Children don’t need over the top celebrations … they just need to feel loved. Parents will appreciate these simple ways to celebrate a birthday.
Guest post by Rachel of day2dayjoys.com
Birthdays come once a year, per family member, but for me, I often feel all rushed and hurried like it snuck up on me.
Some might call this procrastination (ahem!) and others might call this the “creative last-minute” adrenaline rush.
When celebrating birthdays in our family, I typically do something special on the day and have a birthday party later on. I did this for our daughter Julia’s Frozen Birthday Party since her birthday in a few days after Christmas, we had her party later on in January.
We try to avoid the junk like food coloring, candy and limit sugar on birthday celebrations. They get enough sugar throughout the year and a birthday can still be fun without all the junk.
If you are like me and birthdays all of a sudden appear on the calendar, I have some simple ideas for you. These tips aren’t for birthday parties but for making a child’s birthday day (or even week) special.
Simple Ideas for Celebrating a Birthday
OK, remember I mentioned above about the “creative last-minute” adrenaline rush?? This Box-O-Party stuff RESCUES you! Over the years after birthdays or events or celebrations, I have been collecting… After each event, I save the unused stuff even if there are only a handful left (napkins, plates, candles, party streamers, etc.) and put it into a box.
When a birthday comes, I pull it out and can quickly use the contents. On their birthday day, you could put up a little streamers or balloons to add a little sparkle of celebration. You can even use birthday plates or napkins at the meals.
Write a birthday message
If you have a white board, chalk board or even as simple as a piece of paper, write a birthday message to them to wake up to. You’ll have smiles all around.
My mom got one of these plates at the dollar store and painted the middle with chalkboard paint, we’ve been using it for a couple of years now.
All that our children want to hear from us, is that we love them! You could even write them a special note to put in their lunch box if their birthday falls on a school day. I’ve never done this but also love the idea of writing them a letter, letting them read it and keeping it in a journal to give to them when they move out.
Now this one takes a little planning, but every kid loves something special to wear on their special day. For younger kids, it’s fun to get a birthday outfit or personalized T-shirt. For an older kid, letting them pick out a new shirt or outfit to wear that shows their uniqueness or style.
And It doesn’t necessarily have to be an outfit … it could be a headband or necklace. The options are endless.
I got this birthday smocked dress from a friend who was selling some of her daughter’s clothes for around $6-7 and the headband came from the baby shower.
Let it be about them
Turn of the phone and all the devices (including the TV) and spend time with them. If you have more than one child, this is a great way to learn (or continue to learn) about selflessness and appreciating and lifting another person up. You could even have all the sibling make a card or write a sentence or two affirming them.
Make the birthday boy or girl their favorite meal or take them to their favorite restaurant. Let the day be about them and appreciating their role in your family. My daughter requested spaghetti and meatballs so that’s what we had for her birthday dinner.
Make your child their favorite breakfast, or if time allows, take them to breakfast. If they don’t have a favorite breakfast there are other ideas like muffins, pancakes or even a waffle birthday cake.
And if you’re like me (remember… last minute) just throw something together and put a candle in it and sing “Happy Birthday.” They will feel special no matter what!
If your budget allows or you (or a friend) have skills with photography, do a photo shoot. It doesn’t even have to be anything elaborate. It could be in your backyard with your iPhone. This is especially fun for first birthdays or even on into the teen years.
Our baby, a rainbow baby (a baby after a loss) just had an “Over the Rainbow” birthday party. My mom made her a special rainbow dress and my dear friend Delilah took some adorable pictures … the same lady who took her newborn pictures after my homebirth. We will cherish this photo shoot forever!
Time for some keepsake art
There are all kinds of birthday crafts you can do, but I really like making art with canvases.
And they are pretty cheap too. I like square ones, but the rectangular ones are usually cheaper. Depending on the child’s age, you can go simple— abstract painting with a bunch of different colors or more difficult— print out something and let them recreate it. And there’s always just making up their own creation.
London, our newly turned 1year old got her first taste of art when she painted a first birthday canvas. Whether your child is 1 or 21, canvas art is a memorable keepsake. (By the way, of they’re 21, or even teens, it would be a fun date to go to one of those painting on canvas places.)
We celebrate using decorations from the toys we cherish and make a theme out of it. It makes the buying out of entire sections of the party store impossible. For instance, this year’s theme was Sesame Street. I have over 20 toys, placemats and food items that can act as decor, thus leaving my decor buying to napkins, dessert plates and balloons. It meant buying the $6 Happy Birthday banner wasn’t so painful. We estimated a decor/party supply savings of $65.
Rachel @ day2dayjoys
That’s such a good idea Daniele!!
We normally just keep our birthday parties simple and just family (which isn’t big because most live out of state). My kids love that these are the few times we get to spend time as a family all day! Although small we still make it a big deal for the birthday child! They pick their theme and we decorate. Their favorite decorations always are streamers hanging in the hallway that they can run through. We also do lots of balloons – hung and ones they can play with.
I still give them party favors and we normally have an art project that goes with their theme- usually coloring pages. I make their cake and they tell me what they want on it. Although not as nice looking as the store bought ones (still learning how to decorate- not very good at it 🙂 ), they love it and appreciate it because I made it just for them!
Rachel @ day2dayjoys
Gina, love all the things you do! I’m not a good cake decorator either lol. That’s why we usually do cupcakes. ?
Great ideas! Very timely for me as I have TWO birthday parties for my kids in a short period of time. My children are blessed by my tradition of taking the best pictures and video clips of them from the year and mak inga slideshow with their favorite song in the background. Now that they are old enough, they pick the song(s).
Rachel @ day2dayjoys
Leslie, I love that tradition!! I bet it’s a wonderful keepsake to look back at each year too!
My kids seem to get the biggest kick out of being surprised in the morning with balloons and getting to choose all of our meals for the day.
Love this list! We put candles in anything we eat. They choose the cake and dinner.
Our 4 boys are older (11-18) we let them pick a big present and their favorite dinner at home with a cake of their choice, or a smaller present, and dinner and dessert out as a family.. We always take a keepsake photo at dessert time, wherever we are
These are neat ideas, some I already do. I always try to cook their favorite meal & do a little small family dinner/cake on the day. We are actually thinking of no birthday parties this year & doing something completely simple and fun that they want to do. My kids have tons of toys and rarely touch them so this year I want to do it different. I love the waffle cake 🙂