Celebrations: Birthday Traditions Part 1

January 29, 2013

By Gabrielle.

Hooray! I’ve got another Celebrations Video I made for Babble to share with you today. This one is all about easy, fun birthday traditions you can start with your family! I’m sharing 3 ideas in the Part 1 video today and next week, I’ll share the Part 2 video, with three more ideas (and a DIY!). [UPDATED: here's the Part 2 link.]

I’m hoping this can become an ongoing theme, and that I’ll make more Birthday Traditions videos as I come across good ideas. : ) Please enjoy it!

P.S. — Find my Babble Celebrations column here.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 annabelle January 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

So inspiring, Gabrielle! I love your entire Celebrations series! Your ideas are creative yet practical all rolled up in a very special package. Please keep doing more!


2 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:05 am

Thank you, Annabelle! I so appreciate the kind words.


3 Linda K January 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Super cute video! Our birthday tradition is the “birthday table.” After the kids go to bed I decorate the dining room table – tablecloth, flowers, a few streamers or paper laterns, birthday number cut out of glitter paper suspended from light fixture, balloons, whatever. Cheap and cheerful! The kids love, love, love it and creep down the stairs each birthday morning full of anticipation. And they ALWAYS thank me for the special effort (I didn’t anticipate how inherently grateful children would be before having them!) Party animals à la your sister Jordan are a beloved and recent addition to the Birthday table.


4 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:06 am

What a darling tradition, Linda! I love it.


5 tere January 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

we do the same! Plus they always get a book and love both things, it’s true they are grateful over that kind of surprises <3


6 Robin January 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Love this.


7 Christa the BabbyMama January 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Cute! We don’t have birthday traditions down yet but we recently developed unChristmas – the day we decorate cookies, listen to Christmas music, and finally take down the darn tree!


8 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:07 am

I could totally get into unChristmas! It would make the whole end-of-holidays-thing much easier to swallow.


9 Katie January 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Our kids get a birthday cereal! We go grocery shopping before their birthday and they can pick out the craziest cereal they want. It is such a treat! They share it with their sibling until it is gone (we get the smaller box and it usually lasts only 2-3 days). They always start pondering which cereal to get days in advance!


10 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:07 am

What a great idea! Sugar cereal is a coveted treat at our house as well.


11 Kipin January 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Someone give this lady a TV show already, geeze!


12 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hah hah! I know you’re just teasing, but I was thinking about this during the last filming session. These videos are so short, and yet they take so much time to make! It made me wonder how in the world people make a 30 minute or 60 minute show. I’m in awe!


13 Kipin February 7, 2013 at 10:15 am

I would LOVE a Design mom TV show, truly!


14 Martha January 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm

amen to kipin! i love, love, love, love this video (and will love the many more to come).


15 jamaise January 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Lovely presentation! Sweet ideas :)


16 Summer Lewis January 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Fun ideas! We always have a special birthday dance we do for the birthday person, because we think the traditional song is too boring. It’s become so popular with our families that although we live in Japan, we have requests for us to video it and send it to nieces, nephews, and just about anyone else on their birthday. In fact, today is my mother-in-laws birthday and I just recorded my 3 and 1 year old daughters doing the birthday song and dance for her!


17 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:10 am

High five for birthday dances!


18 Cassie January 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Sitting here crying! Ha. Such sweet ideas! It’s was a tradition in my family to always tell the story of the birthday kid’s birth, and even though we knew every story by heart it was still so magical to hear it told every year. Love these ideas!


19 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:10 am

Birth stories really are magical. Birth is just so completely miraculous in every possible way.


20 Laura January 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Yay for birthday traditions! It’s a tradition in our family that each person has a unique birthday cake that I only make on the day of their birth. My son’s birthday cake is always banana with buttercream frosting; my daughter’s cake is chocolate strawberry. My father-in-law loves her cake so much that he asked me to make it on his birthday last August. I told him, “Sorry, but I only make that for Tessa’s birthday. It’s her cake.” I found a different recipe to make him happy, and now he has his own special cake, too!


21 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:11 am

That’s brilliant, Laura. Reserving the cake for the birthday only makes it so special.


22 Heather January 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm

My mom always made us pancakes in the shape of our age on our birthdays – I still drove over to their house in my late 20′s to have my birthday pancakes! My siblings do it for my nieces and nephews now, and if I ever have kids I’ll do it for them.


23 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:12 am

What is it about shaped pancakes? They taste so good!


24 This girl loves to talk January 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm

we have a candle ring with the amount of candles to equal age lit, birthday presents and a felt crown and a birthday letter (their accomplishments/favourite things and friends etc written down) and birthday shirt all out on table waiting for when they awake on their birthday (with little kids they wake early so I set it all out the night before) we also let them choose breakfast (usually an iced donut!) and we put candles in it and take presents.

the birthday shirt is just a plain shirt I buy and embroider/ applique/paint/reverse applique the age number on to it. I thought my older kids would outgrow it and think it embarassing.. but they still ask for a number shirt at 12…. so we’ll see.

because there are so many things on the table birthdays are cheap as I only need throw in a present or two and it looks like so much. Some years the kids are so enthralled with their candle ring and donut and shirt they didnt even notice they had gifts!!
I’ve blogged about it often if anyone is interested.


25 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:13 am

I’m going to go look up a candle ring. I don’t think I’ve heard of one before…


26 This girl loves to talk February 12, 2013 at 3:53 am

I believe they are german. I got the idea from a waldorf inspired blog. I got my father to make me a very rustic one (circle of wood with holes drilled in it to hold candles) but there are very beautiful ones available to buy on the net


27 Michelle A. January 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Oh I just love you so! Thank you for all the joy you bring to me – and my family :)


28 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:13 am

I love you, too, Michelle!


29 AimeeK January 30, 2013 at 4:58 am

We have a “birthday chair”, an idea I nicked from India Knight, who is full of good ideas!! After the kids have gone to bed, I decorate a chair with balloons and a huge, colourful shawl and stick a birthday banner on the wall behind it. I didn’t think it was such a big deal when I started it seven years ago (when my oldest was five), but they just love it and this year on my husband’s birthday, he came out and said “What, no birthday chair?!” :-) Traditions are what kids remember and pass on and I love that continuity!


30 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:14 am

Isn’t it fun to watch traditions develop. First, it’s just a little idea, then a few years later, the family can’t remember NOT having a birthday chair. Fantastic!


31 Natasha V. January 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

I love the blouse you are wearing in the opening scene — would you mind me asking where this is from?


32 Design Mom January 30, 2013 at 7:05 am

Hi Natasha! I’m actually wearing pajamas there. (The scene is supposed to show me waking up Maude in the middle of the night to mark the moment of her birth.) I found the pjs at H&M years ago. They are my favorite! And sadly, I just developed a hole in the pants. I’m trying to decide if I should toss them, or see if I can have a similar pair made. : )


33 Caryn January 30, 2013 at 7:21 am

This is lovely. Thanks for the ideas. My first will be one in a few months (oh my!) and we are discussing what kind of traditions we want to have. Thankfully we have a couple practice years! :)


34 Grace January 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I love it! I want to adopt breakfast in bed most certainly, but the tree idea is so adorable too. Reading through the comments, the different cakes for different members of the family is genius as well! I love traditions!


35 Emily February 3, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I love the tree planting idea! My mom always tries to call me at the hour/minute I was born in the afternoon. I love that she made me aware of what a poignant moment it is. A birth day is celebrated by everyone, but my birth-minute was always something I felt that she and I shared, especially.


36 Shakila February 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I didn’t realize my family had a birthday tradition until I saw your video. My mom is a notorious early bird and on the morning of our birthdays (there’s six kids) she would run into our room screaming “It’s your birthday!”, jump on our bed, and proceed to sing “Happy Birthday To Ya” (the Stevie Wonder version) while she danced around. It was not cool to be woken up at 5am, but her energy is infectious we always felt so loved. Now that most of us have moved away, we get an early morning phone call with the song and I’m pretty sure she still dances around.


37 Anne February 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

I am VERY impatient, and I always hated waiting until the evening to open my presents, so when I was young, my mom started giving me an hour birthday. So, starting at 7am until 7pm I would have a present to open every hour. They were all small gifts, like cereal in the morning, lunchables at lunch time, some treats and then things like crayons and books. I STILL love it and have begged her several times to do it for me in my adult years. It never gets old!


38 Emily G. February 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

When I married my husband a new birthday tradition became a part of my life. As part of our birthday dinner and candles and cake celebration we take time to go around the family youngest to oldest and share with the birthday person the qualities and things we like about them. Then to top it off the birthday person finishes the evening with what they like about themselves. It’s is wonderful. If we happen to give a birthday party for more than our little family I always leave out a pad of paper for guests to share their thoughts too. They all get collected and added to my children’s baby books each year.


39 Juliene February 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

You are so wonderful!


40 Lisa | Happy By February 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I don’t like watching videos in general, but I am sooo glad I didn’t pass on this one, because it is so much fun and helpful. Your ideas rock because of being genuine and simple. And coming from a mother of 6 is is so inspiring to see live proof that you can make them all happy, and eventually tell yourself there is no excuse not to do something special every year.


41 Clover February 12, 2013 at 4:53 am

Brought a little tear to my eyes…telling kids their birth story…I just did that yesterday with my little enchanted one (9 months now) and it was again a great story to remember!

I totally agree with you: it’s the little things and gestures that make the biggest difference in our lives and make us feel special.

Thank you!


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