Everyone has a birthday, the day you were brought into this world and became a member of the human race. This is the day you became YOU. Your birthday—your big day—is exciting. Important. Valuable. And, it's a time for reflection and good cheer.
Around the world people celebrate this momentous occasion in different, playful ways. For some in Latvia, a naming party is thrown to honor a newborn baby as a full-fledged family member. Guests arrive bearing gifts for the newborn and an abundance of food for the feast. Talk is always happy because it is believed that no unpleasant conversation should spoil the day. The baby’s name is announced and songs of good wishes and praise are sung by all in attendance. As the ceremonial dancing begins, the godparents hold the baby and then pass him or her around from guest to guest. It seems in Latvia, everyone gets to hold the baby!
In America we send cards, flowers, and gifts of good wishes to the new mom and her "little bundle of joy." Dads have been known to pass out cigars to their buddies to announce the birth of a son or a daughter.
New parents attach bunches of balloons to a fence or mailbox. Blue or pink wooden storks in the front yard carry a sign in their long beaks, announcing, "It's a Girl" or "It's a Boy." And of course, we send out written announcements with a photo of the newest arrival.
For my husband's birthday, I invited our friends to our home for a birthday party. I asked that they bring only one thing as a gift—a wish for my husband. As the guests arrived, they each gave me their wish. Some were sealed in envelopes, one was written on a napkin, and another was scripted on a piece of blue paper folded beautifully to look like a bird. I placed all the wishes in a simple velvet bag and after Mark blew out the candles on his cake, I gave him the bag of wishes. He read them all out loud, and he loved all of them. Some were funny. Some were kind. Some risque. But all were a wish and a hope for another year of a good life. I hadn’t anticipated how meaningful the gift of the wishes would be for him. He still talks about it being the best gift he has ever received.
Write goal lists or "birthday wish lists" on your special day. You've heard of the practice of writing down your goals on New Year’s Eve, or on New Year’s Day. That’s nothing new. But, on a birthday? This is not just about honoring and celebrating your very own special day, but about honoring and marking the shift into your own personal new year (literally). Sit down. Light a candle. Put on your favorite music, and write away. Anything goes—this is a wish list, after all. Do you want to go to China? Surf the coast of Maui? Write a novel? Open a bakery? Meet your soul mate? Who knows… you may just be crafting the blueprints of a glorious future!
Below are some additional suggestions for a Happy, Happy Birthday!
On your loved-one's birthday, send his or her parents a thank-you card.
Each year on your child’s birthday, write a letter sharing details that recap his or her year, and how much and why you love them. Store them in a box to present when the child heads off to college.
For a 50th birthday party, request that all gifts have something to do with the number 50—50 golf balls, 50 little pieces of chocolate, 50 notes to open for 50 days, a 50-year-old book.
Make an artful label for a wine bottle. Take a picture of the birthday girl or boy and glue it to the bottle over the old label. You'll create a whole new vintage. "Wine not?"
Wrap bottles of bubbles with wishes for the birthday girl—the inscription might read, "Thank you for blowing into our life."
Make posters wishing someone a happy birthday and hang them on trees and light-posts leading the person home from work.
Play pin the tail on the donkey at a child’s party. For a grown up party, blow up a picture of the birthday girl or boy and pin. Before you blow up balloons, write a birthday wish on a star-shaped slip of paper and put it inside the balloon. Have the balloons filled with helium (at your local party store) or blow them up yourself.
Slumber parties aren’t just for kids. Invite your girlfriends to come over (and bring pajamas) for a night of princess delights. Arrange to have a massage therapist, psychic, or tarot card reader, and a manicurist. Indulge, have fun, laugh, tell secrets, and play with your friends. Have a breakfast with Belgium waffles, whipped cream, and strawberries.
Create a birthday card. Glue a photo of the birthday gal or guy on the front and write a great quote inside. Here are some fun suggestions...