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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Time!

Posted by Bel
From Spiral Garden

It's birthday time at our place!

Heath's first birthday - a water party on Boxing Day (summer in Australia)

We have some birthday traditions such as the birthday child choosing their own cake, and the evening meal for their birthday. On the morning of their birthday we gather around the dining table or on Mum & Dad's bed whilst they unwrap their gifts and open the cards which have come in the mail. There are often a number of little handmade, wrapped gifts from siblings which are given with pride and accepted with grace. Brithday cards are secretly handmade by a sibling, and given with the gifts from the whole family.

During the day we will often have friends over for morning or afternoon tea under the trees in our garden (weather permitting) with a cake and some yummy fruit and other foods to share. The table is often decorated with a colourful cloth and fresh flowers collected by the other children.

Friends visiting for afternoon tea near the waterfall

We enjoy the traditional candles and "Happy Birthday" song as well as clapping for their age and three cheers. We always have a cake at night, even if we've had one in the daytime, just so we can turn down the lights and enjoy the magic of a cake lit by candlelight. Sometimes for this cake we use different crockery or glasses for the birthday meal, and there is always a beautiful tablecloth and centre candle, and quite often more flowers.

Birthday cards are displayed on a magnetic framed board which hangs above the season table. Photos of the birthday child are also displayed their during the weeks preceding and following their special day. Often some baby photos and recent photos will be side by side. A photograph is taken of the birthday child with their cake each year, marking milestones in their childhood photo albums. Sometimes the birthday child will wear a special item of clothing, or a cape and crown from our dress-up basket.

We don't always have parties. We have had a fairy party, a musical party, a teddy bear's picnic, trip to special places followed by cake in the park... But even when there is no big event we always have a special time with family, and perhaps some nearby friends, to share cake and other food, sing and celebrate the birthday child's life.

Bel enjoying cake!

On their birthday, our children don't have to do their chores if they don't wish to, and they can have the choice of a story read or movie watched, as well as what food we eat. It is a day of lavishing extra love and attention on the birthday child.

We all know this song...
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Lily
Happy birthday to you!

Well, here's an alternative, or second verse (same melody)...
May the angels bless you,
In all that you do,
May the stars up in heaven
Shine down upon you!

There are a lot of birthday verses and stories online which we have often told our younger children, especially. I find that they also like to hear about the day they were born, and the wonderful, cute and funny things about them as a baby.

This one is our version of a favourite...

As I yawn and go to bed,
Laying down my sleepy head,
Mama switches off the light,
I'll still be seven years old tonight.

But, from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the greenness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be eight years old!

Eight kisses when I wake.
Eight candles on my cake!


During the day, grandparents phone from far away and ask the birthday child about their day, their gifts, and how big they've grown. Receiving their very own phone calls and mail is a special part of having a birthday at our place.

Most of our birthday celebrations and traditions cost nothing, or very little. The focus of birthdays therefore is not on spending, gifts and elaborate parties, but on the child.

I wonder, in what ways do you celebrate birthdays in your home?


A cake for a relative - adults enjoy special treatment too!

3 comments:

limpingalong said...

We no longer have little people at our house but when our children were small we had a birthday party at home (No Chucky Cheese or McDonald's, etc.) I would plan games -- things that required running about and jumping or balancing. After we wore the children out we stopped for cake (Child's choice) and ice cream -- then the guest children might have gotten one small favor to take home but we didn't buy bags of gifts for each child attending as I see being done now.
Our children got a two-wheeler for their 6th birthday -- that was a given! But we didn't give new cars, X-Boxes, play stations, color TV's, etc. We believed in honoring the birthday child, not stripping the parent's bank account. We didn't invite 100 adults,nor did we provide beer for those who did come. (Parents and close friends were welcome to come), and we didn't hire a band or rent a blow-up feature for the children to jump in. We just had fun being together!

Bel said...

Sounds fun limpingalong! I think we're on the same wavelength! :)

victoria said...

How fun! I love the songs. We just celebrated a 2nd birthday. I'll try to learn these for next year!

Right now, our celebrations are many, one with each side of the family, one with buddies and one at home with immediate family. There are party flags, crowns, plenty of dried fruit a big crock pot of beans with brown rice, and a dairy free cake!