in July, so they get me an ice cream cake, which is my preference. 

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39 minutes ago, Rachel said:

. My birthday is in July, so they get me an ice cream cake, which is my preference. 

 

This was my bday dinner every year when the kids were still living at home!  I love ice cream cake!  🙂

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We do a "you pick" for the dinner menu.  You're going to eat anyway. 😉 (We have since banned seafood as an option, lol.)
You get a cake and two gifts.  We also have a special red plate that you eat on in the evening.  I'm not fussy about birthdays either.  The kids do usually make DH and me cards but we don't usually ask for gifts or anything.  DH will generally bring me home something I like raspberries, lol, but he does that regularly anyway. 😉 

We try to hit a sweet spot between, "The day is special," and, "Wow... how will we do THIS every year?" 

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