My husband and I have never been too big on holidays and all the lights and glitter that accompany them. We tend to keep things pretty low key and simple, but this year we wanted to begin focusing on birthdays as a great time to make things more intentionally special so that for at least one day out of the year each child gets special attention and focus. Our goal, though, is not to pummel them with material possessions and gifts, as we are not keen to the idea of teaching materialism or entitlement, but to just simply celebrate their presence in our lives and show our thankfulness to the Lord for having blessed us with them.
I am glad to say that yesterday was my daughter’s 7th birthday so we had our chance to begin some new traditions. It was a very enjoyable day. Here are 5 things we did to help make her birthday a special and memorable one.
5 Ways to Make Birthdays Special
1. Have a Countdown Board to the Big Day
We painted a chalk wall in our small walkway several months ago, so this year I took advantage of its visibility and ease and made a Countdown board with a final Celebration Day board. She LOVED seeing this as she woke up each day. A few minutes of fore-thought on my part the night before for a few nights was all it took to make her day a little more special.
2. Hand Make Gifts and Encourage Others to do so too
Instead of spending a ton of money on gifts that could break or just simply empty your bank account, try handcrafting a gift this year instead. You don’t have to be a great crafter to accomplish this goal, as there are ample ideas abounding on Pinterest and the internet. Even a little trip to Jo-Ann fabrics may provide some inspiration and for a few dollars a beautiful gift could be formed to be used for years to come. This year I made my daughter a crocheted baggie hat and my other daughter hand sewed a doll pillow which she also decorated with markers (I was highly impressed with this gift as I did not know she was planning it…she did a great job!) Her sister LOVED it!
Another tradition that we are starting is to take a picture of the birthday child with my husband and myself on their birthday which they can have and save as a memory of their growth. Each passing year will provide a new picture and provide a time capsule of sorts for their birthdays. I am very excited about this one! Our daughter was more than excited to have her very own pictures =0)
3. Allow the Child to Choose a Special Birthday Outfit
Our daughter chose to wear a very pretty, special dress that we rarely allow her to wear because of the likelihood of ruining it, and we are working intentionally to discourage carelessness with such things. Her birthday, though, was a great opportunity for her to dress up and celebrate her existence on this planet, thanks be to God. She enjoyed dressing up quite a bit.
4. Have a Special Birthday Dinner and Treats
My daughter got to choose what dinner we had that night, which I asked her to tell me several days in advance so I could plan accordingly. She wanted spaghetti (“the long noodles that I can twirl around…not the short ones”), so I made sure to have my crockpot spaghetti sauce going in the morning to enjoy that night. It was delicious and she was thrilled to have her favorite dinner.
I also made a cake and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies to celebrate the day, as well as bought some ice cream of her choice. She was the sole decision-maker for these things, which pleased her to no end, as this is a rarity in our home of many children. I did, however, encourage her to consider the likes of others too and not to choose things that someone adamantly hates (“would pistachio ice cream REALLY be a good choice for everyone to share?”) She was very receptive to this and made considerate, wise choices that also pleased her. ::Part of the goal is also teaching our children to learn to love serving others, not just ourselves::
5. Allow the Child to Stay Up a Little Longer with Mom and Dad
After all the other children went to bed, our daughter was allowed to stay up a bit later with my husband and me. She made the decision of what we did, and she chose to play a game, Yahtzee. We had a wonderful time, just the three of us, which again made it all the more special as this is a rare occasion, though not something that never happens. Just one more way to make her birthday special.
Conclusion of the Day
At the end of the day my daughter said that her birthday was the best day of her life. She was so happy that so many little pieces were brought together in celebration of her. We did a few other things to make the day special, like giving specific gifts that she had requested, all be it simple ones, allow her to choose a movie (since the weather was wet snow), and such, but all of them combined made her feel very loved and special, which was the goal of the day anyway. Ultimately, I would say the operation was successful =0)
What About You?
What do you do to make birthdays special?