Cake, presents, and streamers galore…it’s been Birthday season at the O’Loughlins.
Three of the six birthdays in my family are all in the same week! We love it! But it can be tough on the Party Planner, AKA Mom. Since we just wrapped up this Week of Birthday Bliss in our house, I’d like to share five of our family birthday traditions that won’t cause birthday burnout or break the budget. And, of course, these will help the birthday boy or girl feel extra special!
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1. Birthday Buddies
There’s a family video of my sister’s 1st birthday where my brother Tyler and I kind of took over her birthday party. (Mostly me, sorry Mariah!). Ty and I were both under three-years-old, so we didn’t really understand what was going on except 1) cool presents 2) cake 3) PRESENTS!
After watching that incriminating evidence, I was excited to adopt the concept of Birthday Buddies from my husband Joey’s family. It’s one of my favorite family traditions! Birthday Buddies are there to help the Birthday person feel special on their big day. It’s an important job!
In our family, the Birthday Buddies help decorate for the party, make treats, and select presents. They often set up scavenger hunts for the main gift. We usually make a special birthday breakfast, and all of the Birthday Buddies get one candle to blow out to celebrate the start of their role in helping the Birthday person feel loved. And everyone gets lots of sprinkles.
Birthday buddies go on all of the birthday outings except for one-on-one parent dates. They even get a small gift near present time (usually something to enjoy at the party like balls for a game, glow sticks, candy, etc.)
Our children have all seemed to understand that it’s cool to be a Birthday Buddy starting around age 2. Maybe it’s the candles? (We’ve been using these trick candles for the last few birthdays, and our kids think they’re amazing!)
Do we still have some jealousy issues with our children on birthdays? Sometimes. But I think being a Birthday Buddy makes the day more fun for everyone and helps them feel good to serve each other!
2. Big Numbers
This is another birthday tradition we’ve adopted from the O’Loughlin clan. They make a big posterboard number of the birthday age, display it on the wall, and tape that number of quarters to it (10th birthday = big number “10 ” with 10 quarters). Some of my sisters-in-law always take a picture each year next to the number so you can see how each family member changes over the years. I love it!
My family skips the quarters and unfortunately, sometimes I forget the picture, but it’s a fun display! We keep decorations up for a long time for birthdays, and our kids love seeing their big number. Our six-year-old son was so proud to make the number for my husband this year almost by himself!
Some of my favorite “numbers” we’ve made: a big homemade blue pinata “5”, a super messy glittery purple “3”, a simple gold balloon “3”, and the numbers the children have decorated. Mariah does this tradition too!
3. Golden/Magic Birthdays
It’s probably a little obnoxious how much I love to celebrate golden birthdays. It’s the one birthday of your life where your birth date and age match. Mine was my 25th birthday, so it was fun to look forward to! We had two golden birthdays this year with my daughters turning 3 and 5 on the 3rd and 5th.
For golden birthdays, we try to make what we would usually do for a birthday a little “bigger and better”. My husband Joey loves hanging out with people and sports, so we planned a surprise party with lots of family and friends, swimming, and soccer. I had a girls’ afternoon shopping with some of my sisters and a family party with s’mores around the fire pit.
If you’ve already had your golden birthday but didn’t really live it up, you can plan a Golden Birthday 2.0!
4. Birthday Songs and Books
This tradition is super easy to add to the festivities yet always makes the day feel extra special. Simply choose a special birthday song–it could be silly, sappy, anything you’d like! We sing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song and then add the verse with “How old are you?” Then the birthday person sings back their age to the birthday tune.
My siblings also send this song for everyone’s birthdays. (Warning–you WILL get it stuck in your head!)
Reading a special book on each birthday is also a fun tradition! I got a copy of Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss for Joey on his Golden Birthday because his family used to read it on birthdays. Now we read it too!
5. “Birth” Day Videos and Stories
Joey makes a slideshow or video for all of our family members on their birthdays with pictures of past birthdays and other special events. (This is much easier to do now than it was ten years ago! There are lots of apps you can use to just select an album and a song, and it will load a video for you instantly! It used to be a much more time-consuming gift.)
It’s a really sweet tradition to watch the videos together at the party or as a family before we go to bed on birthday night.
My sweet husband also helps us remember everyone’s actual birthday by sharing stories about the pregnancy, delivery day, and the first few months of each child’s life. I can’t think of a better way to remember the gift of life and the uniqueness each person brings into the world.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my family’s birthday traditions! I’d love to hear about your traditions in the comments below! Happy Birthday Partying to You!