January is birthday month for us. Nearly every week, we have a birthday to celebrate, including my own! We strive to make every birthday special here, but doing so could easily cause financial hardship when most of your birthdays fall right around Christmas time! So, over the years, we’ve developed some special traditions for each birthday child that aren’t super expensive, and we’ve gotten creative with presents in order to stay within budget.
Let the birthday child choose the menu for the day
A few years ago, we started this tradition with my husband, who always liked to request certain foods on his birthday. We decided to let the children do the same. Sometimes it gets interesting – like the year we had a snack of chocolate chips and milk per the 4 year old’s request – but for the most part it is a great way to honor the birthday child and his or her individual tastes.
We were given this You Are Special Today plate a few years ago, and it not only gets used every Tuesday for “Special Night,” but it also gets used for every birthday. I didn’t know there was a matching mug until I went searching for a link, but what a great addition! Even if you didn’t purchase one of these Special plates, you could still have a designated “Special Plate” that is just for the birthday child – however, be sure you have a way to tell the difference between it and the every day dishes or it may get lost in the shuffle!
Let the birthday child choose their “cake”
It all started with me. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of cake, so I asked for pecan pie instead. I was pregnant and figured I could get by with asking for something unconventional. Well, then my oldest son confided that he too did not care for cake and wondered if he could have Buckeyes. And from there, it snowballed! Cakes are fun, but choosing your own dessert to plant candles in is even more fun! Yes, many of our children still choose cake, but we let them choose what kind of cake and how they want it decorated. Sometimes we even let them help decorate!
Give group gifts
Remember my post on giving group gifts for Christmas? Well, the same can apply for birthdays, especially if the children are close in age and the birthdays are near each other. Some people may fuss about the child not getting his or her own present, but if you are making the child feel special with the other events of the day, the gift is not nearly as important. They will remember the traditions surrounding their birthdays long after the presents are forgotten.
So, take a look at Educents for something like the play mat shown above if you have a lot of birthday boys (like we do). This is a very reasonably priced gift even for one child! Or how about these instruments:
You could even separate these out from the package and give each child their own piece of the band at each birthday celebration!
Or how about a building set like these Magformers:
Educents has several of these sets to choose from – they were the first place I had seen these magnetic constructions sets!
The idea behind giving group gifts is to find something that spans ages, and can be used by several children at a time.
Event instead of gifts
Birthdays are the perfect time to give memberships to the zoo, magazine subscriptions, a special trip to a concert, park, or other outing, or to simply put together a plan that takes your family wherever (within reason) the Birthday Child wants to go!
I hope this post gives you some ideas for your birthday season – whether you have a cluster like we do or a big spread! Birthdays are a wonderful time of celebrating another year from the Lord, so enjoy every one!