Birthdays are a great time to help your loved ones know how much they are loved and how important they are to you. Here are a few ideas that we’ve done to make each member of our family feel special on their day!
Cake and Candles. Over the years we have had a lot of different types of “cakes”…doughnuts, cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, or this year-overnight french toast. Just stick a candle in any favorite treat and sing “Happy Birthday”. Just make it special. One year we went camping on my birthday. The fire was my candle!
Budget for the Gifts. Budget for birthday gifts ahead of time! Birthdays are not a surprise. They come every year. Plan a category in your budget for gifts. We budget a gift fund for the entire year. I have met people who go crazy with their money and spend way too much on birthdays and Christmas gifts. One lady lost her home but still was spending hundreds of dollars on each of her grandkids’ gifts. Be reasonable! You don’t always have to spend a ton to get meaningful gifts-especially if you don’t have the money. We generally spend $100-125 for birthdays. One Valentine’s Day funds were tight so my husband and I decided to spend $15 or less on gifts. That was such a fun day because we had to be creative and really plan what we were going to do. The kids know we don’t go overboard on presents and know not to ask for things that are too extravagant. I usually go to some of the discount stores near me like; Ross, Burlington, Marshalls, Target, TJ Maxx, etc. You can find a lot of great deals and ideas if you plan ahead. Sometimes I buy birthday presents months ahead of time-if I find a deal. I actually have a bin downstairs for future gifts.
Gift Ideas. Search on Amazon.com for ideas for a teen’s birthday or for a specific age/gender. My husband and I talk about ideas for them as well. When the kids were younger, it was so much easier to find gifts and toys for them. Now that they are older, I definitely have to be more creative. Gift cards are great option. If your child loves a certain thing or place, give them a card for that. We have done gift cards to Fizz, Amazon, Claire’s, Favorite book stores, favorite clothing stores, sporting stores, etc. When they were little we would get them practical gifts like diapers, wipes, and outfits. If we can’t figure something out, we ask them what they want. With online orders, leave plenty of time for shipping. We ordered my son’s online gifts a little too late so they didn’t come on his birthday. We just told him it was his “birthday week” and so we can keep celebrating with more gifts later. It’s great if there is something they are really interested in (like Legos or a favorite TV show character). We can find all kinds of things with those specific themes. My son is into golf right now so this year we got him golf tees and balls. He also got a nice golf glove.
Sibling gifts. In addition to our family gifts, each sibling spends $1-5 buying a gift for their siblings. When they were little we started them at the Dollar Store. They could find easy, cheap gifts. Now they spend a little more at nicer places. We always have them give their presents first. There is usually a nice card and a gift like a simple treat they like. I think it’s important to have the siblings pick out something and make a card for their siblings. They give them a hug and kiss and tell them that they love them. It is a great bonding opportunity. Then they get the other presents from Mom and Dad.
Favorite food. I love to make the day special with their favorite meals. Sometimes we go out to their favorite restaurants and sometimes we stay home and I cook them their favorite meal. If you stay home, make it special with a candlelight dinner or a special favorite breakfast. This year my son wanted overnight french toast (which I don’t make much because it is pure sugar and butter). We stuck a candle in his piece of french toast and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He thought it was great! I like to make it all about them on their special day.
Birthday Parties. When my kids were younger, we let them have a party every other year. I don’t love having parties because they are so much work and cost a lot. We like to tie the birthday parties with a theme. One year, my son had a Star Wars party complete with homemade Light Sabers they got to take home. I always look for the diy version since it’s cheaper and I enjoy crafting. For my daughter’s 16th birthday party we did a paint night. I found some ideas on Pinterest and let them pick what design they wanted to paint.
Birthday Cards. Homemade cards are the best and so much cheaper! We have always had our kids draw a picture and sign their name for cards to Grandparents and siblings. As they get older, they definitely get more creative. Here’s a video of a cute diy pop-up card. My kids have a lot of fun making cards.
Birthday Activities. The birthday kid is the highlight of the day. We try to include activities that they will love. I try to put everything else aside so they can have a fun day. You don’t have to always spend a lot of money for them to have fun. You can invite friends or family over to play or have a special activity together at the park. This year for my son’s birthday, he spent time with his sister, then we went swimming with some neighbors, then to Top Golf with Grandma and Grandpa and to a buffet (unlimited ribs), and some movie time. That is a perfect day for him! Make it a day of activities they love.
Extra-special birthdays-When our kids turned 12 we took each of them out with just mom and dad to a super fancy restaurant. They got to pick the place and we dressed up and went. It was a great time for each of them to celebrate growing up. We were going to do something extra special for their 16th but my oldest wanted a party so that’s what we did instead. I think we need to do something special for her 18th as well. It is coming up this year! Any suggestions?
For my sister’s birthday, she always gave my mom a gift to thank her for life. That is a sweet thing and a great way to show gratitude. Being from such a large family, I thoroughly enjoyed that my birthday was all about me. I loved going shopping and celebrating me! I guess I’m a little selfish that way! I think that is one reason I still love to make their birthdays memorable for each family member. On one of my birthdays, my sisters came over and filled my bathroom with balloons. When I opened the door, they all came out and filled my bedroom. My kids had so much fun playing with the balloons.
Don’t forget about your spouse’s birthday. He deserves some pampering as well. What is his favorite food, hobby, activities, and dessert? We like to celebrate by going on an overnighter around our birthdays. It is a great time to renew our relationship as well. Make it special. Some years we get away without the kids. Sometimes we go somewhere with the kids. We are blessed to have family close so the kids can go have a fun sleepover at family’s and we get a nice get away…either home or away. Take time to celebrate each other. You can also send them cute texts, emails or notes of appreciation throughout their birthday. Go to lunch or dinner. Go on a trip. Mix it up and have fun!
One of my favorite birthdays was the first year we were married. My husband surprised me by getting us both off work and planning an overnighter at the local ski resort. It was a perfect gift for me and we had a lot of fun! Make each birthday a special day for each of them! What do you do with your family to make it special?
Other great ideas: