I survived another birthday season! Our kids were all born within a few weeks of each other (well, not all in the same year obviously), so springtime can be a busy and stressful time for me. I love to make my kids’ birthdays special, but I also like to keep things simple. Sometimes, by the time the third birthday rolls around, I’m ready for a break, but I don’t want one child to feel as though I spent more time or effort on another.
Five Simple and FREE Birthday Traditions to Start This Year
Thankfully, special doesn’t have to equal elaborate. I’m a big believer in traditions and my kids love them every bit as much as I do. We’ve established several birthday traditions in our family that are simple, easy, and free. If you’ve been looking for ways to make birthdays a bit more special, I encourage you to try these traditions.
1. The Birth Minute Photo
A couple of months before Eli turned one, a Facebook friend posted a picture of her son on his birthday with a caption that said it was his ‘birth minute’ photo. I immediately knew it was a tradition I had to start. So that year, on Eli’s birthday, I took a picture of him at 8:34 pm, exactly a year after he was born.
It never occurred to me that our other children might not be born at such an opportune time, so now, the night before Samuel’s birthday each year, I have to set my alarm so that I’m up at 12:38 am to snap a picture of him sleeping soundly. Maybe one year when he’s a little older, I’ll actually get a picture of him awake.
2. The Birthday Plate (or Cup or Bowl or…)
Before I got married, my mom, sisters, and I went to one of those Paint Your Own Pottery places. I ended up making a ‘Happy Birthday’ plate. After Eric and I were married, I put it in our cupboard and now we pull it out on each birthday when it’s dessert time.
If you want to keep this tradition free, you can always choose a special plate from the ones you already own, but I think it’s worth the one-time initial price to make (or have one made) especially for birthdays. You don’t have to use a plate either. My sister’s family has a Birthday Goblet, but you could also make a bowl or even a whole place setting!
3. The Birthday Dinner
In our house the birthday child (or adult!) always gets to choose what they want for dinner. Usually the kids want me to make something, but occasionally they’ll request pizza or to go to a restaurant.
I guess technically this isn’t a free tradition, but you’d have to eat dinner even if it wasn’t someone’s birthday, so I’m still calling it free.
4. The Birthday Letter
The year I started blogging was the year I started this tradition. Each time a birthday rolls around, I write a letter to that child. Usually it talks a bit about the previous year, how I’ve seen them grow, and what I’m looking forward to. My kids have yet to read any of these letters, but I’ll save them for when they’re a bit older.
I’m sure a lot of you are thinking, “I’m not much of a writer; I could never do this.” Yes you can! Your kids don’t care how eloquent you are. Think of what a gift it will be when they’re older and can look back on what you had to say to them each year. Wouldn’t you love to have something like that from your parents?
You can read this years’ letters here, here, and here.
5. The Birth Story
Okay, I have to admit that I don’t do this one, but I should start (mostly because Loralai did it in Gilmore Girls and she’s kind of awesome). What kid doesn’t love to hear stories about himself? Tell him all about the day he was born (well, maybe not all about it… you should probably leave out the gorier details) and before you know it, he’ll be telling the story to you.
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
Kids do love to tell stories about themselves as babies. Recently we did “family spotlights” for each member of our family, and now they are constantly telling me stories about what they said/did when they were babies. Yeah, I know. I was there!
These are great! A couple of years ago I started decorating my kids’ bedroom doors the night before their birthdays, so they wake up and see balloons and a happy birthday sign stuck on their door. They really look forward to it on their birthday morning.
That’s a great idea! We decorate the opening between the living room and the kitchen and the kids really like that too!
Thank you for some awesome ideas to start with our little one. We had our first child 11/2015 and I had started a tradition for Christmas and that is I will read her the story of how she came to be and her first Christmas. The story is called my Christmas prayer and it might be a little sappy but it was written from her daddy to her and no matter how old she may get I will read it to her every year.
That is so sweet!! What a wonderful tradition!