Even if you don’t have a big party for your child’s birthday every year, you can still make it a very special occasion by marking the day with some family traditions. An old tradition for a first birthday is to place a piece of bread, a coin, and a Bible in front of your baby. Whichever item they reach for first “predicts” what they will be when they grow up – healthy, wealthy, or wise. Of course we all may want all 3 for our children but this could be a fun little game to try out! (I didn’t hear of this in time to do with my daughter but she would have gone for the Bible – she’d pretty much have chosen a book over anything!).
Here are some ideas for birthday traditions:
Every single birthday since her very first one, I have sung Happy Birthday to my daughter at exactly 6:58 in the morning on her birthday – the time of her birth! Some years, of course, I’ve had to wake her up to do this and some years it had to be over the phone but I have never missed a year. I know she really looks forward to it – she must since normally waking her up at that hour of the morning would be taking my life into my hands!
On each birthday when she was younger, my daughter got to eat her dinner from the “special red plate” and sit in the “princess chair” (as referred to a couple of posts ago).
Use a growth chart and measure your child’s height on each birthday. I recommend something portable so that you can take it with you if you ever move. Kids seem to get a kick out of seeing just how much they’ve grown.
Write your child a letter each year on their birthday. You can make note of special events and achievements in that previous year and talk about qualities that you particularly love in them. You can even include funny things they’ve done and “favourites” at that time. I’ve done this since my daughter was born and am going to bind them into a book to present to her when she has her first child.
Have a birthday wreath that you can hang on the door to announce to the world that there’s a birthday happening there that day. Kids will enjoy being greeted by it upon their arrival home from school. You can even make a tradition where you put a new charm or ornament on it each year – something to symbolize something important in their lives that year. It could be a treble clef to symbolize them starting music lessons or a little soccer ball to represent making it on the soccer team – that kind of thing.
I found a birthday cassette (yes that’s how long ago it was) when my daughter was little – it was a special birthday song and said her name as part of the song (Hey Samantha, it’s your birthday……..it’s stuck in my head now!) and every birthday after she was tortured – er I mean treated to me singing Happy Birthday to her, we would play this tape. She loved it!
For someone special who lives far away, create a “birthday party in a box”. I made reference to this in my post on care packages – you can include some home baked goodies, balloons, streamers, party hats and blowers and instruct the recipient to open it up on their birthday!
I heard of one person who had a special dress that had been her mother’s. Each year on her daughter’s birthday, she would take a picture of her “wearing” the dress. It was fun to see her daughter over the years, coming a little bit closer to fitting in the dress and gave some perspective on how much she had grown. Another idea along these lines is to plant a tree when your child is born and take a picture on their birthday every year next to the tree to see how much both of them have grown! Or put your child in the same chair every year and take a picture there.
On milestone birthdays, you could do something extra. When my best friend turned 13 (becoming a teenager), instead of getting her one bigger gift, I got and made her 13 smaller ones so that she had one to open for every year she had been alive. I did the same for my daughter when she was 13. My dad bought me 13 long-stemmed red roses for my 13th birthday with a note saying that he knew I would be given flowers by other men throughout my life and he wanted to be the first.
There are so many ways to add an extra special touch to a family member’s birthday and create a treasured tradition. Do you have any birthday traditions in your family?
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