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Our Family's FAVORITE Birthday Traditions!

When I was growing up, my mom made a big deal out of birthdays, making us feel special and loved. I loved it! While our traditions differ in some ways from the ones I had growing up, my goal with all our traditions is to make my child feel the same way--special and loved on their day!


Today I am sharing our favorite birthday traditions!



Twelve Day Countdown


This is a newer tradition for us, inspired by my sister-in-law. Each day leading up to their birthday, we give our kids a small gift as a countdown to their birthday (similar to the 12 days of Christmas). I did a whole blog post on it here if you want more details.


Birthday date in lieu of big present


We started this tradition when my oldest turned 2. We'd had our second born a few months earlier and I thought that our oldest would love some one-on-one time with Mom and Dad again. Instead of getting her a big present, we spent the money to take her to our local dinosaur museum. She loved it and we have done a birthday date with our kids (starting at age 2) ever since!


Theme for party with family


Most years, we do a small party with family to eat cake and ice cream and sing to the birthday kid. While we keep it pretty small, I love themes and decorations, so I always have the kids pick a theme for our get-together. We've done themes like dinosaurs, Disney princesses, bugs, Pokémon, and Encanto. To decorate, I always do streamers in our kitchen entryway, blow up balloons, do a banner behind the table, and set up the table in the theme the kids picked. Then I print off coloring pages in the theme for the kids to color and cut out and we hang those on the wall. It's simple for me and really fun for the kids!


Giving a book to unwrap


While we do the birthday date, I like to have something for the kids to unwrap from us still. We always gift them a book. They know to expect it and it's become something of a joke (what could it be, we'll joke). We are a big reading family, so I'm able to find books that my kids are really excited about each year. Last year, we broke the mold a little bit and got our oldest a Kindle. It was a really fun surprise!


Photo book


This is a newer tradition as well (I think we started it when my oldest was turning 7). I have a system for taking care of pictures my kids have drawn--take a picture, throw it away, upload it to a folder that holds all the pictures of that child. As their birthday approaches, I take all the pictures they drew that past year and put them into a photo book for them. Then on their birthday, I give them the photo book. If they want to keep the photo book forever, they can, but if they ever decide to get rid of them, that's fine with me too. For now, we have the photo books that they love looking back on and I don't feel guilty throwing away all the papers around the house.


Measure how tall they are


Each year on their birthday, we mark how tall they are on the inside doorframe of our pantry. It's fun to see how much they've grown over the years and how they compare to their siblings at that same age.


Tell them their birth story at bedtime


This is one of my kids' favorite traditions and they never let me forget. Normally at bedtime, I sit and read to them at the end of our routine, but on their birthday, I tell them the story of their birth instead. They love hearing the little details (like how I cried happy tears when I found out Parker was a girl, or how Ashtyn thought Rylee would be a boy) and I hear them talking about the stories throughout the year.


Make donuts for breakfast


I started this tradition when we found an easy fry donut recipe many years ago. It's a fairly easy recipe for me, since I let my bread machine mix the dough for me and then I use my air fryer to fry them. Last year, I suggested changing the tradition to buying donuts (just because birthdays can be busy), but my kids all begged me to continue this one.


Birthday interview on my personal blog


This a tradition I do for me, to help me look back and remember my kids at that age. I have a series of questions I ask my kids each year on their birthday and I record them on my personal blog, along with a picture of them at that age. I love journaling things like this and I know I will be glad when my kids are grown to have these memories.


Write them a letter that I save for their 18th birthday


This final tradition, my kids don't know about yet. Each year on their birthday, I write a short letter to my kids, telling them how much I love them and just thoughts I have. Then I take the invitation we made to their birthday party and the letter and seal them in an envelope together. When they turn 18, I'll give them all the letters to read.



These are some of our favorite traditions! They work well for our family and are really fun for me to do with the kids (I am a big believer that not all traditions work for all families and that you should find ones that are fun for you as the mom). I would love to hear what your family does for birthdays in the comments below!

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