Our boys have birthday’s very close to each other. No sooner are you over celebrating one, then you are celebrating the next one. It catches me by surprise every year!! We have just celebrated both Daniel and Joshua’s birthdays so I thought it a good topic to blog about.
We have created tradition – some intentionally, some have just happened. Here are the things we do to celebrate a birthday:
- Family breakfast where birthday person chooses the menu. As the children grow older we know that this isn’t always possible as work commitments take people in different directions but when we can we will.
- Photos during opening presents. This is a good time to get photos of siblings together (often hugging each other!!). Every few years we make sure we get a family photo on a birthday day.
- Free day – no school for anyone on a family member birthday. This is another celebration that may only last during childhood as work commitments for adults aren’t usually flexible enough to accommodate birthdays
- Family dinner where the birthday person chooses the menu. Sometimes we have a sit-up-at-the-table meal, other times we watch a movie, occasionally we have gone out.
- I write a letter to my children on their birthday. This letter can reflect growth that I have seen in them, accomplishments over the last year or my prayer for them for their coming year.
- I create a birthday poster that stays up till the next person’s birthday (which is a poor deal for Daniel as his birthday is quickly followed by Joshua’s. I try and find a way to keep both posters up.) This poster reflects the character or talents of the birthday person.
- We pray as a family for the birthday person. We gather around and each of us pray.
- At 13 we have given each of our children a little Willow Creek ornament that represents our precious relationship with our children.
- At 18 we have had (so far only for Josh) a party where we recognise and encourage their maturing and entering adulthood
When my kids were little birthday parties were very low key – more like play dates with cake for afternoon tea. I found the kids enjoyed going off and playing with their friends just as much as any party games I may contrive for their fun.
As the girls grew older they started planning and running the parties themselves. It was a delight to see them put all their creative juices into their siblings parties. They have thrown theme parties such as medieval, space, crazy, blue, and adventure – just to name a few. The only thing I need to do at these parties is buy the food – the girls look after the rest.
When Josh turned 18 we through a family style party for him, inviting friends and church family. As a part of the ‘formal’ part of the evening we gave him 3 symbolic gifts: a Bible to represent our desire for him to build his life and the life of his family on the Word of God, a pen representing his ability in communicating God’s truths either in written or verbal form, and a sword (a replica of the Australian Light Horse) to represent that now he is a man he has responsibilities and as he grows into manhood that will include providing and protecting his family. This is a tradition we wish to continue for all of our children.
Do you have special things you do to make birthdays special? I’d love to hear them.