Birthday Traditions for Children

Birthday Traditions

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my house. From the time I was little, I can remember my birthdays. I think my first memory of my birthday was the year that the theme was Cabbage Patch Kids. It must have been when I was 4 or 5. Mrs. H, my next door neighbor always made my birthday cakes for my parties. She made the most real looking Cabbage Patch cake, you know, the classic girl one with pigtails. I specifically remember blowing out the candles of that cake.

We always celebrated birthdays with family. My mom is one of seven and we all lived near each other. So, on everyone’s birthday, we got together to celebrate. I have 14 cousins and they would all be there. We would run around, we would play together, and eat the best food ever because my mom and her sisters are fabulous cooks.

Every time on the morning of my birthday, my grandmother would call. She would sing us happy birthday, all the words. She still calls, every single year. As early as humanly possible. Then she would put my grandfather on who would say Happy Birthday. When we were away at college, she called. When I met Ben, she started calling him too. Then all of my aunts would call and they would wish a Happy Birthday. My grandmother would wait to see us, but when she did, she would pull my ears. Both, at the same time, she would pull them for as many years as I was old. When we were away at college, and even now, Ben and I pull each other’s ears. Hmmm…I never did figure out why we pulled ears.

Then the day would continue on. My mom would make the best breakfast ever, whatever I wanted on the “You are Special Plate”. Then I would go to school and when I would come home, dinner was my choice.

Birthdays were a special day when I was growing up.

Now, birthdays are a special day here too.

My kids wake up and as they walk downstairs, they are greeted by a hallway filled with balloons.


The night before, they have picked out their favorite breakfast so that it is ready for them. We are in the donut stage and so for G, his is usually donuts. C generally picks pancakes and H I am sure will pick cinnamon rolls if and when he ever decides to talk. Their meal is eaten on the traditional You are Special Today plate. It took me years to find this plate. You see, I had one growing up (no idea where my mom got it) and it was this big deal between my brother and I. We would get the plate on special occasions. Graduations, good report cards, birthdays, you name it. I got it more. I was the second, and perfect child. {If I do say so myself.} I finally found a replica at a dish store on Main St. in New Hope, PA, right beside the boat that Ben used to give tours on, The Star of New Hope. I ended up making one for my brother too.


G is still in preschool, so he still takes snack into his classmates on his birthday. C does not. She gets a poem read to her at school which she is just fine with.

The day always just feels special. We spend time together, play games (yesterday for G’s birthday, the game of choice was Donkey Kong – only not on a green and black computer screen), and enjoy. With three kids, birthdays are a way for me to make each one feel REALLY special on their own day. They don’t share it with anyone else.

Dinner is birthday girl/boy’s choice. C – meatloaf (although now it is probably Irish Beef Stew), G – pizza (tonight it was Dollar Dog Night at the Phils), and H – I am gonna guess veggie soup or even mac and cheese (his lips are sealed for now). Dessert is some kind of cake (even if it isn’t the big shebang) with some candles and a little bit of song:) The cake that is made for the birthday party is handmade and hand iced. I may not be Mrs. H, but I sure loved her idea.


We end the night with a book in bed. My very favorite to read to them is On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier about the day that they were born. It is a lovely read and generally a baby shower gift that I love to give.

Birthdays are special days. They always will be. How do you celebrate your children’s (or your) birthday?

About Lauryn Blakesley

A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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  1. each year is a different celebration, we don’t have any traditions like that. My grandmother used to send $5 taped in a card for everyone’s bday but she passed 4 years ago and my grandfather didn’t continue that. I miss that the most.
    Melinda@LookWhatMomFound…andDadtoo recently posted…Mind Your Manners Because One Day You’ll Get CaughtMy Profile

    • What a special memory of your grandmother! I am sure she would love that it meant that much to you:) My grandmother used to wrap her $5 bill in tissue paper so that no one would realize what it was in the mail;) SO cute!

  2. My kids always get to choose a birthday dinner. I will make anything they ask for. We take turns having birthday parties b/c I have 3 kids, all with fall birthdays, and I cant do big parties for each kid every year, along with all the other fall holidays that fall in that timeframe. But we try to make each birthday special here at home. Love your balloon tradition!
    Jo-Lynne Shane {Musings of a Housewife} recently posted…MAC Blot Powder #bestofbeautyMy Profile

    • Oh Jo-Lynne, I hear ya with the birthday parties! We have been spreading them out too. We have a close family, so they always come over just for a casual dinner or just to be together, but the kid parties we are spreading out! It is nice to let them each have their special day:)

  3. We try to make each birthday special, too. The kids always get to choose dinner and dessert. I involve them in some of the planning for the family birthday party. Greg and I usually take each kid out for lunch around their birthday.

    My mom and stepfather always call and sing Happy Birthday to me. My stepfather has a wonderful voice so it’s fun to hear him sing. Mom’s got a good voice, too.
    Barb @ A Life in Balance recently posted…home management binder: planning for a 5th birthday partyMy Profile

  4. Lauryn, you are so organized! We don’t really have many birthday traditions, but we are BIG fans of the house party – as opposed to the “go to some venue” for skating or bowling or bouncing. We always order cake on the kids’ birthdays, and now we have a cupcake lady who makes beautiful gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes, instead of my landslide concoctions, so I guess that’s a thing!

    • That is a wonderful thing! I also enjoy a good house party! We usually do a home one with family and then depending on what the kids choose, another small one for friends either at home or away from home.

  5. I was just thinking how we need more traditions for birthdays. I make them special birthday cakes but I think this year will include balloons… lots and lots of balloons!

    • They LOVE IT! A friend of mine hides the balloons in a room in the house and the birthday child has to find them. That one is fun too:)

  6. Your house sounds like so much fun! Ours are always celebrated by special activities of the birthday child’s choosing, a special dinner and my “famous” chocolate cake. :)
    Nicole @ One Punky Mama recently posted…I’m sorry Dove, I’m not buyin’ it.My Profile

  7. I love celebrating birthdays with my kids. In enjoy helping make beautiful memories my children will be able to share with their children one day.
    Janeane Davis recently posted…A to Z Challenge T = Technology, Embrace Technology and What it Can Do for YouMy Profile

  8. My boys share the same birthday so we go over the top to make their shared day as special as possible. I always decorate the kitchen table like we are having a party so it is ready when they wake up. I fill the door entryways with balloons to create a curtain and we have special fooda all day. Such a cute post!
    Linda @ GGG recently posted…Turkey Meatballs and Pasta Augusto with Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet ToppingsMy Profile

  9. You sure know how to make your kids’ birthdays very special!! So impressed with how you celebrate them, Lauryn!! My mom and dad would also call us early in the morning (7ish) to sing “happy birthday” ….. how I miss that, as their grandchildren do also…. How lucky we were!

    • Thank you Susan! I think it is the little things that we do that will last with them forever! It is so nice that you still have those memories of them calling you. I will cherish mine forever too:)

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